By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC

[email protected]

Planning a career change soon?

Making the decision is hard enough, but this can be tricky business unless you are well prepared.

Many people leap before looking because they are excited about a change. Unfortunately, they are often met with disappointment because they did not take the right steps to prepare.

That will not be you! Here are five steps you can take to prepare for career change success:

  1. Review Your Goals & Determine if You are Still On Track

Though a skilled coach can help you home in on your goals, your goals ultimately belong to you. Nobody understands your aims as comprehensively as you do.

If you are thinking about a career change, it is time to review your targets. Consider whether you are on track to reaching them. Also think about whether these goals still motivate you and apply to your situation.

There is no shame in rethinking your career objectives. What you once thought was important may no longer be important to you. So, if you want to course correct and get moving in the right direction, you will want to give careful consideration to your goals.

  1. Plan Well & Determine How To Set Yourself Apart

Trying to make a career change without considering your next steps will hinder your progress.

You need to be thinking strategically. Though you can post your resume and apply online, recognize that this is what everyone else is doing because it is easy. How will you stand out from the crowd? You need both an online and offline strategy.

You will want to start building connections and researching the companies you are planning to apply to. (More on this in a further along).

  1. Build Connections Purposefully

Hopefully, this is something you have been doing all along, whether in-person or on social media.

Per The Muse, you’ll be 15 times more likely to get hired if you are a referred applicant. It is not just what you know – it is who you know that could be the deciding factor.

The decisionmakers may not be a second or even third-degree connection of yours. So, determine how you can get in touch with the people you need to know. This is a good step to take well in advance of making a career change.

  1. Update Your Resume

Customize your resume and cover letter for every position you are planning to apply to.

These days, resumes are not always being looked at by people. It is common for machines (specifically, Applicant Tracking Software) to be scanning them for specific keywords. So, if your resume does not contain the right content, it might be ignored completely, even if you possess the right skills and experience for the job.

Research the company and position, as well as what they are looking for in a candidate, and customize your resume to reflect your findings.

  1. Research The Companies You Are Planning to Apply to

If you want to be prepared for interviews, you should find out everything you can about the companies you are planning to apply to.

It will be obvious to decision makers whether you have done your homework or not. Even if you do not understand all the details, if you demonstrate interest in the business, there is a better chance you will make a good impression.

The more genuine the interest, the better. In other words, if you care about the job you are applying for, it should come across in your actions and demeanor.

Final Thoughts

Your career has led you to this point. Whatever disappointments you may have experienced, it is time to leave your baggage in the past. It is time to get excited about your future.

More than anything, what many companies are looking for is passion. If you are passionate about the position you are applying to, it will show in your voice and your body language.

Believe in yourself. There is a company out there that needs a person like you.

Let’s get to work!

If you have questions about your executive career search, please contact me at 203-323-9977 or [email protected].