Friday, 23 September 2016

Thinking about changing jobs? 10 tips to transition smoothly into your new career

Changing jobs is not a decision to be taken lightly, but it will inevitably occur at some point or another in your working life. Given that we spend the greater part of our adult lives at work, having a job which is fulfilling is important as it enhances our identity.

If you’ve reached your full potential within your current job, change is a must. The psychological benefits of leaving a place where you are feeling tired or burnt out, are not to be underestimated. Lack of stimulus is as bad as financial and intellectual stagnation, and any combination of these three is a major cause of unhappiness.

So if you’re reconsidering your employment options, here are some pointers to help you make the move seamlessly.

Do your homework

Preparation is key. Whether you want to change job within the same industry or change your field completely, lists are your friends. Make a list of pros and cons of your current job and then adjust the pros list to the new position you’re looking for. This will help you focus better.

List your transferable skills if you’re looking outside your current field. In previous blog posts, we highlighted how important it is to clean up your CV and keep it relevant to the job you’re interested in: the same applies to cover letters.

Do your fieldwork

Once you’ve established the area you want to move into, get in touch with professionals already working within the market and get an insider’s view. Sometimes, job descriptions can be overly positive to attract possible employees, and nothing beats an honest outline from someone in the know. You do not need to have formal sessions, simply pick an acquaintance’s brain while out socially – from a wine bar to the gym.

Network

Use your contacts wisely and involve yourself in events like public lectures, open days, charity events and sponsored meet-ups which will allow you to meet and make a positive impression on the right people and make useful professional links.

Embrace social media

With more than 80% of the Maltese population having a Facebook account and checking it multiple times daily, these apps are the way to go if you want to put yourself out there, while simultaneously keeping a finger on the pulse. Follow the companies you think might be potential employers and actively engage with them.

Make sure you set up or update your LinkedIn profile, clean up your Facebook page, get yourself onto Snapchat and organise your Twitter and Instagram wisely. You can bet any future employer will find a means of assessing your social media presence. While media exposure is good, don’t allow it to compromise your integrity. Sell yourself for the right reasons, with the right pictures and comments, and focus on internet fame rather than infamy.

Find specialist recruiters

Narrow your search for a new job by getting in touch with recruiters who specialise in your field of interest. Establish a good relationship with them and be clear with what you want. The more they know you, the more likely they are to find the right fit for you.

Be honest with yourself

Assess your ability to perform within your new job and identify areas which require improvement. Then take action. A prospective boss who sees an employee willing to take a genuine interest in their development and training, will be more reassured of your commitment.

Hang on to your old job

Until you find a new one. Consider your financial situation and ask yourself whether it is sensible to spend some time unemployed until you find new work. A gap in your CV also raises questions with future employers, so have an explanation ready.

Keep it under wraps

Take a friend or family member into your confidence but don’t make your new job search too public. Minimise the potential for your current employer and colleagues finding out that you plan to leave. Maintain professionalism and commitment to your current job and don’t run your job search on company time. This will facilitate the severing of ties without the animosity.

Try an internship

Yes, it’s probably unpaid; but the benefit of gaining some valid work experience while on an internship can be invaluable. If the internship cannot be fitted around your current working hours, try taking a sabbatical and use it to improve your chances of employability.

Consider part-time or freelance work at first

Breaking into a new business or profession can be hard work and might involve a pay cut at first. Many jobs require experience in the field and nothing beats the flexibility of part-time and freelance work to give you a leg-up into the workings of your new career. Proof of having explored your new field part-time could help you fast-track your progression in your new job.

Finally, keep training – your brain is only as old as you allow it to be. Recent research on brain plasticity in adults has proven that the adult brain can be kept agile and taught to develop new skills as easily as that of younger teens and children. All it takes is the right attitude and effort.

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