For many, staying in a particular position happens more because of personal circumstances than professional. This could include reasons like flexible work schedules, family health benefits, more time with family, or earned vacation days. While these are all acceptable reasons to remain in a position, there are steps you should take to move you toward that next position.
1. Most candidates don’t realize how long it takes to find a job. If you wait to prepare yourself for a career change until that moment when you are ready to move to a new position, you are setting yourself up for failure and frustration. It’s while you are happy with your current position that you should begin polishing your resume and building a career portfolio.
The average active job search may take up to eight months, and that’s for those stand-out candidates. In addition, today’s human resource efforts are managed primarily online. What does this mean for you? It means you could get lost among hundreds of applicants, or you could be bumped farther down the list because other candidates don’t just meet the basic qualifications, they offer the PREFERRED qualifications.
2. Most candidates don’t have all the required skills for their ideal position. Think about where you would like to work next and what you would like to do. Conduct an Internet search of that position to obtain a job description. If you don’t have any luck, try contacting the human resources representative at that company, or its competitor, and request a job description. Then, compare your skills to that position and to the person who currently holds the position. What is missing from your resume? What skills do you have that would apply? Where do you line up? Where do you need to improve? By looking at how you compare today, you can begin gaining the knowledge and skill set you need to make that move.
Once you have identified your strengths and weaknesses in comparison to the job description, start building your portfolio. At a minimum, this should include an online website with work samples. Websites are a quick and easy way to engage a hiring executive and cost less than $100 using do-it-yourself sites like godaddy.com. You can include a link to your website in your cover letter and your opening email, as well as in the text of your online application. Websites show how great you are with one click and may help answer questions raised about your resume or qualifications.
If you find you don’t meet all the job requirements, take advantage of today’s technology and volunteer opportunities to improve your skills. For example, maybe you’ve worked as a marketing representative and your ideal position requires social media savvy, which is a weakness for you. Begin researching popular social media platforms to improve your proficiency. Engross yourself in the research as if you are taking a class and need to make an A+. Offer to create a social media marketing plan for a local charity or small business to showcase your work and prove your results. By doing this, you are demonstrating community involvement and your proficiency in the required skills. If you already meet the basic qualifications of the position, then look at what skills you can begin learning to help you become the preferred candidate.
Preparation will be what helps propel you through the hiring process when you are ready for a career boost. Your efforts toward professional development will keep you actively engaged in helping someone really, really important: you.