We’ve all felt locked into jobs that aren’t fulfilling. And after a long day of work, searching for a better place to work can feel like a whole other job. Still, we all want a career that pays well, offers benefits, gives us a sense of purpose, and provides opportunities for growth. But how do we get there?
Below are five tips from experts to help you get started!
Making this jump can be tough because it might be hard to figure where to start, or what part of your approach to change if you are not hearing back from employers.
However, there are people and organizations out there with resources to help you reach your goals. Daniel Garcia and Stephen Pigozzi are career coaches at UnidosUS Affiliates that run job training programs, and they have a few strategies to help you move forward in your career.
- Research what jobs and industries are growing.
Daniel, Career Coach at Mi Casa Resource Center in Denver, Colorado, shared that it is important to make data-driven decisions when looking to change your job or start a new career. One of his favorite tools for this is O*Net Online, which contains information about numerous jobs and industries, such as job descriptions, pay rates, skills/knowledge requirements, and projected job growth. This information will help you determine what sort of job you want to pursue and what it takes to get there.
- Upgrade your resume.
Once you know what type of job you are interested in, craft your resume so it clearly ties in your skills, knowledge, and experience to the qualifications required for the job you are applying for.
To do this, first ensure that your resume is concise and free of errors. Stephen, a Workforce Development Supervisor at Association House in Chicago, Illinois, emphasized it is important to dedicate enough time to write your resume, and be sure to request input from other people. Every person you engage in your resume writing and editing process brings a new and unique perspective.
To really make your resume stand out, Daniel suggests that you use vocabulary from job descriptions at O*Net Online and/or the job listing you are applying for. He explained that most high-volume employers use applicant tracking systems to perform the initial applicant screening by searching for keywords within applicant resumes. Your resume might have higher chances of being viewed if you include keywords in it that an employer would be looking for such as “team-player,” “attention to detail,” and “event planning.”
- Leverage your network.
According to Stephen, “a good deal of success is about leveraging your current network,” and this involves more than just sending emails once a year. You can form deeper connections with contacts by meeting in person, getting coffee, or talking on the phone.
However, he also notes not to slack on your online presence. You do need to have professional profiles online that present your best image for anyone that searches your name. Keep in mind that your online presence should be tailored for what you want your “brand” to be. LinkedIn profiles should be updated and free of typos, and Facebook and other social media profiles should be either 100% professional or completely private.
- Make a plan and be patient.
As you take steps to advance your career, it is important to make a plan, set reasonable goals, then take things step by step. Stephen recommends “getting a calendar and mapping out your steps” especially if you are going to enroll in a training program. Also, make sure you share your plans with important people in your life so they can provide the support you need to reach your goals.
Daniel reminds you to “be patient. We live in a fast-paced society and [may] get disappointed when change does not happen immediately” but remember that making the jump to a new job takes time, from weeks to months, especially if you are changing industries. However, with a plan in place, you can track progress and congratulate yourself for the small things that move you closer to your goals. In the end, the effort will be worth it!
- Find guidance and encouragement at a local nonprofit.
Looking for some additional support? There are many community-based organizations out there with programs designed to help you create a resume, prepare for an interview, sharpen your skills, or even enroll in a short education or training program.
These organizations can also help you get started on the right foot if you are facing other challenges. They provide clients support in overcoming difficulties like food, professional clothing, housing, transportation, and more.
So, know that you are not alone! There are many great organizations dedicated to supporting you in your career development journey, including many UnidosUS Affiliates. You can visit our website to find an Affiliate near you.
The UnidosUS workforce development team helps our Affiliates provide stronger programs in communities across the county. Over the years, thousands of program participants have acquired the certifications, knowledge, and skills they need to advance their careers. If they did it, so can you! Learn more about our workforce development Initiatives by visiting our website.
By Hiram Cortez, UnidosUS Workforce Development Program Coordinator