Navigating a Career Jump in 2018

By Evan Harris, Communications Committee

Bridging the uncertainty of a new career can be one of the first big challenges as a YP. If you’re like me, updating a resume, editing a LinkedIn profile or writing the dreaded cover letter are not high on the list of favorite activities.

The decision to move careers is almost always an individual case study. For some, obvious reasons like better finances, upward mobility, or a new challenge drive the need to switch careers (a 2018 survey from the Kern Ferry Institute shares some interesting insight on job seekers).

Maybe you’re thinking about a big switch in careers – say, corporate to freelance. Or maybe you realize the job you’ve had and experience you’ve garnered align with another industry. Whatever your reason for looking to see if the grass is greener, use these guidelines to get moving, stay motivated, and navigate a successful career change.

Answer the why. Let’s start with the big question first: Why do you want to move careers? Don’t be afraid if your first answer sounds disingenuous or selfish. If you can’t come up with an answer, use some goal-setting tools. Write s SWOT analysis, create S.M.A.R.T. goals, or go old school and build a pros-and-cons list. Answering the ‘why’ is crucial because when you start reaching out to people or begin interviewing, you will get asked about your ‘why’.

Tap into your network. You’ve been going to Metro EDGE events and networking, right? The age old adage that’ your network is your net worth’ has staying power for a reason. I have good news though: Even if that New Year’s resolution to network more often has fallen by the wayside, use LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Go get coffee with people who work in those prospective industries and careers. Ask questions. See if your experience will be a good fit before applying. Tap into the network that you want to be a part of. And who knows? You may be the key to someone else’s career pivot someday.

Get organized and informed. It’s 2018 folks and there is more than one way to apply for a job. It can be easy to lose track of where you applied and when. Maybe you are going micro and narrowing career and job prospects to a few positions. Or, if you are casting a wide net, consider having a list of new industries and positions to help keep you on track and stay organized.

Research and context. Great, you found a new position in a new career field and you have an interview. What do you know about the people you’re interviewing with? Have they spoken publicly? Did you attend the same college? Did you customize your resume based on their job description? Research and context will help you connect, and at the very least be prepared to make small talk that turns into, “I may have an opportunity for you.”

Navigating your next career move may be a lot of work, but put some of these guidelines ensure you’re prepared, informed, and organized to find a new career. P.S. If you come to a Metro EDGE event, the committees will make sure that you connect with someone you’d be interested in sharing your story with.

Evan Harris currently works for Edelman Public Relations. He previously worked for the California State Assembly and is a graduate of the University of Oregon. Outside of the office, you can find him and his wife chasing their three kids, hiking or planning their next trip to Lake Tahoe.