There are many things you can do to stay marketable and keep focused when in a career transition, even if you are still working. Below are few tips to help position yourself for the next job or promotion.
1. Go Back to School
Whether you are getting a master’s, or bachelor’s in a different career field, or taking a few courses to position yourself for a promotion, going to school can be a great option. Plus, building relationships with your professors may lead you to a connection that can help you land a job.
2. Informational Interviews
If you are exploring a new career field or a particular company within your field, this is a great way to learn about an industry or company you are interested in, and establish a relationship with the person you are interviewing. This is not the time to ask for a job. Occasionally an opportunity comes up during an informational interview, but it is rare. The goal is to build a relationship with someone who may be able to help you get a job down the road, and gain some knowledge at the same time.
The best way to connect with someone is via email. First visit LinkedIn to see if there is anything you have in common and mention that in the email. Go to the company’s website, visit the media page, and utilize the info email address made available on the company website. Copy the same pattern. Emails generally are the same company wide; firstname.lastname@example.org. Brevity is important here. Be honest about your situation, and why you are asking for an interview. I’ve had incredible success with this approach.
3. Volunteer or Seek an Internship
This approach is the best way to keep yourself marketable while you are in between jobs. Contact companies you are interested in working for and see if they do internships. Volunteer work and internships count as work experience. These sometimes lead to jobs within the company.
If you plan on volunteering for an association, pick one in your career field. Be sincere and involved, and get to know others in the organization. You never know when one of those relationships could lead to a job. You can also volunteer for a nonprofit. If they don’t have a need for your skill set, you can offer to volunteer where help is needed. You may even add new skills to your toolbox.
4. Stay Connected With Your Network
Let your friends and family know about your career transition plans and ask them if they know anybody you can talk to who works in your field of interest. This is known as the informational interview route. If comfortable, you could always ask them if they know of any job opportunities and if they would be willing to let you know of future opportunities. For you introverts out there, a great way to connect with your network is to meet a friend or colleague for coffee or lunch and just catch up. Most conversations will lead to what is going on in your life. That’s the time to tell them your situation. Sometimes this can lead to job opportunities.
So just to recap, there are many ways to keep yourself motivated, get in front of people, and stay marketable. Try some of these options out and let me know how it’s going.