Here are the top five tips every candidate can utilize and apply to their personal situation.
1. Look for opportunities that are interesting and that can utilize your previous experience.
The job seeker should assess their "transferable skills," all those jobs done previously, that define all their skill sets. Never consider prospective careers that do not align with an individual's personality. Think of the transition process as a deliberate decision being made for the long-term.
2. Key career transition decisions may take time - avoid becoming hurried.
A candidate may find they come across multiple opportunities that do not fit their parameters. It's okay to walk away from the wrong option. Every job seeker must focus on having a keen understanding of their professional goals, and then implement a strategic plan to attain them. Opportunities will present themselves, but they may not be all the right or best decisions to make. Qualify the opportunities, based on your situation.
3. Have a truthful understanding of professional abilities.
An entry-level candidate can not simply make the short-term goal of moving in to management, without meeting the education and experience requirements. An individual who's been earning $30,000 annually in a particular field cannot expect their next employer to pay them more than the average median salary for that given position. Honesty is always the best policy when making any career transition.
4. Know current skill levels, and determine how they coincide with goals..
Regardless of what field or industry a job seeker plans to enter, one thing is always for certain: Change. It may be necessary to take a class or two at the local college or university. Obtaining particular certifications may be preferred or required by the hiring authority. Certain professionals must meet state licensing requirements to perform their job. Researching requirements for a new career is essential for a successful transition.
5. Image is everything.
Today's job seeker is required to manage not only their personal image, but their on-line identity. Information obtained about an individual through Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and all of the other social networks creates a "brand" for that individual. When attempting to make a career change or transition, it is critical to create a consistent and professional brand. Remember, both on-line and off-line image must match, or the transition process will not be successful.
The professional world is always changing, and this is a lesson every individual should learn from the recent recession. Candidates must continually upgrade their skills, add value to their career, and keep current on all things within their chosen field and industry.