On the Job: How to Reinvent Yourself and Land That Dream Gig

A career-advice expert provides 7 ways to recreate your professional persona

With the New Year comes talks of reinvention–the usual change in diet, promises to hit the gym and better money management–but this year, with an already improving job market, more people are embarking upon new career paths. Eighty-four percent of employees plan to quit their jobs in search of new employment opportunities in 2011, according to a Manpower survey. That’s up 60% from 2009.

BlackEnterprise.com spoke to Charles Purdy, Senior Editor of Monster.com and HotJobs, about how networking can lead you to your next job, learning through informational interviews and the importance of getting hands on experience. Follow these seven steps:

Do your research

Whether you’ve been contemplating your career change for a few months or woke up one morning and quit your job, you need to make sure you know what you are getting into. When switching careers, make sure you know what your prospective job will entail, what the long-term outlook is for that profession and opportunities available. “Make sure you’ve done the research and your making a step that truly will make you happier number one and number two provide job security,” says Purdy.

Schedule informational interviews

Some of that insider information will come from these pre-arranged meetings. The purpose of an informational interview is to learn more about a specific occupation. You will be able to gather what goes on at the chosen professional’s job daily, what is required to fulfill that job, how he or she got into the field and ways you might be able to step onto this career path.  The career expert suggests if the meet-up can’t take place face-to-face, conducting it over the phone or at a coffee shop—for a more relaxed setting. Your treat!

Make sure your resume reflects your new career path

Always remember when preparing your resume that you are tailoring it for a specific job. Hence, only applicable information is necessary. Look at your skills and what you’ve done in the past and place the information where you see fit.  Highlight those transferable skills, skills acquired through a job or particular field that can be applied to another employment position.

Network, network, NETWORK

Nowadays, individuals can connect in person or behind a computer screen via the web. “I think networking is more and more important in the modern job search,” says Purdy. According to a HotJobs poll, 57% of people said that networking has played a part in finding their current job or their most recent job.

Volunteer or intern to gain needed experience

“Volunteering is a great thing to do for a career switcher if you want to gain experience in a new field,” remarks Purdy. You’re never too old to volunteer or intern. In fact, with the recession, increased layoffs and high-unemployment rates, came a rise in unpaid adult internships. Some companies offer internship opportunities for their employees and if they do not, don’t hesitate to create your own opportunities either at your current business or another.

Take Classes

The career-advice guru views taking a few classes here and there or enrolling in a higher-degree program as a great opportunity not only to learn new things and enhance your skill set, but to meet people.  As a student you can leverage connections made in and out of the classroom. Professors are industry professionals so to make connections with them is beneficial.

Prepare yourself for a pay cut or lesser position

You may have ascended the ladder in your last position and worked your way to the coveted corner office; but with a job change will come sacrifice. “You have to be aware that if you really are switching careers in a broad way, you might have to take a step back as far as your hierarchical level at a company or even your pay rate,” reminds the career editor.

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