Finding a New Job in This Job Market

Fifty-year-old St. Louis resident Beth Busch had no choice. “If I don’t wake up and feel good about the work I do and the people I’m with, I can’t do it,” she says. So last October, during one of the stingiest job markets in history, Busch quit her job at a software company and set out to find something more rewarding. After an 8-month search, Busch took a position as the Regional Director for Development at Washington University in St. Louis, and she couldn’t be happier.

Although people change jobs for a variety of reasons, there are basic considerations anyone contemplating a career change needs to think about to make the transition successful.

Get Noticed

Once you have a new career in mind, the first step is to convince someone to hire you. “What you have to do to differentiate yourself is understand what that company’s needs are, and then be able to pinpoint specifically what it is you can do for them,” says Mary Rosenbaum, a certified career coach and personal branding strategist. She says past experience on resumes should be presented in a targeted, quantitative and skill-based way.

Highlighting specific skills and applicable experience also works well in the job interview. Telling a story is a memorable and effective way to show an employer about your unique traits, Rosenbaum says.

Build a Network

With many companies posting openings online, a major hurdle for career changers is the impersonal nature of today’s job search. Therefore, networking effectively is now imperative. Busch says the key to successful networking is letting people know what you’re interested in without being too intrusive, and for her this meant talking with friends, people in her yoga class and individuals she sat next to on airplanes. “You let people know what you’re interested in, and you’re bound to run into somebody that says ‘I know somebody that works in that industry.’” A person Busch sat next to on an airplane three years ago actually helped her get her current position.

Land the Job

Creativity can help you stand out in today’s job market as well. Take the example of David Moye. He wanted to move from a journalism career into PR but quickly became frustrated with companies ignoring him. To move forward with his career change, Moye showcased his media relations’ knowledge by creating a YouTube series called PR Puppet Theatre, where he offered PR advice to his daughter’s puppets. He then used his Facebook and LinkedIn contacts to get two of the episodes featured on CNBC.com. “I made sure when sending out my cover letters and resumes to point out: ‘If I can get a cheesy puppet show on CNBC, think of what I can do for your good clients.’” That strategy ultimately helped him land a job at a boutique PR agency in San Diego.

Whatever your career change situation, it’s important to stay true to yourself, Rosenbaum says. “A lot of people try for jobs out of desperation that they really don’t have the skill set for and they certainly don’t have the passion for,” she says. “You’re more likely to get a job if you’re being authentic.” 

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