Part of the reason you may be feeling stuck in your career and job search is that you know you don’t want to continue in your current job (or if you’re unemployed, stay on the path of your last role), BUT you aren’t sure what you actually want to do either. That indecision / lack of clarity then keeps you stuck in the same place and ultimately, not securing the right opportunities. So how can you actually start moving forward? Here are some immediate tips to get you started:
- Do some soul searching first. Why do you want to leave your current job? Is it the work itself, the company, inadequate compensation, your boss? Take some time to understand what is actually pushing you out the door. Grab a pen and paper, and write down what you’re looking forward to leaving, but also what you want to move ahead to. If you’re unemployed, evaluate what you liked about your last role, and also what was frustrating. What work did you find the most interesting? What work could you have done without? What skills did you enjoy using the most? This self discovery is essential to helping you take the right steps to bring you closer to your dream role.
- Determine what your goals are, not just for this next move, but longer term as well. What does career success look like to you? What work would help you to grow and achieve your potential? Restarting at jobs take time, so you should make your moves as strategic as possible. You don’t want to keep seeking new opportunities without an understanding as to how they play into your desired career growth and advancement, only to end up with a spotty, unfocused career trajectory.
- Now that you know what you’re leaving, what you’re going to, and what your goals are, do your research. What companies offer what you’re looking for? What positions offer the work you want to do? How much will you get paid? What industry would work best for you? Leverage sites like Glassdoor in addition to company websites to gain more insight into the companies and positions you are interested in.
- Next, select the specific job opportunities that fit the bill. Beyond cold job search sites, you can find these through places like LinkedIn or other social media platforms as well. Identifying these roles is necessary in order for you to frame your career documents with the right information. And don’t be afraid to get specific in your search. The more specific you are in your search, the more likely you are to find something that more closely aligns with your career interests.
- Start pulling together your brag sheet. This is in addition to your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, etc. Your brag sheet is a place that covers all of your accomplishments and major contributions, with the insight regarding the outcomes, the impact, the teams involved, etc. It’s hard to brag when it’s not clear as to why the results matter or have true significance. This brag sheet will help you take a comprehensive look at where you have been the most successful, what kind of work has fueled you, and what skills and expertise you have developed!
You don’t have to remain stuck or feeling defeated in your career. You can find work that is fulfilling, pays you well, and helps to position you for the long-term success you desire. But it starts with first gaining clarity on what your true career passions and interests are. You can then move forward to define the SPECIFIC goals that you want to attain (which companies you want to work for, what environment will work best for you, what kind of work will you be doing on a daily basis, etc.) Now, your mind is organized and focused so that you can develop a concrete strategy to achieve these goals without feeling overwhelmed!