A new year is a chance for a fresh start – and it can be a perfect time to get started on new career goals. But a career reboot can be a little scary, especially if you don’t know where to start. Here are some expert tips that could help you launch a new career – or move ahead your current one.
- Know What You Enjoy
The first step toward a successful career reboot is to figure out what you like. Ask yourself what you enjoy most about your current job, what you don’t enjoy and what it would take to make that job more appealing to you. Is it just about money, or is there some other area where you’d like to make changes – such as shift hours, line of work, or corporate culture? Are you a whiz at working on your own, or do you prefer to be part of a team? Next, think beyond the work world. When you aren’t working, what are the things you enjoy most? What parts of those interests could you see being part of a job?
- Know What You Want
According to Forbes.com, deciding what you want to do can be the hardest part of any career reboot. “First, if you’ve been out of the workforce for a while you may not know what your options are and how well those options would fit you,” says blogger Tami Forman. She suggests not getting hung up too early on a final decision. In the early stages, it’s okay to have a general idea of the kind of work that interests you. “As you get more information about the marketplace and how your skills compare, refine your answer.”
Need some inspiration? Check out the 20 occupations with the highest projected growth, based on stats from the U.S. Department of Labor.
- Let Others Know You’re Looking
When you are looking for new opportunities, it’s possible that someone in your circle of friends and family knows of just the right one. But they won’t be able to tell you about it if they don’t know you are looking for a change. So get out there. Talk about what you are looking for and ask friends for their thoughts and advice. Put it on social media. And make sure your professional profiles on LinkedIn and other job-seeker sites are up-to-date and geared toward what you want to find.
- Find Out What It Takes
After you know what you’re looking for, make sure you have the tools to get there.
TheMuse.com suggests asking yourself which skills you need to be a good candidate for the type of job you want. It may be that the role you want requires certain certifications or licenses. Online classes might be enough to get you the experience you need. But if the requirements are greater and require tuition or fees, it’s important to weigh the cost with the desired end result before deciding for sure if this is the path that is best for you.
- Fine-tune Your Brand
Forbes.com blogger Lisa Quast says the key to standing out from other job candidates is to develop a personal brand. Start by defining exactly what you want to be. Then think about yourself as a product. What makes you choose one brand over another at the store? Sure, sometimes it’s cost. But other times, you might pay more for one brand over another because the brand has that little extra something. How do you want people to see you? What character traits will make you the best choice for the new career you want? Once you determine that, the way you present yourself to the world and potential employers should be consistent with your personal brand. That includes everything from your social media accounts, to how you dress, to the style of resume you choose.
With a little soul-searching and planning, you may discover the career that is the perfect fit for you. As with any New Year’s resolution, the key to success is what you put into it. Know your strengths, stay true to your goals and find your path to success.