20 ways to prep for a career change in 2020!

Here are my 20 suggestions if you’re considering a job change in 2020. 

1. Be intentional with your networking.

You don’t have to fill your calendar with events to build new relationships. Consider researching on LinkedIn who you want to get to know because of their position, career path, current project or even something you have in common like college or major. Reach out with that interest and ask for 20 minutes of their time. 

2. Learn something new. 

Take a painting class, try hot yoga, or volunteer to read to elementary kids. A change in environment can spark creativity or help you meet others who could further your career path. 

3. Commit to ensuring you do something you enjoy each day.

Self care isn’t selfish. Figure out what fills your bucket because a job search, an unhappy work situation, and the thought of what’s next is stressful. I know this is easier said than done, but that’s why it’s said yet again! 

4. Know your “why.”

As Simon Sinek suggests, if you’re clear on your purpose, the thing that drives you, you will know which jobs you want to apply for or which interviews to take. You can trust your gut when faced with decisions about your career with confidence when you’re clear on your mission. 

5. Start before you’re ready.

Know you want to change career paths? Know you’ve hit your limit in your current job? Take action – even baby steps. Write that email to reconnect with a classmate. Update your resume. Set up a meeting with your boss. 

6. Identify your zone of genius. 

What activities are you doing when time passes quickly? When do you feel like you’re in “flow”? The zone of genius goes beyond what you’re good at and can do with excellence. The genius zone is where you will discover what you can uniquely contribute to the world. Steve Jobs gave us the iPhone because he operated in his zone of genius. 

7. Notice how often you operate in your zone of genius.

Gallup found that those who operate in their strengths everyday are 6xs more likely to be engaged with their work. If you don’t know your zone of genius, check out this podcast. 

8. Target everything.

In 2020, you absolutely have to customize your job application materials. Your resume and cover letter are scrutinized by Applicant Tracking Systems before human eyes even review them. And then that recruiter is spending about 6 seconds deciding about you! 

9. Ditch the templates.

Microsoft Office and Google may think they are helping you but please don’t fall victim to filling in your info in a template and think you’re doing fine. A resume is a marketing material and needs to stand out for the right reasons and fit in so as not to be eliminated too quickly. That balance is only found by taking stock of your accomplishments and articulating them effectively. More on that here. 

10. Expand your options.

Feeling trapped in your current job and hopeless about the prospects of that job in a new company? Realize that the world of work is expanding all the time. Jobs are being created everyday. Just think, a data scientist wasn’t what it is today just a few years ago. More remote work is becoming possible with technology and can allow you to live wherever you want.

11. Increase your comfort with technology.

Use YouTube to find tutorials on how to run a webinar or Zoom meeting. Ask a friend what tools she uses to share documents or what productivity hacks she suggests. Read an article on what social media the people in your industry are using. Consider where you’d work remotely if given the opportunity. Even if you’re not interested in being a remote worker, the tools used to replicate traditional office work are an asset in any workplace. If you’re the one contributing those ideas – you’re more valuable in that work environment. 

12. Create flexible options in your current work.

Consider pitching to your boss that you work a day a week from home or come in later in order to go to the gym first thing in the morning. Create a meeting to discuss the topic and come prepared with ideas on a trial basis. Keep the focus on an increase in productivity, not your satisfaction.  If you know that’s a no-go for your boss, be ready to negotiate this in your next job. 

13. Narrow your options.

Analysis paralysis can be such a barrier to action (see #5). If you feel like you can do anything and not sure where to start put some limits on your search. Want to move? Choose 3-5 cities to target your research. Want to try something new? Research alumni from your major on LinkedIn to see what they are up to and get ideas. 

14. Use the internet effectively.

Please put time limits to your online searching. Aim for the majority of your job search time to be focused on interactions with real people. When you are applying online run your resume and the job posting through JobScan to be sure you’re submitting a document that will get looked at.

15. Apply for less jobs.

This is because the ones you do apply for come through contacts,  not just clicking Easy Apply on LinkedIn. It’s tempting and I’m sure you’ll do it, but shoot for a 60:30:10 ratio for your job search time. According to Howard Figler, 60% of your time should be in relationships and conversations. 30% should be using the internet for research and whatnot. 10% is your application. 

16. Every interview is a new opportunity.

If you tried finding a job in 2019 and have some negative experiences, remember, that next interviewer doesn’t know that. Give yourself a little pep talk and avoid the bitter resentment that can creep in when you’re desperate for a new position where you can thrive. Give a secure and confident handshake at the beginning and end of the interview. Thank the interviewer by name. Ask for the next steps. Remember, a no isn’t a no until the door is closed. 

17. Up your communications game.

Emotional intelligence is a hot topic among HR folks in 2020. Pay attention to your emotions and what triggers your bad mood or negative self-talk. Way easier said than done, but worth the investment of your time to figure these things out. Even that increase in awareness of yourself will positively impact your interactions with others – a new team or a prospective employer. 

18. Reinvent yourself anytime.

2020 seems like a good time to make a change. Why not? The average American will have 5-7 careers in her lifetime. If you’re not using your skills in a way that’s fulfilling anymore – look for ways to pivot.  

19. Know who’s in your corner.

Do you have a personal board of directors? Tell the people in your life they are important to your career success. Ask for advice from a variety of people. My personal board includes peers, mentors, connectors, cheerleaders and critics. Once your board is set, make sure they know your goals and ask them to brainstorm with you. Follow up and thank them for what happens next. 

20. Take in the good!

What we listen to, watch and talk about drives our thoughts. Hang out with positive people and be one who finds and celebrates the good things that happen even in the midst of job stress. Listen to podcasts that challenge, expand and encourage your perspective on a job change. Here are some of my favorites. 

 Which of these ideas resonate with you most? 

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