The words transition and change are often scary, but they don’t have to be when referring to your career. Whether the move be for an increased salary, higher engagement/buy-in or a natural progression into an improved title, this should be a positive move in your life.
As a Career Coach and Resume Writer, I have the privilege of working with all levels of candidates, from students through C-level executives. In my years of experience I have found one constant: change will always be stressful.
Now that we understand what may lie ahead, it is our responsibility to manage the stress and utilize it’s change in the body to bring about positive results. The frustration that may build while searching for a job can serve as motivation instead of a deterrent. The time it takes to cater a resume can be used to identify skills that you may not have previously discovered or realized. The hours scouring the internet and locating 100’s of positions should not be seen as a dragon that you must slay, but rather as an opportunity to leverage your KSA’s (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities) to support the mission and vision of a company in need.
START SIMPLE: Like anything, the most difficult portion of the process is getting started. What should I do first? What kind of jobs am I
qualified for? What if I leave this job and realize I made a mistake?
Take some time to evaluate your current job; what do you like and dislike? This will help to determine the best fit moving forward. The next step is catering a resume that immediately informs employers regarding what type of position you are interested in and what skills you have that apply. If you are unsure of what skills you possess that set you apart, I suggest taking a personality or cognitive ability test (such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)). These tests can help evaluate career possibilities as well.
Begin your search process by sending out a resume directly to employers. If you are searching on a career site, find the name of the employer (if possible) and visit their site directly. Learn about the company and the position to assess what is different from your current situation (will you be happy here for an elongated period of time?). Begin by sending out two to three resumes each day for the first few weeks and evaluate your response rate (as well as the quality of employers who may be responding). If you are dissatisfied after three to four weeks, take a look back at your resume to identify areas of improvement (companies often utilize optical character recognition (OCR) to pull resumes which may be helping or hindering your chances depending on your knowledge of applicable keywords).
Once the interview stage begins to consistently fill up your schedule is when the fun begins. Not only will you have the opportunity to learn about various organizations and what they have to offer, you can compare and learn about what is going to be the best fit for you (culture, pace, people, type of work). The interview can be seen as a first date; both parties should appreciate what the other has to offer, otherwise it may not be a great fit. If you are someone that is flustered in those situations, I recommend taking an interview training course (such as the one at the Discovery Center on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago) to help rehearse; after all, Practice Makes Permanent.
The offer stage is exciting as it is the home stretch, but you want to make sure that it is worth leaving a current position (if that is your situation). There are circumstances where taking a job, no matter the pay or opportunity for advancement, is the appropriate thing to do, however ideally you can remain proactive so as not to get caught in a tricky situation.
The job search process can be stressful, but it can also be viewed as an exciting new chapter in your life. You have the ability to alter your mindset and get excited about the job hunt as your life-changing career opportunity may be one resume submittal away.
Mike Robbins, MA is the author of this article. To contact a writer at A Better Resume Service, call toll free 1-800-730-3244.