4 Tips To Improve Your Career Prospects

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By Veselina Dzhingarova….

The old saying goes that we should work to live and not live to work. Whilst it’s important we work hard at our jobs, it shouldn’t have a huge impact on our lives once we’ve clocked out. If you find yourself miserable after a day at work and reluctant to get out of bed in the morning to start the next shift, or even answering emails and carrying out other tasks outside of working hours, then it might be time to consider a new career.

There are so many different career options out there that it can be difficult to decide which one is the best fit for you. Maybe you’re motivated by the chance to help people every day or even the chance to be creative in the work you do. Maybe you’re just motivated by the size of your paycheck. There is no right or wrong reason to want to work in a certain sector or a different role. Here’s are four tips to help you decide what career you want and then how you can go about getting it.

Find a career that will always be in demand

If the thing you value most in your career is job security, and therefore financial security, then it would be wise to choose a role that will always be in demand. Some jobs, like radio presenter or Broadway actor, are notorious for being some of the least secure. One bad performance or a sudden drop in popularity could result in the end of your contract at very short notice. On the other end of the scale, getting a job in a medical professional practically guarantees you a position for life.

The main reason a job in the medical profession is so secure is that there are very few people committed to carrying out the extensive training needed to become qualified. You might think that to become a medical professional, you’d have to sacrifice a lot of your social life to instead attend a lot of lectures and seminars. In fact you can attend a neonatal nursing college from the comfort of your own home thanks to online training. For example, the Baylor University offers a neonatal nurse practitioner track that prepares candidates for an advanced practice role leading nursing care for infants through the first two years of life. A lot of the curriculum is taught online, before students are taught through practical training and placements at real hospitals.

Gain experience

If you’re looking to completely change industries, you’ll need to gain some experience in that industry. It can often be frustrating that jobs demand experience in the role you’re applying for, but the only way you’ll ever get an experience is if someone gives you a job in that role in the first place. It’s a vicious circle that could end up in you missing out on a lot of possible jobs, but there is a way of breaking the circle. Try and find an organization that will allow you to do a work placement with them for a few weeks. Even if it’s unpaid, you’ll find it’s a huge investment if it means you can secure another job in the future.

You could also be practicing for a new career whilst you’re still working in your old one. For example, if you want to become a writer you could spend your spare time after work creating your own blog. If you want to work in retail, volunteer to help out in your local charity store one day a week on your days off. All of this experience would look great on any job application.

Create your own network

A lot of the time they say ‘it’s who you know, not what you know’ that helps you succeed in your career. If that is the case, then it’s important to connect with people who are currently working in the industry you are interested in. Make sure you follow people who have jobs high up in the industry you want to move into on social media sites like Twitter. A connection could start with something as simple as a funny response to something they post on the site. That could then lead to a follow back from that person, making it possible for you to chat more in the future. Following these people on Twitter will also allow you to spot any possible job opportunities they post on the site.

It would also be wise to set up a LinkedIn account explaining your current experience and your desires to move into a new career. Make sure your privacy settings only allow those you have either sent or accepted a request from to see your profile, so your current employer doesn’t see that you’re considering leaving.

Always keep looking

Once you’ve found your new career, you might be tempted to delete your job listing app and just accept that this is where you’ll be working until either the day you retire or the day the company goes under. Whilst this may be the easy, comfortable option, you could be missing out on bigger and more rewarding challenges, and the job satisfaction or increased salary that comes with them. Instead keep that job app installed on your phone and make time to check it occasionally. If your app allows you to set up notifications of when certain jobs are advertised in your area, set up a few including key words that you’re interested in.

Make sure you spend a few hours every few months updating your resume. Make notes of any big achievements you’ve had in work recently. Also note down any problems that you’ve been able to resolve constructively that might be good examples to demonstrate how well you work during an interview process. This will make the job application process, which can often be long and stressful, a lot simpler. It also means you’ll be ready to apply for any position as soon as it comes up.