I’ve officially decided that I need a new job. I’ve been in my position for over a decade now and need a change. I know I want to stay in my field but don’t know where to even begin to start the search. Help!
Job Hunter 101
Dear Job Hunter 101,
Making the decision to leave a position after a decade can be anxiety-provoking unto itself, let alone remembering/learning how to navigate the job market. But it sounds like you’re ready, and I’m here to help!
First, it’s important to understand what you want out of your next position and what made you leave your current position. Was it the role itself? Was it a lack of growth? Was it the office environment? Are you looking to move up or make a lateral shift? What kind of role are you looking for? Are you willing to move? Make an inventory of what you are looking for (e.g. titles of positions, salary levels, remote or in-person positions, etc.) and what your non-negotiables are. This will help you as you begin to navigate the job market.
Once you have an idea of what it is you’re looking for, then, as much as we all hate to do it, you will need to start updating that resume. Because we’ve established that you’re staying within the field, this shouldn’t be too difficult as it will most likely be just adding your latest position onto an existing resume. Now, if you’ve been off the market for over a decade, then you may want to consider looking at some resume examples or speaking to someone who is able to give you some advice on latest trends (e.g. addresses and objectives haven’t been a thing for a while, how do applicant tracking systems work?). One thing to always remember about resume writing is that EVERY single person you talk to will have something different to say but there are basic rules that resumes follow. As long as you have the basics down, and you understand what your industry expects, then you should be good.
Along with your resume, LinkedIn is another big place to make changes. If you don’t already have a presence on LinkedIn, I HIGHLY recommend you change that. Build a strong profile, begin to post regularly, build your network by first adding the folks that you already know and then grow your network as you begin to meet more people. Similar to resumes, LinkedIn has a world of options for putting yourself strategically out there as a job seeker. There’s even an option to highlight your profile by adding a frame that indicates you’re looking for a job. This is a bit trickier to use as it depends on whether your current employer knows you’re looking or not, but an option nonetheless. Recruiters are actively looking on LinkedIn for potential talent so you want to make sure your profile header, the key words that you use to describe yourself, your about me, etc. align with what you’re looking for. There are lots of webinars and tips out there on how to use LinkedIn–take advantage of these tools.
Ok, so you’ve begun to build your resume and your LinkedIn, what now? How do you actually begin to look for a job? I know it's a cliche, but networking is key. A majority of jobs are found via your network rather than random online searches. Tell people what kind of job you're looking for. Join organizations in your field. Go to industry-specific events. Ask your network to connect you with other people they know in the field at other organizations. If you have a specific organization you want to work for, reach out to folks there and do informational interviews. Now, don’t go into these interviews asking for a job! Go in with the intent of learning about the person you’re talking to, their role, how they got there. The goal is to connect and plant the seed that way in the future you may come to mind if an opportunity arises or perhaps they know other folks that will be good for you to connect with. Connect. Connect. Connect.
Beyond networking, yes, you should of course follow the more traditional path of creating alerts on LinkedIn, Google, and other platforms, to alert you to job openings. For these you’re going to want to know the variety of ways in which a role may be described. For example, a student advising role could be referred to as a student services advisor, a program coordinator, a program manager, etc. All of these may be the same exact job, but they may have different classifications and titles depending on the industry, organization, etc. Typing “advisor” into the job search engine is going to either limit your results or give you so many results that you won't know what to do. There’s a balancing game that you’ll need to play that may take some time and research.
Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg. I can go into lengths about each of these subjects, but I won’t as there are tons of tools out there on each of these subjects. The League specifically offers the Career Connections program which helps folks like you connect with other experienced members to talk through these exact pieces. Check out the program here. Hope this at least gives you a starting point.
P.S. Now that I’ve shared my thoughts, I’m curious what the amazing community of educators reading this post has to say. Chime in, folks! What thoughts do you have? Share your thoughts on the Global Leadership League’s LinkedIn page. Have a question for Sophia yourself, ask here!
Please note: This response is provided for informational purposes only. The information contained herein is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for the legal advice or legal opinions of a licensed professional. Contact a personal attorney or licensed professional to obtain appropriate legal advice or professional counseling with respect to any particular issue or problem.