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How to Plan for a New Career

The New Year always brings new hope and the prospects of new start bring enthusiasm to people. You might feel that you are ready to face the world with renewed strength and optimism that life will be better. You might be in between jobs and want to go back to the work force and become productive again. On the other hand, you might have an existing job that is not providing your the financial security and morale satisfaction that you need and you want to look for greener pasture. The New Year is a good timing to turn your life around. In this “how-to” article, you will learn the simple steps on how to plan for a new career path and grab new opportunities.

Step 1:

Attitude is crucial and positive self-awareness is key. Without optimism, you are already half-defeated in your quest. You must first be aware of your expertise and skills that will give you the competitive edge. You must assess your own self-worth but should be as objective as possible. Confidence is good but over-estimating your abilities might make you conceited. You must know and believe what you can offer to a prospective employer or industry of which you want to become part. It does not matter if the the economy is sluggish and there is too much competition, if you are confident and exactly know what you can offer.

It might be true that it is difficult to find a new job when the economy is slow and you might already been looking for a new job for a significant period of time but the New Year should bring you renewed impetus, thereby reinvigorating your search. You should always remember that your attitude is crucial in the way potential employers will evaluate you. If your are optimistic and positive about yourself, it is likely that it will show during the interview.

You can maintain your confidence and your sense of self worth if you continue to do productive things even if you are unemployed or underemployed. For instance, you may volunteer on part-time basis to do community service in a nursing home or in an organization that can appreciate your skills. The simple gratitude and positive feedback can help you maintain your morale and you will also learn in the process, updating your current skills or learning new skills.

It is but normal to feel frustrated if you have been searching for a job for quite some time without any good result. Either you do not like the offers or there are no offers at all. When you are feeling low, it is actually the best time to rethink your strategy and regain your confidence. However, if it something that is more serious form of depression, it would be better to see a qualified psychologist or psychiatrist to help you cope. In most cases, however, it is just a matter of finding someone who will listed or giving yourself some pampering. For instance, you may buy new cloths that you can use in one of your job interviews. You can have a new look for the New Year to make you appear more credible to prospective employers.

Step 2:

Reassess your job-hunting strategies. I you have been searching for new job for the past year but have received a few invitations for interview, you may need to change your approach. You may need to add new strategies in your job-hunting effort. Here are some tips that you can follow:

  • Remember back the unsuccessful applications and interviews you had during the past year. Be analytical about it and try to pinpoint your mistakes or the things that you have forgotten to do. For instance, you might have forgotten to research a more detailed background of the companies to which you applied. You might have ruined an interview by being too generic about your answers.

  • Review your resume or curriculum vitae and see how you may still be able to improve it by emphasizing all the good points that you have or by customizing it to be specifically applicable to the industry that you have in mind. It is possible that your resume is too generic and might not be appealing to prospective employers. It is possible that your are underselling yourself or you might be barking at the wrong tree, so to speak.

  • You may highlight certain skills and academic credentials but you must stick to the truth. You can make your resume stand out without the need for exaggerations or lies. You simply need to provide concrete examples of how you applied your skills in the past and how these can benefit the prospective employer.

  • Let a friend or a loved one read your resume and critique it. You might have missed something that only the fresh perspective of other people will be able to see. Your CV might be confusing or contains irrelevant information. It might have highlighted the wrong information. You should be open-minded to suggestions.

Step 3:

Reevaluate if there is a need to update your knowledge and skills. There might also be a need to gain new credentials that are different from what you currently have. This is especially true for highly specialized and technical fields such as engineering, medicine and computer sciences. It might be helpful to transfer to a new but least competitive field in which you have skills. Even if you are currently employed, there is the continuous need to improve your knowledge and skills. You may enroll in vocational or technical courses or you may enroll in degree courses. Becoming highly specialized in a particular field can give you greater competitive edge.

Step 4:

At the start of the New Year, you should begin job hunting. You can search the classified ads in the newspapers, search online or ask friends. You may also need to ask former employers for recommendations. Start looking as early as possible for suitable positions to which you are likely to qualify. You may search various companies within a particular industry where you belong. You can be very broad on your search to have better chance of success or you can be very specific to target the companies or positions that you think will give you the best opportunities and perks. You may search as many relevant positions that match your skill set and submit applications. Wait for the interview invitations and manage your time accordingly. You may also search beyond your own locality or city. If you are really determined to find a career, you may even search outside your own state or even overseas. It is also crucial that you expand your network of friends and acquaintances. You can go to social functions or events or you may try becoming a member of the local sporting clubs and socio-civic organizations. Be as specific as possible but concise in your cover letters. You must also customized your letters and resumes based on the company or position you are applying for.

Step 5:

You have to be well-prepared for interviews. You should anticipate what should be asked and also know about the common mistakes most applicants commit during an interview. Common mistakes include dressing down or wearing something very casual (as a rule of thumb, you should wear business attire during an interview), lack of knowledge of the place where you want to work, and awkward or poor mannerisms during interviews such as slouching or fidgeting. You may get coaching from an expert if you want to be well prepared in important interviews but this could prove to expensive and impractical. You may simply ask a friend to have a role-playing mock interview just to boost your confidence. You should expect trick questions and common questions such as about your strengths and weaknesses, what you can contribute, why are you the one who should be hired, about your willingness to extra hours of work, travel or be relocated. You should also have a realistic and fair idea about how much salary to expect in a particular industry.

Step 6:

Just be patient and persistent. As the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.” Patience is a virtue and you may need a lot of it. Otherwise, you might easily become frustrated and depressed. Be focused on your goals and be clear about your strategies. It would be helpful if you have a clear timeline of what you need to do. This will guide you in your search while maintaining self-discipline.