This is a Sign That You Should Switch Jobs
Instead of shying away from what makes you different, emphasize it as an advantage
So you want to leave your job. You’re not alone! It can be a stressful prospect, but changing careers is way more commonplace than one might think. Almost half of workers have already made a dramatic career change in their lives, according to Indeed. During COVID-19, young workers have either had more time to sit at home and think about what they really want due to the remote-work arrangement, or they have been frustrated by unrealistic expectations and a lack of mentorship at their current firms. As a result, 70% of people under the age of 30 are currently open to new job opportunities. The job market is undoubtedly competitive right now, but as more and more people choose unconventional career paths during the pandemic, it is also a great time to re-evaluate your priorities and start working towards what you really want. There are a few things you can do to get into the right mindset to gear up for a career pivot.
Go full speed ahead into what you want. While everyone else is daydreaming at their desk and hesitating, get clear on your vision for the next role. Don’t hold back when you are brainstorming. Think about each and every attribute you want out of your next role and don’t dissuade yourself from wanting certain things — for example, it’s completely fine to want a job that has better hours so you can spend more time on personal matters. It’s completely fine to want a job that pays you an amazing salary. Accept and embrace your desires unapologetically. While you may not check every single box on your first try, it’s better to work towards an uncompromising career vision that makes you feel excited, even thrilled, to think about. This will energize you throughout the job search and remind you why you are working so hard.
When trying to make a career pivot, it’s natural to feel unqualified for the next role. You haven’t been on the prescribed path to get to that point, so of course you are not going to check every single box on the job description for your dream role. Instead of shying away from what makes you different, emphasize it as an advantage. Remember that recruiters probably read hundreds of identical resumes and cover letters. It probably gets super boring when every single person has the same credentials and background, so give them something by which to remember you. As long as you can draw some parallels between skills you used in your previous role and skills you will need for the new role, it does not have to be an exact match. Sometimes being unique is more valuable than being perfect on paper.
Don’t take networking so seriously. Do everything you can to have organic, genuine conversations with people about their work. That means showing up in a professional way on social media, cold-emailing people you admire, and meeting people by attending online webinars and events. Not every single conversation has to result in a tangible “ask.” It’s better to build genuine relationships out of interest and ask people questions you actually want to know the answers to. That said, it’s important to maintain respect for other people’s time, so you should set a clear time limit for first-time conversations. Tell people upfront in your message that you would love to chat with them for 15 minutes, make sure to keep your eye on the clock during your call, and always send them a thank-you note after your conversation.
For more thoughts on work and careers, follow me here on Medium and on TikTok and Instagram @neets_a_job. I also offer one-on-one career consulting at https://anitaramaswamy.com/career.