You’ve reached an impasse at your current job. Your pay and responsibilities aren’t going anywhere, and you’re ready for a new opportunity to grow your career and income. Except for the burning question: What, exactly, does that look like?
To land a new job, you’ll need to perfect your resume and refine your cover letters. But if you think that’s all that goes into a career move, you’re mistaken. In order to be the most competitive candidate, you need a strategic approach to your job hunt. Keep in mind that job hunting is a lot like defining a market when you own a business; you have to know what you have to offer, and be able to provide it without hesitation. Here’s where to start.
Know Your Career Roadmap
There are many opportunities out there for job seekers at all levels, but not all of them are the right fit for you. To identify the opportunities best-suited to your experience and career goals, lay out a roadmap for your career. Think about where you are now and what skills you have to offer, then consider where you’d like to be in five to 10 years. Don’t just examine the expertise you want to develop; consider the culture you want in a company, and seek out organizations with a good cultural fit. Ask the hard questions, and demand honesty from potential employers. After all, issues like ageism and misogyny are still present in today’s workplace, and you don’t want to end up at a company that allows either.
Curate Your Online Presence
A resume lays out your qualifications, but it doesn’t give employers the full picture of who you are. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to showcase how you’re unique. Rather than trying to cram information into your resume and cover letter, use your online presence to define your personal brand.
It’s guaranteed that employers will look at your LinkedIn profileand Google your name to learn more about you. Make sure your social media and personal website reflect your recent work history and that personal profiles show nothing controversial. If search results return hits you’d rather employers not see, contract with a reputation management agency, which can develop blog posts, press releases, and other online content that showcases your accomplishments while pushing negative content further into the search results.
Revitalize Your Network
Your professional network is an invaluable resource in your job hunt. Your network can alert you to opportunities, put in a good word with employers, and get you past the hiring gatekeepers. Ideally, you’ve nurtured your network all along, but if you’ve let connections lapse, renew them now. It’s awkward reaching out after a long period of silence, but it’s better than not reaching out at all.
Stay Abreast of Industry Trends
When you hold a position for a long time, you learn a lot about that particular niche but fall behind on broader industry trends. You’ll need a strong understanding of the changes and challenges organizations face in order to present yourself as an expert in the field, so if your industry knowledge has fallen out of date, spend time on research before launching a job search. Catching up on industry news is a great excuse to reconnect with old networking leads. You can also dig into research reports, industry publications, and influential blogs and social media profiles to find the latest news.
Learn How to Talk About Your Accomplishments — And Failures
Job interviews are full of hard-hitting questions, so make sure you’re prepared to answer them. Articulating career accomplishments with compelling storytelling is important, but be ready to talk about your failures, too. The ability to admit to your failures and show how you’ve grown — without complaining or deflecting blame — shows employers you have the integrity to serve their organization.
Think Outside the Box
Maybe you need more than just a new job, working for someone else. Entrepreneurship is a smart way to reshape your career. It’s loaded with benefits, like setting your own schedule and choosing with whom you work. It’s also loaded with responsibilities, since the buck stops with you.
If you decide to start your own business, make sure you apply the same level of discernment and attention to detail that has served you well in your career so far. In addition to choosing the right name, you’ll need a well-thought business plan, a detailed market analysis, and the right legal structure. The latter can be daunting, but there are online services that help. For a small fee, they’ll walk you through the required steps to register with your state. Once that is done, you’ll be ready for customer zero!
A big career change is a high-stakes move, especially if you have a family. If you dive in unprepared, you could make a bad impression with the very people you’re hoping to impress. Taking these steps before pitching yourself to prospective employers will set your job search on the right track and pave the way for future success.
If you are looking to connect with a group of passionate, hard-working women leaders ages 50 and older, please get in touch!
It’s never too late or too early to begin planning for a career that fulfills and excites you. If you’re still on the fence about which career field to choose, you may want to think about IT or tech. IT, computer science, and all of the related industries are always on the move, which means you’ll never get bored. Plus, the demand for IT professionals is bound to keep growing.
Need more detailed and concrete reasons? These answers to frequently asked questions could prove valuable.
Why Should I Choose IT?
When you choose a career field, you should look at the prospects for job growth. IT-related fields are predicted to continue surging in the coming years. This means that once you finish your training, you should be able to land a position quickly. You’re also likely to earn a much larger salary than other professions.
If you’re a woman looking for a new career, tech needs you even more. That’s because, despite the proven benefits of having more female employees, there are still sizable gender gaps across multiple tech and IT fields. By choosing an IT career path, you could help close this gap.
Do I need a degree?
If you currently have a bachelor’s, enrolling in an online master’s IT program could give you an edge over others in the same field. You can earn a master’s with an emphasis on information management, data analytics, or cybersecurity. Many of which are included on the list of growing job opportunities previously mentioned. Choosing an online program will also give you the freedom to maintain a job and meet other responsibilities while you earn your degree.
Don’t have a bachelor’s just yet? There are IT positions you can land without a college degree, but you will need experience and training. For instance, you could become a graphic designer, a telecommunications specialist, or a digital marketer. Just bear in mind that while a degree may not be required, having one can boost your prospects and pay.
Where Can I Find IT Jobs?
With the right education, training, and experience, the tech possibilities are endless. There are countless employers who are consistently looking to hire new IT personnel, including many of the most well-known financial institutions. Many of these companies are located in larger cities but they are also hiring more remote workers than ever before.
You can check the career section of these companies to find jobs, but you can also use online job boards to find positions for multiple employers. Both small and large businesses advertise their IT openings on sites like Monster, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed (to name a few).
How Can I Land My First IT Job?
If you’re looking for entry-level positions, starting your job search early is key — especially in the Information Technology and computer science industries. As you work on earning a degree or experience, also begin networking with other professionals in your desired field. You can also ask your instructors for recommendations and connections to help you get your first job.
For more seasoned professionals, know the challenges of getting hired are different rather than nonexistent. You’ll also need to network in order to land an interview and callbacks, but unfortunately, you may also have to deal with some ageism. The trick is to keep the focus on your years of experience and on your willingness to learn new concepts and processes. It can also help to keep your appearance polished, professional, and appropriate for the position.
Whether you’re looking for a boost in excitement or a boost in pay, a career in IT can deliver. IT experts are some of the most sought after professionals in the market. Plus, with the demand for technology growing, your future prospects are bound to grow. You just need the right amount of education and experience to make your dreams of a career in tech come true!
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I am reflecting on my leadership experience writing this blog for @femaleleadersat50andbeyond a network of woman with wonderful experiences, skills and knowledge that I appreciate being part of.
I think of myself as an accidental leader in fact most meaningful events in life are accidental or happenstance. I came into nursing over 30 years ago based on a bet, I ended up working in Romania instead of Albania because of a civil war and met my husband. I took a job in Oxford because a church nearby had a tenuous link to somewhere, I had lived in the North East, obviously a done deal then!
I think it is more than fair to say I am not naturally aplanner with clear goals and actions to get there, assuming I know where there is.
Today I am a senior matron supporting staff and those who use our services for older adult mental health. In a year tested us all in so many different ways here a few if things I have learnt about myself or have held on to throughout 2020.
1. “What is it like to be on the receiving end of me?”
A lecturer on a course said this on one or our first sessions. He shared many other valuable nuggets of learning but it is this that has reasonated with me most.
I am may not see myself as important or special but for some of those I work with I am THE SENIOR MATRON. That can be scary to some people and to be honest there are times that is not always a bad thing but it does mean the impact of what you say or do can for some affect them hugely. The smallest interaction and acknowledgement really do matter and if I get it right I see the positive benefit. Those moments when I have not been on form, perhaps sharper than intended If I catch it I say Sorry, say sorry there and then or as soon as I can. I make sure they know its not their fault or problem and definitely no excuses. No one cares that at the time you were contemplating inflicting pain on your husband for eating your packed lunch as a midnight snack and made you late. If someone is hurt or worried by your interaction that us all they can focus on, that is their experience and should be the centre of your apology.
2. My leadership Skills
Over the last few months of things I have learnt about myself is I make people feel safe and this has been a year to excel at this ability. I think at times I have been the safety net that has allowed my colleagues to be the high wire artists knowing there is something soft to land on and keep them grounded. Its a part of my role that I love seeing people develop and be bold knowing that I have had a part to play in their development and success.
I notice their relief when you make a tough decision reminding them they had the answer all along and just needed support to get there. Or simply saying “I don’t know let’s see if we can work it out”. I love all our dynamic and energetic leaders I need their challenge and drive it inspires me. We do need to celebrate those whose talent is to be the steadying hand encouraging those to believe that their “not good enough” is actually often verging on brilliant dedication and care.
3. Find your Joy
Lastly find time for fun, be silly and enjoy bring silly. One of our housekeepers has a joke of the day. They are always silly make me laugh, set me up for the day and I appreciate it. I miss it when she’s not around.
I probably irritate most of my colleagues but I can find something funny in most situations. I have used humour to take the heat out of difficult meetings and get them back into a more civil arena, to make my point about issues that are completely exasperating to me and to be honest it probably has prevented me from having high blood pressure. My latest drive is to have musical anthems to end meetings I chair. I like to laugh at work and if they create a matron for finding joy at work I’m applying.
I trained but I didn’t train as hard or as much as I had planned or hoped. While I had hoped to run all of it, I ran half of it and walked the remainder.
What was brilliant about that crazy run/walk was it was done at my pace under my terms and as a result I felt wonderful for it.
I wanted to finish as strong as I started and I did. This became my mantra.
However, I’m already telling you about the tip of the iceberg when I should be telling you about the bottom of it and all that preparation to get to the tip to that sweet moment of success.
With the Covid pandemic and working in a busy NHS role training did go out the window Due to long days on virtual meetings. My walks or runs at weekends became sacred due to lockdown.
The focus on the 50 K helped me remain focused on something else during the pandemic. It was going to be a point in time to celebrate my daughters 16th birthday. With the race happening in Windsor at Easter. However due to the pandemic this was cancelled. The date now a day working in the hospital. An Easter Saturday weekend.
I really wanted to mark the day. In my imagined parallel universe I was completing that race . I wanted some positivity to come out of the spiralling pandemic that we were in. I sent a tweet to the world asking them to walk or run 1k for for me and tweet a picture of themselves running with their mileage.and it responded. I imagined I would probably get a few people responding the response was overwhelming. The response predominantly came due to Running Man Jones who through his followers helped create a wave of positivity on that day.. I even had a hash tag #1KforCiara.
I came out of work after that long day my Twitter feed was full. Full of wonderful messages, heartfelt and sincere with pictures of these wonderful people who had run 1 km from me. I cried as I read them with pride, for all of them and that positivity that they had created this wonderful thing. Over 500 km was clocked up and it truly was a worldwide event with posts from America, India, Australia, New Zealand and all over Europe.
The event by now was rescheduled, set for 12th of September which is my sons birthday. Sadly, again, cancelled. This time I wasn’t going to be working at the on the date and as I was raising money for charity I decided I would do the 50 K by myself around my normal running routes in Cambridge.
In the last month my training really picked up mainly as I had this date looming ahead and a target!. I was out running or training at least every other day for two hours at a time.
Oddly, the treadmill became my best friend and the treadclimber a close second. This second machine allowed me train for longer but with less effort on my joints. Helping me maintain that mantra finish as strong as you start.
I’m also conscious I’m 51 and body and bones are not as strong as they were in my 20s.
However I felt strong and that is what was really, really important.
But where to run and how to keep it interesting? I normally just go off running up through the fens but I was conscious that out on my own I had no back up and I need access to people in case anything happens. I started to map old routes and new around the city and the fens and cycling or walking miles, testing the distance.
Close to the day I still had not decided on tne exact route. I did a 32 km walk with my faithful hound Conall took my time as we paced out a route, got scared by several cows (twice) and delightedly realised I was ready for the following week.
The morning of the run before the sun rose my kit ready I got ready, ate a hasty breakfast and left the house. Not before passing the hound looking at me reproachfully for not taking him, past the pile of birthday presents for my son who was under strict instructions not to open them till I returned. My aim was to be home for lunch, and likely only an hour or so after the household woke up. I wasn’t going to be missed.
I started off taking the pace easy, enjoying the fresh cool morning and I ran steadily, each 5K I clocked up my heart excitedly flipping with joy. I managed my longest run of 25 km after thinking I could never do that distance in my life.
However it was never going to be a challenge without being challenging and so between 25k and 30k I struggled to keep running. By this time I was out on the fen trying to steady myself on the uneven ground, my legs wobbly.
Rather than force myself to keep running I reverted to jog, walk jog walk with the mantra in my head finish as strong as you started.
Stupidly, I didn’t bring sufficient water and started to dehydrate at about 35K. This slowed me down distracting me as hydration then became my focus.
A local pub in Fen Ditton kindly filled my bottle with orange juice and lemonade. I think I can honestly say it was the best drink I have had all year.
I finally completed the distance in my village, my legs tired but no injuries. I took a picture of my finishing point looking out across a field towards Wandlebury and I remember thinking now what? I felt almost a little lost.
I walked slowly home.
On arriving home I was straight back into celebrating a birthday with my boy. My race seen by the family as no more than my usual Saturday exercise. No celebrations, no balloons no medal, though I did afford myself one glass of champagne.
If I had allowed it I could have seen the end of the race as an anti-climax. If anything it has made me realise how capable our bodies are of doing things even when we are older that we don’t think we are capable of. It was the first time I didn’t stress myself out about being fast or slow or “ploddy.” The only person I was competing with was myself. I listened to my body, trusted my training and kept to my mantra “finish as strong as you start.” This didn’t necessarily mean run the whole 50 K (now that would’ve been amazing) It meant to finish in a positive, happy frame of mind. It meant being able to walk later in the day to celebrate a birthday with no aches and pains so as not detract attention from the birthday boy and it meant being able to go for a long walk the next day with my hound.
On a positive note I haven’t let up my training regime which I usually drop immediately after an event. I walk as much as I can and now the gyms are open I am finding new machines that will help me with sustaining and improving my stamina. It is difficult to know what to sign up for as a challenge next when all the challenges seem to be cancelled. However, what I will do in a few weeks time is test myself again on gently running 25K. Who knows I may even get to 30k …..finishing as strong as I start.