Changing direction in your career at any stage in life can feel incredibly daunting, but it can also be a great opportunity to readdress your life goals.
Whether you’ve been made redundant from your job, your financial situation has changed, or the 2020 lockdowns have given you pause for thought and inspired you to reassess, here are some top tips for restarting your career as a fresh year approaches…
1. Network, refine your CV and reboot
If you’ve been made redundant, Alex Hattingh, chief people officer for tech start-up Employment Hero, suggests leaning on your professional network via LinkedIn for advice, support and inside knowledge on who’s hiring. While doing this, you can keep browsing through job websites such Indeed.com and spend time updating and refining your CV.
“Set yourself a goal to apply for a certain number of jobs per week — the more applications you put forward, the better your chances are of success,” she says. “Be sure to read job descriptions carefully and tailor your cover letter to each application. Create search alerts so you are automatically notified when relevant positions are posted online.”
2. Keep bringing fresh skills to your CV
Online learning, or distance learning, is an alternative route to studying in a bricks-and-mortar school or university, and means you can add some extra strings to your bow in your free time.
Charlotte Davies, a careers expert at LinkedIn, says: “One of the most valuable things you can do for your career – whether you are looking to change jobs or not – is to continually improve your skills. An online learning course can help bridge the gap when you are transferring from one role to another, and help you feel more confident. You can access nearly 1,000 hours of learning courses on a range of topics on LinkedIn.”
3. Consider a tech apprenticeship
Ben Hansford, managing director of apprenticeships at Firebrand Training, strongly urges those thinking about a career switch to consider a tech apprenticeship.
“They’re open to all ages, are not determined on previous experience, and can reskill people faster than a university course would at a fraction of the cost,” says Hansford.
“Apprentices are taught the most up-to-date courses and have the benefit of real business experience, being placed within a company to put what has been learned into practice.”
4. Try a video CV
Creating some extra content to accompany your traditional CV is a great way to stand out from the crowd, says Ben Chatfield, recruitment expert and CEO of recruitment platform, Tempo. “Companies are being swamped with applications that are generic and often irrelevant. In order to make your application instantly stand out, try sending a video CV.”
Speaking on camera is a great way for you to showcase your personality and emphasise your top-line skills.
5. Be proactive about meeting people
If you’re wondering how to steer yourself towards your dream job, mentors and senior connections can provide great guidance and advice. While you may not be able to suggest taking people for coffee right now, you can still ask for a virtual one-on-one.
“For introverts, my advice would be to just do it – rip the plaster off and set up Zooms or Google Meet video calls with anyone who is able to give you their time,” says Hattingh.
6. Stay positive
It’s never easy to make a big life change, so be brave and treat this as a chance to broaden your horizons. It might take you longer than you expect to get your dream job, especially in the current employment landscape – which is totally normal and part of the process – so be prepared to consider alternative options in the meantime.