Whether you’re looking to change job roles, enter a new industry or establish a portfolio career, success is often down to the smaller details that other candidates overlook. It may not seem tempting to do this (job moves are stressful enough), but laying the right foundations and ensuring that all loose ends are tied up will undoubtedly have a positive impact on your career in the short and long term.
Whether you’re a mid or entry level candidate, or have years of experience, we’ve put together our top five tips to help you guarantee that your next career move is seamless, successful and stress-free.
Harmonise your social media profiles
Before anything else, make sure that your social media profiles stand up. When online, anything you deem to be personal is technically public, so check your privacy settings and make sure that none of your digital activity makes you seem unfavourable as a potential new hire. Your social media profiles are your ‘brand’, so your Facebook should communicate the same ‘brand message’ as your Twitter, your LinkedIn, and so on. It’s no good having a professional-looking LinkedIn photo if your Facebook shows you downing shots in Ibiza. Research shows that your online profile picture can affect your job prospects, so make sure any images of you portray you as a friendly, employable person: by this we mean smiling facial expressions, and zero nudity.
Once you’ve tidied up your social media profiles, it’s time to get the ball rolling on LinkedIn. Tweak your bio so that your current capabilities and experience fit with your intended career direction, and in a couple of sentences beneath each job title provide a short description of what you did and the impact you had there.
Then get active. If you can, ask former bosses and colleagues to write a recommendation on your profile, and to endorse you for skills. Follow your new career path’s industry leaders, and interact with others in the comment section. Research industry trends and publish blog posts about your reaction to them. You could even reach out via InMail to people whose CVs you admire, and ask them for professional advice. By steadily building your online professional presence now, you could experience significant benefits later.
Show your face at industry events
Networking events are there for a reason, and the clue is in the name. Find out about events near you via trade press and get out there. Stay for as long as you can and talk to as many people as possible, taking business cards with you should the opportunity arise to exchange details.
You’d be surprised how many job offers come via informal routes as opposed to from official recruitment processes, so impressing a potential employer in person is key in ensuring you to stay top of mind.
Draw on your existing networks
Time and time again, we see clients erratically seeking to make new career connections without properly reflecting on the networks they might already have access to. Pause for a second and think — do you know anyone who might be able to help you with your career move by enlightening you a little further? They may take the form of a previous client you got on well with, or the partner of a good friend.
Begin in earnest, without revealing too many of your cards — simply work on expanding your knowledge at first. Then send out ‘feelers’ to your networks to see if they can offer you any help. Combined with the work you’ve done online and at official networking events, you might be surprised by a number of fruitful and unexpected links arising.
Project positive vibes (and a perfect your paperwork)
Everything’s set and you’re ready to officially launch your career change campaign: now’s the time to stand out and make an impact. Work out exactly what makes you unique and desirable for your chosen career path, and tap into those aforementioned networks to let them know you’re on the hunt for something new.
In the meantime, clean up your CV and/or business proposals so that they’re brief, clear and impactful — employers and potential clients have no time for documents that are woolly and difficult to read. Keep working on your digital ‘brand’ by actively engaging on LinkedIn, and maintain visibility by going for coffees with relevant contacts.
The key here is to both think and act positively about your future prospects, while also making the most of your current job situation. It’s never good to burn bridges, because you never know when you might need them again.
These actions may seem gratuitous, but they’re all about creating marginal gains: before you know it, you’ll be moving on to bigger and better things.
Monika Juneja is the director of Fortitude Dynamics.