Did you know that most people will change careers 5-7 times during the course of their working years?*  When you’re ready to make a career move – a change in what you do or the focus of your work – it’s important to have a plan. Take a look at these tips for planning your next career move.

1. Have realistic expectations.

You want that dream job. But how do you get there? Think of it this way: You have 6-10 years of experience in pharmaceuticals. Probably changing from that industry to a food and beverage company won’t happen overnight. Think strategically. You may have to take gradual steps to get to where you want to be. So consider making a move to a company whose work is aligned with the type of industry and role you want to pursue for a long-term career change. Another idea is you could take on a role that focuses on the audience you ultimately want to reach. If you are interested in moving from a B2B job to taking on a B2C role, you could pursue opportunities that are more consumer-facing to develop experience and expertise in that area. Once you’ve built some consumer-marketing experience, you can branch out to pursue related roles with your dream company.

2. Get a foot in the door.

You’ve heard the old standby: Try volunteering, freelancing or contracting with a company or brand in order to get your foot in the door. But you can take it a practical step further by finding opportunities – temporary or otherwise – with local companies and working in the area that you want to pursue permanently. If you want to be a social media manager, take on management of social media accounts for a small business or non-profit. This will give you the chance to demonstrate your abilities, build a portfolio of work and gain relevant experience in the discipline that you can reference in future job pursuits.

3. Identify your personal brand.

Consider creating a personal website and develop brief case studies about your past experiences and successes. Especially if you’re reemerging into the workforce or making a strategic pivot to a new industry or type of role, brief snapshots into your past work will underscore your abilities and what you can bring to your next big opportunity. Hiring managers, recruiters and potential employers all tend to engage positively when you know your own brand – who you are, what you’ve done well in the past and what you could do for them. Show them who you are and that you’re ready to shine and bring your best to their organization.

4. Customize your resume.

Yes, it’s time consuming, but it’s important to tailor your resume to what a job description is asking for. It’s better to be specific than broad when it comes to zeroing in on the job you really want. Also, focus on achievements related to the bottom line. What decisions or actions did you take that impacted revenue, increased followers or engagement, gained new clients or helped build up the business? Don’t be surprised if these types of stats become answers to questions you’re asked during interviews.

5. Network with your personal network.

The effectiveness of networking can’t be understated. Find your people. Start with the colleagues you used to work with. Reach out those who know you, your work and your professional style. They may potentially facilitate introductions to connections who are hiring (or who know someone who is). These relationships can become inroads that yield real job possibilities and positive results.

6. Know your tech tools.

Take a look at the job descriptions of roles you'd like to have to discover what types of tech experience they are asking for. Do you know how to use the technology tools the description references? A standing rule of thumb: Every chance you get, learn how to use software that impacts everyday work life for the jobs you want. Marketers, if you haven’t already, you will want to immerse yourselves in learning top CRM and marketing automation platforms like Workfront, Salesforce or Marketo. Creatives, you already know AI is everywhere, and it’s time to get on board and learn everything you can about this emerging technology along with new and evolving tools for day-to-day creative production.

7. Work with a recruiter.

Fighting algorithms can seem like an endless battle to be seen. When you work with a recruiter, you’re developing a relationship rather than trying to outsmart an applicant tracking system. The best recruiters will take time to get to know you as well as they know their client. They have an inside look at what’s important to them, especially as it pertains to the roles they want to fill. Recruiters will guide you from start to finish, constructively reviewing your resume, actively advocating for you, preparing you for interviews and providing honest feedback following conversations you have with hiring managers. It’s a much better way to walk through the process and spares you much of the waiting and wondering stress that can come with job seeking processes.

It’s not impossible to make the move to transition to a new career or type of role. It does take planning, patience and a proactive stance on your part. It’s not impossible, but it does require intentionality. The journey will demonstrate your professional commitment to doing what it takes to polish your skills and deliver your best work.

Ready to make your next move? Discover our jobs and our professional recruiters who can guide you through your career journey.

* Source: https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/starting-new-job/how-often-do-people-change-careers