Job searching is stressful, especially if you’re navigating a change in the middle of your career. Don’t get discouraged. There’s a lot you can do to help position yourself for success. Here are just a few tips on how to approach your mid-career job search.
1.) Leverage Your Network: Whether searching for positions in a completely new industry or applying for a promotion, the people in your network are one of your strongest assets. According to a study conducted by LinkedIn across various job seeking demographics, 85% of open positions are filled via networking. Remember, your network isn’t just people you’ve worked with but also friends, family, and acquaintances. In fact, your network is a group of people that should continue to expand and grow as you progress in your career. Conducting informational interviews with industry experts, attending networking events and workshops, and volunteering are great ways to meet new people and bolster your professional network. You can find a list of upcoming networking events at DU here.
2.) Beef Up Your Resume & Online Presence: Certainly it’s important to keep your resume up-to-date, but especially for mid-career job hunters it’s crucial to show that your skill-set isn’t obsolete. Be sure to highlight any new technology or software you’ve mastered or any languages you speak. In addition to this, if you’re not already on LinkedIn…. get on LinkedIn. According to the 2015 Social Recruiter Survey by Jobvite 92% of recruiters and hiring managers use social media to find talent, specifically 87% on LinkedIn. It’s not only a good way for you to cement your professional brand, but a great way for employers to find you. So be sure to add detail and to include a professional photo! Here are additional tips on how to effectively build your LinkedIn profile.
3.) Target Companies and Jobs that are a Strong Match: It sounds like common sense, right? Well, defining what is and what is not a strong match can be difficult. This is especially true if your job search is of a high level of urgency, but blasting your resume out into cyberspace with little or no strategy is likely a waste of time and resources. Take some time to self-reflect. What are things you’ve enjoyed about previous jobs and what are things you can do without? What industries or types of companies interest and excite you? Invest some time up-front to put together a list of 10-20 companies to target. Company websites, news articles, company reviews and informational interviews of current employees are great ways to learn more about an organization and its culture before submitting a formal application.
4.) Be Confident. Don’t Apply for Just Entry-Level Positions: As a mid-career job seeker you have professional and life experience that other candidates do not. Even if you’re looking to jump into a different industry, there are certainly creative ways to correlate your background to a new job. An example might be someone interested in transitioning from a Restaurant Server to a position in Sales. This person may have a lot to learn about the business world, but what he/she already has is: an ability to be customer focused, a mastery of product information (meals served at the restaurant), and experience in a fast-paced environment.
5.) Align with a Staffing Agency or Headhunter: Hey, it doesn’t hurt to have an extra set of eyes out there for you. Sometimes that’s all an agency recruiter or headhunter will be able to offer, but there’s no harm in partnering with someone who is well-connected and motivated to fill open positions. Many staffing agencies and headhunters have certain industrial or functional specializations. Ask professionals in the field who they know or have worked with, or simply conduct an internet search to find which agency or headhunter best matches you.