Interview Turn- Off’s

Failing to smile at interview has been ranked THIRD in the UK employers’ top 10 turn-offs when hiring. According to research from CareerBuilder.co.uk, when asked to choose the biggest body language turn-offs in job interviews, employers went for:

 

Failure to make eye contact

 

-Non verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication in interviews. Keeping steady eye contact will show your interviewer that you are confident and focused.

 

Weak handshake

 

-First impressions are important. Shaking your interviewers had is usually one of the first things that happen when you walk into the interview room and a weak handshake could shape the interviewers opinion of you before the meeting even starts.

 

A firm (but not too firm) grip, eye contact and a smile is all you need.

 

Failure to smile

 

-Speaking of smiling, it’s very easy to forget to smile when you are nervous but it is also one of the easiest ways to break the ice and set the mood at the beginning of your interview.

 

In addition, a genuine smile shows people a lot about your personality so make sure you use it to your advantage.

 

Crossing your arms over your chest

 

-Pay attention to your body language in an interview. One common pitfall in interviews is the interviewer or interviewee crossing their arms as it is universally interpreted as negative and you could be seen as defensive, stressed or insecure.

 

 

Fidgeting (Playing with something on the table, playing with your hair or touching your face, fidgeting in your seat)

 

This one goes without saying but fidgeting will either show your nerves or convince the interviewer that you are bored and would rather be somewhere else.

 

Try to keep still and relaxed. Focus on the conversation so you are not tempted to fidget and distract the interviewer.

 

Bad posture

 

Your posture can say a lot about your personality, and bad posture can give the interviewer the wrong impression. For instance If you slouch, you may be perceived as lazy and uninterested. 

 

Try to sit up straight, keeping your hands in your lap with open palms and continue to hold this posture throughout the meeting. 

 

Handshake that is too strong

 

Shaking someone’s hand like you are trying to pump water from a well is not going to impress the interviewer at all. In fact, it may give the interviewer a bad first impression of you so keep your handshake firm but, whatever you do, don’t leave them in pain. 

 

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A-Z of The Best Words and Phrases to Use in Your CV

One of the hardest things when writing a CV is avoiding repetition of words.

Please find a list of words and phrases that you may find useful in compiling your CV.

Remember though – whichever you decide to use, you will need to be able to explain them at interview!

Keep your bullet points brief, but vary them in length to make it easier on the eye.

Most important of all –  this is your brochure and NOT your autobiography.

Good luck and have fun with this!

 

“A” WORDS
Ability Accelerated  Accurate Achieved Acquired Adapt Administered Advised Ambition Analysed
Appraise Appropriate Approve Arrange Aspired Assess Assisted Auditing Averting Avoiding Awareness

“B” WORDS

Budgeted Building Built

“C” WORDS

Capable  Centralising  Challenging  Clarified  Clients  Coaching  Communicating  Completed  Conceived  Confidence Consolidating  Constructive  Convincing  Co-operated  Co-ordinate  Cost saving  Created  Customers

“D” WORDS

Decided  Delegated  Delivering  Demonstrated  Designed  Determined  Developed  Devised  Diagnosing  Directed

“E” WORDS

Effective Efficient Eliminating Enabling Enforcing Engineered Enhanced Ensuring Enthusiasm Established Evaluated Exceeded Exceptional Executed Expanded Experience

“F” WORDS

Financed  Flexibility  Forecasting  Forming  Formulated  Founded

“G” WORDS

Gaining  Generated  Goals  Governed  Graduated  Guiding

“H” WORDS

Headed  Helpful  Honest Humour

“I” WORDS

Initiative Innovative Innovate Interpersonal Integrity Impressive Inclusive Implement Involve Indicate Iconic Idea Ideal Independent Illuminate Illustrative Illustrious Image Immense Incentive Immerse Impact Impeccable Intuitive Inception Industrious Influence Information Ingenuity Invent Invest Investment

“J” WORDS

Judgement

“L” WORDS

Launched  Led  Liaised  Located  Loyal

“M” WORDS

Managed  Maintained  Marketed  Mediated  Monitored  Monitoring Motivated

“N” WORDS

Negotiated  Nominated  Notable

“O” WORDS

Objectives  Obtained  Operated  Opportunity  Organised  Oriented  Originated  Overcome

“P” WORDS

Perceived  Perfected  Performed  Permanent  Persuading  Piloted  Pioneered  Placed  Planned  Practical  Prestige  Preventing
Professional  Produced  Proficient  Progress  Profit  Promoted  Proposed  Proved  Provided  Providing  Publishing  Punctual
Purchasing

“Q” WORDS

Qualified  Quantified

“R” WORDS

Raising  Reasonable  Recognised  Recommend  Recruiting  Reduced  Regulated  Reliable  Reorganised  Reported  Represented Researched  Resolving  Responsible  Results  Reviewing

“S” WORDS

Simplified  Sincerity  Solved  Standardising  Stimulated  Strategic  Streamlined  Structured  Substantial  Succeeded  Supervised  Supported  Satisfied  Saving  Scheduled  Securing  Selected  Selling  Significant

“T” WORDS

Team building  Testing  Thorough  Thoughtful  Tolerant  Trained  Transferred  Transformed  Trebled

“U” WORDS

Understanding  Upgrading  Useful  Utilised

“V” WORDS

Versatile  Validating  Vital  Verified  Vivid

“W” WORDS

Wonderful, Working, Window, Wider

 

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10 Important Things You Should Include In Your CV

Here is a list of the top 10 things you should include in your CV;  

 

  • You only need to include the last 10 years of your work history except under the following circumstances:
  1. a) You have had a long career break for most of the 10 year period – in which case ensure you show at least 5 – 8 years of career history prior to/after the career break.
    b) You are applying for roles that require a greater level of experience – be sure to check this is the case before you attach your CV.
  • Ensure you always have your name, address, daytime telephone number and email address clearly visible on the first page of your CV.

 

  • You should not include details of your personal references on your CV, these should only be provided if you are successful at interview.

 

  • You must tailor your CV for specific roles, career paths, industries or business sectors. E.g. you may have one CV that is tailored for marketing roles in Financial Services and another that is tailored for office management in a Customer Service sector.  You will have the skills and experience in both job types, but by drawing out the relevant information on a tailored CV you will make it stand out more amongst the crowd.

 

  • When tailoring your CV to meet the needs of specific role/company be sure to look at the language used in any job description, marketing materials, website of the company and mirror where possible this language in your CV.

 

  • Keep your CV to a maximum of two pages and makes good use of signage and white space.
    Use short, sharp bullets and ensure that when tailoring CVs for specific roles you put the most relevant bullets at the top of each of the sections.

 

  • If you are running out of space cut down the number of bullets on your older roles and if necessary remove your “Additional Information, Hobbies & Interests” section.  If you are tailoring a CV, you can save space by removing any bullet points, training undertaken and qualifications achieved that are not relevant for the role you are tailoring the CV for.

 

  • Get someone who knows you well to review your CV before you send it out.  They will be able to help ensure that you haven’t left off any important info about your skills and experience.

 

  • Once you’ve completed your CV, leave it for a day or two and then come back and proof read it. If possible get someone with good attention to detail/spelling & grammar skills to proof read it for you before you publish it on any recruitment websites or send the CV to recruiters/employers.

 

  • Always name and Date your CV, we would suggest the following naming convention for a general CV <Your Full Name><MMM YYYY> and for tailored CVs <Your Full Name><MMM YYYY><Tailoring Specifics – e.g. name of role, or industry/sector type>.  This will help you to manage your CVs and ensure you don’t get caught short and not know what CV you sent where!

 

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How to Survive Redundancy

Redundancy is one of the most difficult events we face. Similar to a separation or divorce, redundancy plunges the person and his/her family into crisis. It puts the family in a state of uncertainty, insecurity and stress. Redundancy can induce feelings of loneliness, low self-esteem and anxiety.

 

The natural reaction to redundancy is lack of acceptance of the new situation; a strong urge to try and turn back the wheel. Many are willing to bear and put up with a lot to get their old job back. Similarly, in a relationship, a person that has been walked out on will initially try to do anything in their power to make their partner return. Separation sheds new light on the relationship; all of a sudden the relationship seems more meaningful and precious. It takes a while to comprehend the fact that the relationship is over. At work too, one initially tries to undo what has already been done or perhaps find a new and exciting replacement quickly.

 

Unfortunately, this is not always the case and some may need to face a longer term of unemployment. The tough challenge in this case is coping with the new reality – without having a job to go to and managing all the spare time and the emptiness you may feel. Acclimatising to the new daily life is challenging and takes a while until you learn to enjoy the imposed freedom.

 

Being let go; suffering redundancy; experiencing downsizing are all very different ways of saying the same thing. Your employer doesn’t want you anymore. Suddenly, that place seems so much more attractive than it did yesterday – and you are going to fight tooth and nail to hang in there. But wait, maybe there’s something in you that relishes the chance to move on and do something different. For all those years when you didn’t quite fit. Where the role you had caused you some unease, there is something to learn. Is it not possible that you were something of a square peg, who over the years had done your best to fit into the round hole of your career?

 

So, think about the things you truly love, the types of way you want to spend your time and take the opportunity to move on as a sign. Time to look for an alternative future that better suits the person you really are. This can be a challenging time, yet if you see the possibilities and seize the moment, it can be one of the most thrilling phases of your life.

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A Guide to Competency Interviews

Increasingly, interviews are based on competencies. These are particular skills and qualities interviewers are looking for in a candidate. Some examples of competencies are:

  • Leadership
  • Team working
  • Communication skills
  • Conflict management
  • Delegation
  • Influencing
  • Risk taking
  • Integrity

Check on the competencies required in the job description or the application form, then think about examples from your work when you have demonstrated them. It is important when talking about competencies to always give examples. Usually they will ask for this: “Tell me about a time when you had to use your communication skills to influence someone.”

Make notes in bullet form so that you can review them before the interview. If possible have two examples of each one because sometimes they ask you for another example.

Don’t worry about stating the obvious. What may seem obvious to you, still needs mentioning. For example you may believe that you are acting with integrity all the time but you still need to come up with a specific example. If you don’t say it, then they can’t give you credit for it. You could say something like: “My aim is to act with integrity at all times but I suppose a particular example where that became important was…”

Delivery

When answering this type of competency question try using the following ‘STAR’ structure to give coherence to your answers.

S for Situation: What was the situation you found yourself in? Set the scene with a couple of sentences. Don’t go into too much detail at this point – save that for later.

T for Task: What was it you had to do? What was the project?

A for Action:  This part is crucial. What did you do? How did you influence the outcome? What effective behaviours did you display?

R for Result: People often forget this part. So make sure you end by clearly stating what happened as a result of your actions.

Using this structure will give your answers clarity and direction and will help you to speak to the point and to know that you’ve given the right amount of information.

 

Practice

Practice using the STAR technique, but don’t learn answers off by heart as this can sound over-prepared and inauthentic. Instead become familiar with discussing the examples so that when it is required you are able to speak fluently and precisely

 

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Recruitment Agencies- The Truth Behind The Myth!

The role of a recruitment consultant and recruitment agency is often one that is misrepresented in society. Good recruitment consultants change lives, add value to organisations and, just as important, build lasting relationships with candidates and clients alike.

Yes, of course there are those agencies out there that are simply ‘CV Shops’ where little or no consultation with clients and candidates takes place, but in our opinion that is not how this industry should operate. After all, the construction industry is a ‘people’ industry.

 

Simply forwarding CVs from an inbox to a client will more often than not result in a negative experience for both client and candidate. A lack of thorough needs analysis and consultation results in high staff turnover and prohibits long-term working relationships, particularly in small, close knit communities like The Construction Materials Sector.

 

Here at SRS we are consultants and by that we mean that we take the time to fully understand the needs and requirements of our clients, including in most cases visits to their offices, detailed questioning regarding the culture of the company, what character traits they look for in their employees, what benefits they offer, what if any career prospects there are within that particular firm and so on. The more we get to know our clients, the better ‘fit’ and ‘match’ our CVs will be to specific vacancies.

 

Since our inception in 1989 we have built excellent, long-lasting and prosperous relationships with 100s of clients across The Construction Material Sector and we are now at the point with a number of our key clients that, when a job vacancy arises, our consultants know exactly what type of person will thrive and prosper in that particular working environment and shortlists can be sent to clients for review in a matter of hours.

 

There is without doubt a great deal more to the role of a successful recruiter than meets the eye and it is perhaps those companies who operate in our industry without always having the clients and candidates best intentions at heart that result in some of the negative sentiments towards recruitment agencies.

 

It is an extremely challenging and often stressful position to do well, but also one that is extremely satisfying and there is nothing quite as rewarding as finding the ideal candidate the perfect position with one of our clients and when that individual goes on to add true value to their organisation!

 

 

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Virtual Job Interviews and How to Handle Them

Looking for a job has changed a lot in the past ten years. For one thing, there’s less of a need to actually leave your house for a job interview.

Inexpensive Web cams and videoconferencing tools like Skype mean that, nowadays, your first interview (or first couple of interviews) with a company may take place in front of your home computer — maybe, that is, a “virtual interview.”

But although the technology is ready, are you? Before your virtual interview, make sure you’re prepared.

  1. Get a handle on it.

Whether it’s Skype, an instant-messaging client, or another videoconferencing app, you likely have a user name or “handle” that you sign in with. Make sure it’s not something like beerlover2011 or casanova4u. As with your email account, choose something professional — if you can’t use just your name because it’s already taken, try your name combined with your industry (jsmith_Construction, for instance).

  1. Dress for it.

Even for a phone interview, getting dressed as you would for a face-to-face interview can make you feel more confident and professional (and that feeling will affect your performance). Don’t be casual just because the medium seems more casual. And don’t go with the business-on-top, bunny-pajamas-on-the-bottom look. You just might have to stand up for some reason, so get dressed all the way down to the shoes.

  1. Straighten it up.

Consider your background, and make sure it’s professional. You don’t want to start the chat on your Web cam and then notice that your unmade bed is in the corner of the shot. Position your camera so that an interviewer might think you’re in an office (sit in front of a bookshelf, for instance), find a neutral-color background, or find some other background that represents you as a professional in your industry. And make sure you have a copy of your CV and your portfolio (and so on) at hand.

  1. Keep the cat out of it.

I participate in video chats all the time, and I often work from a home office — where my cat has elected herself as my assistant (she likes to help me type). If she shows up in the frame when I’m chatting with a colleague, it’s not a big deal. But when I do more professional meetings, I close the door to Kitty. Whether you’re on the phone or on a Web cam, move pets and kids out of the area, and make sure the environment is quiet (no TV blaring in the next room).

  1. Get an angle on it.

If you’re using a laptop at a traditional desk, your built-in camera may be positioned below your face. As any movie star will tell you, this can be an unflattering angle. A face-on view is better; setting your laptop on a couple of books might help. And pay attention to lighting: if you sit with your back to a very bright window, your face will appear as a dark blob; a light to the side can give you an overly dramatic, shadowy look. Muted sun through a window positioned in front of your desk (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) or a uniform lighting source will help you shine in the interview. (Test your setup with a friend before the big day.)

 

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The Most Effective Questions to Ask in A Job Interview

Imagine you’re in a job interview and everything is looking great – the job looks interesting, the salary and perks are about right, people seem nice.

What you really need to know now is, “Is this a nice place to work?” Are people happy at work here? Are the managers good? Are the co-workers nice? Or is this company a branch office of one of the nastier levels of hell?

You could always ask them straight out at the interview. “Say… I was wondering… Is this a good place to work?”

But you pretty much know what they’ll say, don’t you? “Why certainly, dear applicant, this company is fully committed to the well-being of its employees. We strive to maintain a high level of employee satisfaction and employees are our number one asset.”

Before you start ‘interrogating’ the interviewer, it’s important to assess who you’re dealing with. You should be able to gauge this within a few minutes of talking to them.

A professional would have taken the time at the beginning of the interview to make you feel comfortable, opening the interview with some small talk. These are the best people to deal with, as they’re likely to listen attentively to what you say. But they will be intolerant if you take liberties.

The psychologist-styled interviewer may try to look for hidden clues in everything you say, but it may be difficult to spot this type. So it’s best to stick to the truth and be brief at all times.

The formalist interviewer usually sticks to a script. This can be frustrating, but don’t let it intimidate you. Just be patient and affirmative, because your chance to have your say will probably come at the end of the interview, or when answering their questions.

The interrogator tries to intimidate you. The key to dealing with these people is not to get flustered. Take your time answering the questions and hold your nerve.
The smooth talker is one to watch. If they’re waxing lyrical about the job and its prospects, without too much concern for your ability, then the alarm bells should be going off. This is the type of ‘high staff turnover’ job to avoid.

The pretentious interviewer is another to watch for, as they can intimidate you with their ‘know it all’ attitude. But if you remain humble and respectful you’re still likely to make a good impression.

 

Here are some questions to get you going

  • What’s been your best experience working at this company?
  • When do you have the most fun at work ?
  • Who do you enjoy working with the most here? What do you like about them?
  • Which manager do you admire the most in this company? What do you admire about that person?
  • What’s the greatest thing your manager has done for his/her people?
  • How big is the team I’d be working with?
  • Who would my co-workers be, and what are their functions?
  • How many people would I be managing?
  • What are the goals of this department?
  • What are the company’s objectives for the year?
  • What would my primary tasks on this project be?
  • What does the client expect at the end of the project?
  • What would I go to work on first, and what would my function be?
  • What is the deadline for this project? How will success be measured?
  • What makes this company different from its competitors?
  • What do you like about this company? What keeps you here?
  • If I meet or exceed the company’s expectations, will there be additional opportunities to expand my responsibilities?
  • What sort of communication style works best with this team?
  • What are the main challenges associated with the team?
  • What are the biggest hurdles you hope to overcome in the next quarter?
  • What can you tell me about the culture and the environment?
  • How would you characterise successful employees in this department? What are their common qualities?
  • What is the department head’s leadership style? How often would we interact?
  • Which internal customers would I be interacting with most frequently? What are their typical expectations?
  • Please describe the duties of the job for me.
  • Is this a new position or am I replacing someone?
  • Does your company encourage further education?
  • How often are performance reviews given?
  • Do you have plans for expansion?
  • How do you feel about creativity and individuality?

Your questions may fall into the following categories:

  • What sort of responsibilities the job entails
    •    Challenging or routine/mundane aspects of the tasks at hand
    •    What support and guidance is available, such as managerial assistance, flexibility, size of budget, mentoring etc.
    •    How often your performance is reviewed and details on any bonus schemes
    •    Training and development opportunities
    •    Scope for promotion and career path enhancement
    •    Extra expectations of the employer such as travel etc

Timing is everything. During the interview you need to look for opportunities to be proactive and ask your own questions or try to lead the discussion where appropriate. Be careful not to dominate the discussion or take up too much time. Generally interviewers will give you an opportunity to ask questions, but even if they don’t actually ask you directly if you have any questions it pays to have a few prepared.

Questions should reflect your keenness to work for the company and generally you should try to limit yourself to asking just a couple of the most significant questions you have. You don’t want to make the interviewer feel brow-beaten with a long list.

Significant questions to ask about the job:

  • Why has the job become vacant?
    •    What are the key tasks and responsibilities of the job?
    •    How was the job handled in the past?
    •    What is the largest challenge facing staff at present?
    •    How do you review performance?
    •    What support and guidance is available?
    •    What training will be available?

Find out about the company’s long-term strategy. Are there plans for expansion? What new product plans are in the pipeline? These kinds of questions will be essential in helping you to decide whether this company is one you would like to work for. It will also demonstrate your keenness for the company and not just the job.

Pertinent aspects of the company to ask about:

  • Structure of the organisation
    •    Staffing: is it growing, contracting, outsourcing etc?
    •    Decision making process and line of authority
    •    Success of the organisation, its profitability and product portfolio
    •    Future strategies and development

Making an impression

Keep your concentration levels up during the interview and make sure you listen to the responses the interviewer gives you. The worst mistakes happen when people end up asking questions about topics that have already been covered in the interview or don’t hear or understand what the interviewer has said. For that reason your questions need to evolve with the interview. But don’t be afraid to ask for something to be explained in more detail.

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The Fool-Proof Method for Goal Setting and Why You Should Be Doing It

SMART goal setting will help you to stay motivated through challenges and make decisions that bring you closer to the kind of career and life that you want for yourself.

SMART goal setting helps you to work more efficiently, meet deadlines and avoid being sidetracked from your priorities. Failing to set goals is the “ready, fire, aim” approach to career and life management.

So, if you’re convinced you want to start setting goals for your career, a few tips on goal setting will serve you well.

The SMART goals method is a great way to ensure you’ve set a practical goal for yourself.

SMART goal setting – SMART stands for:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Timely

Let’s examine the SMART technique using the following goal as an example:
“Within the next three days I will call five business contacts to network and seek job opportunities.”

Specific
You are more likely to follow through on a specific goal than a general goal because it is clearly defined. Specific goal setting helps you to focus clearly on exactly what you want to accomplish and how you will do it.

Just saying I will look for job leads is not a specific goal. There are plenty of ways to look for job leads. This general goal gives no direction. It doesn’t tell you anything about what to do to achieve the goal.

The original example goal is very specific. It describes a specific strategy for finding job leads (calling business contacts). This goal lets you know exactly what you need to do to accomplish your goal.

Measurable
If a goal is measurable, then you will know exactly when you have accomplished that goal. Establishing specific criteria for reaching a goal allows you to determine how close you are to reaching that goal and be motivated by your own progress.

A goal that states, I will call some business contacts to network and look for job leads, is not measurable. How many business contacts do you need to call? How do you know when you’ve achieved the goal?

The original example is measurable. You know you’ve achieved your goal once you’ve called five of your business contacts.

Attainable
SMART goals are within your control. If you set goals that are outside of your control you are just setting yourself up for failure.

Some people might set the following goal: I will find five great job leads in the next week. At first glance that goal might sound pretty good, but that goal is not definitely attainable by you. You don’t have reasonable control over whether you find five job leads in the next week. You may do a great job of networking and seeking out job opportunities, but you still do not have complete control over how many great job leads you will find within a specific time frame.

The example goal, on the other hand, is an example of SMART goal setting because it is attainable. You have control over whether it happens or not. You do not have to rely on the whims or good will of others to ensure that you call five business contacts, and you can reasonably expect that calling business contacts will lead to the outcome you want – finding several great job leads.

Realistic
Effective goal setting requires you to take into account the things that you are reasonably willing and able to do to achieve your goals.

I will call twenty business contacts in the next three days. Is that goal realistic? Maybe, it depends on who you are. If you have a big network of contacts and you are not terrified of business networking, that might be a perfectly realistic goal.

If you’re like most people and the idea of business networking strikes fear in your heart, then calling twenty business contacts may be completely unrealistic for you. If you know that calling five business contacts to seek out job leads is the most you can manage, then five should be your goal. Push your limits a little bit, but don’t set yourself up for failure.

Timely
SMART goals have deadlines. Deadlines help you to determine how much time you have left to achieve a goal and prevent you from procrastinating.

Your goal might be I will call five business contacts. If you are procrastinator, you’ll immediately see the problem in that goal. When will you make those phone calls? There’s no deadline pushing you to finish the task.

On the other hand, the example goal provides a deadline. You know you have three days to make the phone calls, and that deadline will help you to avoid the trap of procrastination.

When you practice SMART goal setting, you’ll have an easier time staying on track with your career goals. SMART goals can help you to stay focused on the short and long term outcomes that you want to achieve with your career and your life. SMART goal setting is an effective way to stay motivated and keep your career focused in the direction you choose.

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The 9 Step Plan for a Career Change

Are you facing that career change plunge? Do you wish you were? Take it slowly and make sure what you really want to do is change careers. Then use this 9-step plan, and you will be on much more sure footing — and on a path toward career change success. Finally, remember that career change is a natural life progression; most studies show that the average job-seeker will change careers (not jobs) several times over the course of his or her lifetime.

Step 1: Assessment of Likes and Dislikes. A lot of people change careers because they dislike their job, their boss, their company. So, identifying the dislikes is often the easier part of this step; however, you will not know what direction to change your career unless you examine your likes. What do you really like doing when you’re at work, when you’re at home – in your spare time. What excites you and energizes you? What’s your passion? The key is spending some time rediscovering yourself — and using your self-assessment to direct your new career search.

Step 2: Researching New Careers. Once you’ve discovered (or rediscovered) your passion, spend some time researching the types of careers that centre around your passions. Don’t worry if you’re feeling a bit unsure or insecure — it’s a natural part of the career change process. How much research you do also partly depends on how much of a change you’re making; for example, changing from a teacher to a corporate trainer versus switching from a nurse to a Web designer.

Step 3: Transferable Skills. Leverage some of your current skills and experiences to your new career. There are many skills (such as communications, leadership, planning, and others) that are transferable and applicable to what you want to do in your new career. You may be surprised to see that you already have a solid amount of experience for your new career.

Step 4: Training and Education. You may find it necessary to update your skills and broaden your knowledge. Take it slowly. If the skill you need to learn is one you could use in your current job, see if your current employer would be willing to pick up the tab. And start slowly. Take a course or two to ensure you really like the subject matter. If you are going for a new degree or certification, make sure you check the accreditation of the school, and get some information about placement successes.

Step 5: Networking. One of the real keys to successfully changing careers will be your networking abilities. People in your network may be able to give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular company or industry, and introduce you to others so that you can expand your network. Even if you don’t think you already have a network, you probably do – consider colleagues, friends, and family members. You can broaden your network through joining professional organizations in your new field and contacting alumni from your college who are working in the field you want to enter.

Step 6: Gaining Experience. Remember that, in a sense, you are starting your career again from square one. Obtaining a part-time job or volunteering in your new career field not only can solidify your decision, but give you much needed experience in your new career. You might also want to consider temping in your new field. Work weekends, nights, whatever it takes to gain the experience.

Step 7: Find a Mentor. Changing careers is a major life decision that can get overwhelming at times. Find a mentor who can help you through the rough patches. Your mentor may also be able to help you by taking advantage of his or her network. A mentor doesn’t have to be a highly placed individual, though the more powerful the mentor, the more success you may have in using that power to your advantage.

Step 8: Changing In or Out. Some people change careers, but never change employers. Unfortunately, only the very progressive employers recognize that once happy employees can be happy and productive again – in a different capacity. It’s more than likely that you will need to switch employers to change fields, but don’t overlook your current employer. Remember not to start asking about a job switch until you are completely ready to do so.

Step 9: Be Flexible. You’ll need to be flexible about nearly everything – from your employment status to relocation and salary. Set positive goals for yourself, but expect setbacks and change – and don’t let these things get you down. Besides totally new careers, you might also consider a lateral move that could serve as a springboard for a bigger career change. You might also consider starting your own business or consulting as other avenues.

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