Reinvention is a process with a beginning, middle, and an end—if you nail the early and middle parts, the end comes quickly! What this means is that if you focus on doing the early and middle parts well (getting clear on your goals, mapping out your strategy, and taking effective action in your search), the result (a new job) will take care of itself.
Here are some tips for conducting an effective search:
- Conduct a multi-platform campaign: This means conducting your search in all available channels, i.e. not just looking at online job boards or solely talking to contacts.
- Do a targeted search: Don’t just send out hundreds of emails, letters, or make random phone calls—create a select list of interesting companies and pursue them.
- Identify what the industry needs: You must understand the needs of your industry so that you know how you can help them achieve their goals. The best way to learn this is by networking with people in the industry and researching the industry’s current trends, opportunities, and challenges.
- Important: The most basic need a company has is to create and serve the customers who keep them in business. Your goal is to figure out how you can help them with this mission!
- Identify what you have to offer: What makes you unique—what is your mix of accomplishments, skills, experience, and attitude?
- Think about this in light of the three types of job skills:
- Adaptive: Personality traits, like detail-oriented or enthusiastic
- Transferable: Skills used in a wide variety of jobs, like managing people or budgets, writing, negotiating, public speaking
- Job-specific: Skills needed to perform a particular job, like cooking for a chef, flying a plane for a pilot, or building for a carpenter.
- Fill the gaps: If there’s a gap between what your target industry needs and what you have to offer, come up with a strategy for filling it. Don’t expect people to take a chance on you without being willing to prove that they should. Analyze what it would take to get the skills you need and assess if there are any shortcuts you can take (i.e., more education or training, volunteering, pro-bono projects)
- Have a system: Forgetting details in your reinvention search can cause you to miss opportunities, so create a tracking and organizing system. Make sure whatever system you set up helps you with all aspects of your search, including keeping a history of conversations, organizing your contacts, managing your research, and automating reminders to follow up. Use whatever systems feel natural, such as paper or digital or a combination of both.
- Get a personal business card and email address: If you’re employed and looking, do not give out your employer’s card or email address—this is bad form! If you’re between gigs, get a personal card and make sure your email is professional (not ‘WildPartier@me.com’).
- Create a ‘Reinvention Team’: The path to your new career can sometimes be bumpy, and you’ll need support and inspiration throughout the process. Recruit friends, get a coach, join an online group like ours. It’s important to tap into a circle that will help you as you pursue your dream career.
- Pick a ‘media mentor’: When you’re pushing towards your dream, it can help to know that others have successfully overcome hurdles and reinvented their careers. Look to the media to find someone whose career reinvention inspires you and consider them your ‘mentor.’ Read any biographies, articles, and stories you can about their path, and study their path for any strategies you can use in your own plan.