It’s hard. You’re throwing a wrench in something you dedicate 40+ hours a week to. Instead of going about your week knowing when, what, and how you do things to make money, you’re reverting to being clueless. You starting asking questions, growing your skills, and getting out of your comfort zone instead of knowing your industry. And, in most cases, it’s to switch your career into something you think could benefit you more. But, that “think” aspect may catch you from pursuing a career opportunity that fits your mold.
Flashback to my college years. I reached my third year studying accounting/finance. During the holiday break of my junior year, I started Kayla’s Diary ~ a “fun” project that shaped my career post-college. It grew to be my dream. I wanted to create content whether that was on my platforms or for someone else. And, that’s exactly what I did ~ I earned the title of a Content Marketing Specialist.
Like any job post-college, you face inevitable realities. Those realities could be paying bills you’ve never had to, contributing more taxes than you thought, dealing with new routines, and figuring out your way in the workplace. For me, that was a little bit of everything. Mainly, figuring out my place in the workplace.
At first it’s fun and games. You’ve landed a job! And, you’re being paid to focus on ONE thing ~ your full-time job. No more school + work, school + internship, or school + work + internship. You have one thing to focus on, and that’s being successful in your role.
But, what does success mean? What does it look like for you? And, how the heck do you get there if you don’t even understand the job descriptions you read on LinkedIn?
In most cases, all of this is learned through trial and error. This is something I feel isn’t talked about near as much as it should. You have to learn what you do and don’t like by trying it, and everything, if you can. That’s what I did post-college (even though I didn’t know it at the time).
Like I said before, I started my career in content marketing. Basically making a living off blogging for others. It was my dream job. But, everything doesn’t always work out like you always think it will.
I thought growing my blog, youtube, and social media platforms as a hobby would establish a career that didn’t feel like a job. After a while, that seemed to be the opposite. After working countless hours brainstorming for other accounts, I found it hard to be creative for my own. My hobby didn’t feel like a hobby anymore, and my work felt as if it never shut off.
Keep in mind, this was due to my own personal hobbies. I could have quit my blog or carrying out my own personal projects, but I didn’t want to. I’m proud of what I’ve created and what I consistently work towards. Just like sports to some people, this is my outlet. I don’t play sports, I don’t run out of pleasure, and I’m not an extrovert that spends most of my time connecting with others. I express myself through content creation, and I love it.
After the hard truth surfaced ~ not being able to do both ~ I went searching for answers. Throughout my research, I knew it was about time to make a switch. And, it may be for you too. Ask yourself:
- Are you feeling burnt out?
- Do you feel as if you aren’t growing in your career/you don’t want to?
- Is it hard to get yourself to work consistently?
- Do the “Sunday Scaries” seem to hit you a little harder than others?
- Are you always thinking about work (in and out of working hours)?
If you’re saying “yes” more than “no,” it may be time to switch your career path. But, do it strategically. Here’s how:
1. Weigh your strengths + weaknesses
Write out what you’re good at + what you like to do in addition to what you may not be the best at + what you don’t like. For instance, I was in content marketing at an agency. My strengths were in client management but not writing content (a huge part of the job). Plus, I love an environment that rewards successful behavior consistently ~ sales.
Once I wrote out my strengths and weaknesses, sales seemed to fit. In most cases, you’re rewarded with commissions for the time and focus you spend on a given account. I would also be able to highlight my client management skills throughout the sales process.
2. Do your research
Now, you research, research more, and research even more. Read articles about the industry of interest job titles and what they normally do every day. If you have friends or people in your network with success in that industry, you’ve hit the jackpot. Ring them up and ask if you can buy them a coffee in exchange for a good career conversation.
If you don’t know anyone in that industry, reach out to experts on LinkedIn while being respectful of their time. Once the conversations have wrapped up and you’re still interested, move on to the next step!
3. Test the waters (a.k.a. network)
If you have contacts that are successful in this market, good for you! Reach out to them to see if you could shadow their position, or ask them a series of questions you want to know. If you don’t have anyone already in your network, look on LinkedIn for those in your dream position. Ask to meet up and offer them something in return ~ a dinner on you or help build their network.
This way, you’re able to get a well-rounded look into what you’re headed into. For instance, what are the pros and cons of the job? How do people reach success in this role? How are you able to stand out from other candidates? And, tips to make your resume appealing to the recruiter.
4. Refine your resume
Once you’ve done your research, use everything you’ve learned to build your case (your resume). Transfer your current skills and translate them into your industry of interests terminology. For instance, many industries have a set of keywords they target on resumes. Simply Google “keywords of X position” is a great starting point. Sales may appreciate KPIs, outreach emails/calls, % conversions, etc.
As you apply to different jobs, refine your resume and gather feedback if possible. Figure out which resumes did the best and why to cater to the rest of your applications. This could take weeks, months, and sometimes years. So, start now!
5. Start applying
I mostly look on LinkedIn for open positions. Some other great platforms are Built In [YOUR CITY] and a plain Google search. My trick is to apply through the actual website. For instance, you see a job you want to apply for on LinkedIn. Instead of applying through your LinkedIn portal, you would head over to their website, find their job board, and apply through there.
Most recruiters are able to track which candidates applied through which platforms. Going through their website seems more personal to me. Applying through LinkedIn makes me feel as if I’m applying to as many companies as possible without considering the company and their mission as a whole. (Whether you actually are or aren’t.)
6. Do more research + act the part
Once you get to the interviews, you may feel like a fraud ~ I did. Who was I getting a sales interview after working in marketing the past two years? Yet, I acted the part and did my research. I Googled a list of generic interview questions and a list of job specific questions. I added each question to a Google doc, wrote and refined my answers, and practiced them every chance I got. Once it came to the interview, I was able to apply my current experience to the skills they were looking for without a sweat.
In addition to that, I researched their company (company Youtube channels are the best) and industry tips. I watched numerous videos on “how to create a cold calling script/how to make a cold call” topics. Do the same for your industry to show your interest and dedication to success.
If you’ve made it through this full post ready to get started on your job search ~ go get it! I’m so proud of you. If you’re still figuring out what you want to do, there’s no harm in doing more research and talking to experts. Everything happens for a reason, and if you feel uneasy, dig into why that may be! Nonetheless, good luck on all your new endeavors. 🙂