The new decade is officially here, and we want to help you make 2020 the year your career takes off. On top of your already awesome new year resolutions, the following 20 tips will get you in fighting shape for the job hunt. And if you find you still need to get your tech skills up to par for the new workforce... Well we’ve got you covered there, too.
20 must-read tips for launching a new career
1) Maintain your focus.
If you’re about to start a new career, it’s time to get laser-focused. What type of work do you want to do? What types of projects do you want to work on? Get clear on what your dream career looks like and deprioritize anything that’s not on your goal list.
2. Do your research.
Thanks to Google (and Bing and Yahoo) job searching resources are at our fingertips! Interested in working at a specific company? Check out Glassdoor to see what employees are saying about it. Get informed–it might even lead you to a new company (or title) you haven’t heard of before.
3. Remove distractions.
Learning something new or doing research to change careers can be daunting, so always aim to work in environments that allow you to be the most productive. Make sure your home office or coffee shop has what you need to be successful.
4. Learn the fundamentals of the industry.
If you’re making the leap into a completely new field, do your best to learn the basics. Find out what the typical job titles and roles consist of and learn about the types of career path options you could take. Start with the entry level and work your way up to see what it would take to become a manager or director in your respective field.
5. Tap into your network.
Ready to become a software engineer and know a friend (or a friend of a friend) who is one? Reach out to them! Buy them coffee, find out about their process, dig into what they wish they knew when they got started. Even if you’ve had three jobs before making the switch, there’s always room to learn more. Worst case, you’ll get some insider info. Best case––they might be the contact that helps you nab your next role.
6. Master your endurance.
Endurance training is not only for the gym. Are you attempting to change careers while taking a part-time course, and also working full-time? You’ll definitely need stamina to keep your energy high. Pace yourself and don’t try to do everything at once. If you need a break from the job hunt one week, take it!
7. Protect your time.
Ever felt like your plans for the day never get done? Set boundaries. If you don’t protect your time, no one else will. A great way to do that is to set a firm schedule that matches your current needs. If you’re employed full-time, make a schedule where you apply to jobs before work or on your lunchtime. If you are currently unemployed, set up your job hunt like a regular day of work and take regular breaks. Create a structure that gives you the best shot at success.
8. You will have to make sacrifices.
On top of having to protect your time, if you're serious about this, you need to put the job hunt first, and prioritize. Use a planner, cancel midweek hangouts, and put your future first. It won’t be easy, just know that the sacrifices will be worth it. Don’t stop just because it gets difficult. You’ve got this.
9. Watch what you eat and how you move.
Pay as much attention to your mental and physical health as you do your career search. We’re talking three square meals a day, and plenty of exercise built into your routine. Not only will it help with your energy levels, the structure will keep you on track – searching Indeed on the couch with a bag of Doritos is so 2019.
10. Reach out for help.
If you decide to switch careers from barista to data analyst, but don’t know anyone in the field, reach out to an external network. Google industry organizations in your area and reach out for more information. You can also attend local events, hosted by your city, centered around your future career to meet colleagues willing to help you make connections. With resources like Linkedin, you’ll be surprised at how many other professionals that you don’t know yet are willing to chat about their experience and give you some tips.
11. Always ask questions.
Don’t know how to get from point A to point B? Ask! Need to know how to edit your cover letter for your dream job? Ask! There are lots of people who want to see you win. Reach out to HR at the company if you’re curious about the specific trajectory of a role. Get your colleague who’s in the role you want to give you feedback about your application. You can also check out Glassdoor, Reddit, or Quora and someone will be able to guide you to an answer.
12. Read, Read, Read!
Self help books are gold. It doesn't matter if a book is talking about something outside your industry. Reading about what you need to do to find career success, and learning from those that have succeeded, is an easy way to inspire your own growth. Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone or Get a Life, Not a Job: Do What You Love and Let Your Talents Work for You are two picks we love!
13. Practice, practice, practice.
After you’ve started to get a grasp of how you’ll stand out in an interview, hold mock interviews to practice. Hold a mini session with someone close to you to see if they understand your skills and what you can do. You could also do a practice interview with a professional in the field you want to be in so they can give you some pointers.
14. Go shopping.
Make sure your wardrobe has a solid amount of interview staples. Do you need a new interview shirt? What about a nicer pair of pants? It’s always better to be overdressed, but do some searching to get a feel for company culture. You don’t want to wear a three-piece suit to an interview with a two-year old startup (with five employees).
15. Know your limits.
This new decade will bring a surge of possibilities and career options. You can’t learn and do it all. It's ok if you don't have the skills just yet. There are plenty of options for upskilling what you already know, or learning new skills before you jump into the market unprepared. May we suggest trying... us?
16. Share your experience with others.
To keep your career change momentum up, share with your friends and family what you’re up to! Let people know you’re working on changing into a new professional realm. The more people who are aware, the more people are there to help you make the switch and to hold you accountable. It’s a sure-fire way to keep you on track and more incentive to work harder and get to your goals sooner.
17. Get your resume edited, ASAP.
Consider paying a professional or getting someone in your future field to make some recommendations on your resume. Chances are there are ways they can help you sell yourself better. You only have a few seconds to impress a recruiter so you want to make sure your resume stands out.
18. Update your digital presence.
Do you have a Linkedin or Twitter? Especially if you’re interested in tech, you’ll want both to keep up with tech news and professionals in the space. Make sure you have a nice headshot and don’t be afraid to share to the world what you’re working on.
19. Stay confident.
A little nervous about jumping into a new profession? Don’t sweat, the greatest experiences come from trying new things and believing in yourself.
20. Don’t get discouraged.
Finding your new dream career is not easy. You may not land the job after just one interview. There will be rejection along the way, but you'll get there.. You may need to apply to a lot more jobs than you first plan on, and you’ll have to use grit to get to where you want to be, but you can do it.
It’s 2020 – a new decade that’s waiting on you to make the leap. Why not make this your year and kick off a new career.
Learn more about how you can change your career and join the world’s next workforce.
Art by Rachel Knobloch.