There is no doubt that a transition is a tough thing. Perhaps you don’t know anyone in the field that is the focus of your transition or you don’t know even where to begin. Overcoming FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) is a first step to putting yourself on a path to success. Consider the following as you foray into something new and exciting. Your initial steps should include the following:
- Research your interests. Consider taking a personality assessment (e.g. Myers Briggs, DISC) to help you uncover and understand more about what your strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes are. This exercise will allow you to learn more about yourself and promote increased self awareness.
- Research the industry. How do you even know what you think you are interested in is a real interest? Doing some preliminary (at first) and then more in-depth industry research will give you a sense of how companies in that space operate. You will learn about key players and emerging trends. From there you can…
- Research specific positions. Since this is a time of change, evaluating positions will help you understand where your background fits into the broader picture. You can then prepare your action plan.
List of target companies. After completing your industry research, it will be time to create a list of companies that hold your interest. Again, more research is involved. In fact, the entire job search process is one that is centered on research: research about your interests; research about opportunities, companies, cultures, positions, and situations that will fulfill your personal and professional needs. Of course, this will be balanced by your ability to meet the needs of the company.
Create a spreadsheet where you will include the following to keep you organized:
- Company name
- Position title and description
- Date of your application
- Name of person to whom you addressed your application
- Date of interview
Online Presence: If you don’t have an online presence (e.g. LinkedIN, Twitter, online profile) you should fix that immediately. Hiring managers 'Google' the names of people they are interviewing and those they are considering interviewing. An online presence (with positive information about you) is a great way to get exposure while allowing someone to learn a little bit about you before they meet with you in person. Your online presence is an extension of your personal brand. If you really want to take it to a new level, you can create an online folio – your “Professional-ME” where your résumé, key traits, competencies, and other discerning information will help the reader gain a broader understanding of who you are.
No doubt making a career transition is challenging. What about job search isn’t, though? It is up to you to make sure that your strategy and resulting plan is well thought out. Your clear understanding of industry and opportunity will put you on a path to realize your goal of making an effective transition.