In our “Re: Connection” blog series, we’re revisiting articles from years past to see what has changed and what remains the same. In 2017, five career coaches shared some of their resolutions for that year. We checked back in with two of them and asked three other Louisiana-based career specialists to share some tips with our readers for 2020.
The job market stays strong in 2020 and the economy remains volatile. As such, there is talk of a “market correction” coming within the next year or so. Currently, there are more open jobs than candidates. 2020 will still be a good time to find a better job, but many employers are seeking levels of expertise that aren’t available in the current talent landscape. More than 50% of the workforce is under the age of 36, so employers seeking depth of experience for senior-level jobs need to account for that disparity. The best way for a job seeker to attain those senior-level jobs is to demonstrate their ability to learn quickly, adapt, and manage complexity during the interview and selection process. As time goes on over the next few years, “learning agility” will emerge as one of the most sought-after competencies for candidates in getting new jobs and getting promoted internally.
I often find that people midway through a career stop and realize that, although they are successful with their work and current job, they have been neglecting their network. Whether you are actively or passively looking for a job, staying connected and top of mind in the market is essential. You don’t want to think about growing your network only when you need it. It’s very important to manage your network online and in person as you cultivate new relationships and retain and strengthen existing ones.
Start by focusing on LinkedIn, as the business world revolves around this tool. Since connections and potential connections will look at your profile, be sure that it’s not only current, but written with an eye on where you want to go, not where you’ve been. Be thoughtful in reaching out to new contacts and don’t just connect to anyone. Next, think strategically about staying in touch with contacts both online and in person. Make sure to touch base with key colleagues whether via email, a phone call, catching up in person, direct messaging on LinkedIn or liking their content on LinkedIn to stay on their radar. Finally, in-person networking is also important. Find out where people who are beneficial for you to know get together—industry organizations, alumni groups, conferences and events—so you can strategically meet people and build relationships. For these types of groups, it’s important that you don’t show up only when you’re looking for a job. People will notice and that is potentially damaging to your personal brand.
There is incredible freedom and power in being prepared for what can come next at work—whether that’s an internal opportunity for growth or change, or a desire to exit the company for a new opportunity, keeping the tools in your career toolbox sharp allows you to be prepared for new professional adventures.
What are career tools? On a tangible level, career tools consist of the following: metrics of your successes at work, resume, cover letter, reference letters, online profiles and interviewing skills. Taken as a whole, career toolbox items are part of your personal brand. The clearer you are on your personal brand, the more likely you are to stand out at work or land an offer at your next job interview. At our company, we work with clients through a specific personal branding process that helps them create and communicate their personal brands. Once the brand is solidified, clients learn how to present their brands in ways that build trust at work and in interviews. Ultimately, the branding process increases the confidence of our clients and successes in their professional ventures.
Sometimes our jobs cause problems that affect our performance at work and carry over into our personal lives. If one is not happy at work, the feeling of frustration and pointlessness can spill over to the rest of your life, including relationships with family, friends, and others. The need to consider a career change is often manifested in job burnout or job stress. To determine if you have job burnout, ask yourself some of these questions. Have you become cynical or critical at work? Do you drag yourself to work, have trouble getting started and find it hard to concentrate? Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients? If you find yourself experiencing these symptoms at work, perhaps it’s time to assess your natural abilities, personal style, interests, values, and goals and explore another job. The keystone is guidance in charting your journey so that your career can truly be based on who you are. A career coach can often help you find work that is truly fulfilling. Wise Confucius gave us good insight into career decision-making when he said, “Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life!”
If you don’t understand what is lacking in your current career—and what you hope to find in your new career—then you may find yourself in another dissatisfying situation in ten years. Avoid disappointment by determining why you want to change careers, then each time you find a job opportunity, ask yourself if this job will provide the change you need. Changing jobs can be a long process, but there are a lot of easy steps for getting a career change in motion. Once you’ve figured out what you want from a new career, you can start making the first steps to get it.
Once you analyze where you’re at and what you want from a career change, it’s time to go about finding it. If you’re moving to a completely different field, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the career path options. Make sure that your idea of a specific field or career lines up with reality. With all the advancements in technology and changes in the economy in the past few decades, you want to make sure your dream job actually exists and will continue to do so in the long term. Even better, look at what new opportunities exist due to changing trends.
Though you may feel like you’re starting from scratch, you’re not. Your life and career experiences add up to a unique set of skills for potential employers. It’s important for you to be aware of and utilize your resources. Analyze how your skills transfer to a new career goal and market them when networking, creating a targeted resume or create a LinkedIn profile. As you learn more about yourself, explore careers that are in demand. Don’t hesitate to get help from a career coach to re-brand your experience, which can prepare you begin a new, satisfying career.
We hope you find these tips helpful and that you have a successful and prosperous 2020 working in a job you love!
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