Career Reset: How to Go After the Career You Really Want
When was that last time you came across a person who actually loved what they do for a living? It’s probably been a minute. It’s easy to get stuck in a job you hate because the pay is good, you’re scared to take a risk or you’re just not finding anything that interests you, but it’s important to keep going at it and create your own opportunities when you think there are none. We spend too much time working to be miserable while we’re at it. If you already know you’re not on the right career path, here are some tips to get on it.
Figure Out What You Really Want To Do
There’s a reason people tell you to decide what you would do for free then figure out a way to make money at it. Actually liking what you do for a living puts you halfway to happiness. Instead of feeling like you’re working just to earn a paycheck, you’ll “work” because it’s what you enjoy doing.
You can go the sophisticated route and take a personality test to figure out the path that’s best for you, or simply spend time thinking about what it is that you really enjoy. Can you turn a hobby into a career, or volunteering into a full-time gig? Really examine what you spend time on, what brings you most joy, and what aspect of those activities you enjoy most. More than likely, you’ll have your aha moment while you’re fully absorbed in what you’re doing “for fun.” That’s when you need to hit the net and start researching ways to monetize it.
By now I’m sure you know a blog is for more than just writers. You can post videos, images, hair you styled, or make-up you did. The point is to establish some type of online portfolio because these days, people don’t want to just see a name and a few previous employers; they want to see examples of work you’ve already done to determine what you bring to the table. You’re going to be Google'd most likely before anyone ever takes the time to have a conversation with you, so make sure what they find about you online is representative of your qualifications as a professional. It goes without saying that you need to clean up your social media profiles, if they don’t relate to your career.
Network On- and Off-line
If you want to do anything creative like deejay, plan an event, style someone’s wardrobe or be a PR coordinator, Twitter is the place to be. Word travels extremely fast on the site because it’s a much more open network than others like Facebook and LinkedIn. Twitter is a great place to scout out potential mentors, check out the competition and get ideas for free. It’s also a great way to promote yourself. You never know who might retweet something that could find its way into the timeline of a potential client or employer. LinkedIn is also a great place to create a profile, particularly for more mainstream, corporate professions. Recruiters often use the site as a breeding ground for talent, and it’s important that you’re there.
Likewise, don’t underestimate the power of in-person networking. Reaching out to someone behind the computer is much less intimidating, but going to a function allows you to make a much more lasting impression. Online, you may just be one email in a sea of many, but people remember faces, unique personalities, a great sense of style. All of those things are just as much a part of landing a job as your professional credentials.
Cast a Wide Email Net
Still, contacting people via email is a great way to break the ice, and behind the computer you have nothing to lose. Sure, you may not get a response, but that’s far less disappointing than someone ignoring you in person.
Reach out to someone who has landed a gig doing what you aspire to do and ask them for tips. See if someone at the company you’re interested in joining would be willing to meet up and talk about your qualifications. Ask someone’s opinion on an idea you have. It really can’t hurt to drop a line to someone, especially a friend of a friend who might have good connections. Just remember to keep it professional. You may think you know someone just because you follow them on Twitter, or they’re a friend of your girl from college, but you always need to put your best foot forward, even in email, to let people know you’re worth spending time on.
There are a lot of unemployed people out here and plenty more 9-to-5ers with side hustles. Competition is stiff, and you need to figure out a way to stand out amongst it. Bring a portfolio to interviews that includes examples of your work, former work reviews, letters of recommendation, even ideas about what you would do in your new job. Employers need to know that you’ll go above and beyond, and the interview process—from the first phone screening down to the last interview—is the best time to do that.
Breaking into something new is hard, and if you’re currently employed full-time while trying to find a new job, you have to be committed to searching and applying on a consistent basis. Finding a job really is like having a full-time job, so you may have to skip out on a few happy hours, set aside money for interviews out of the state, or cut off your phone for certain periods of time so that you can concentrate. Cutting out those minor luxuries temporarily doesn’t compare to the idea of attaining your dream job.
Don’t Doubt Yourself
It’s rare that someone will give you a chance right off the bat, and if you’re trying to switch industries, it can be tough to get someone to give you a break. But in the end, persistence does pay off. You may need an extra pair of eyes to look over your résumé or feedback on the proposal you submitted. Maybe your attire for the interview wasn’t polished enough. There are a million reasons why you may be hearing “no,” and it’s important to figure out what those reasons are and turn them around ASAP... Or else you’ll get discouraged and give up.
Sometimes a girl can only take so much rejection, but it’s important not to take every “no” personal. Sometimes circumstances don’t work out for a particular opportunity that we think is perfect, but just as you’re about to give up, another opportunity often presents itself.