Thousands of people change jobs every week in the UK, across every industry and sector. We've all reached a point in our careers when it feels like time to move on, to find new employment elsewhere. There could be any number of reasons for this - as a professional, you may feel you have outgrown your current role, are being underpaid for what you do, or have simply stopped enjoying it. You might simply feel a change is necessary for your career development, in order to put the skills you have acquired into operation and to achieve your full potential.
The question is, how can you maximise your chances of securing a new job? With the employment market recovering well after recession, there may be more opportunities for skilled and experienced jobseekers than for some time. But competition for the top jobs remains rife, so it is important to approach your hunt for a new role in the right way. Here are our top tips for bringing about a career change:
Focus on your job search
If you are serious about securing a new job, you need to invest time and energy looking for suitable positions, researching across a variety of platforms. Simply browsing through the job ads in your local paper will not do the trick - jobseekers need to get online, consult with agencies, use social media and the rest. It is vital to look in the right places.
Individuals who are out of work should treat jobseeking as a full-time role, while others need to set time aside at evenings and weekends to their search. This may mean making some sacrifices in the short term - but it will be worth it if you secure your dream job.
Identify suitable roles
As a jobseeker, it is important to consider what you are looking for in a new role. Setting a number of criteria - prioritised according to degree of importance - will help narrow your focus. At this stage it is important to consider your skills and experience, and gauge how well suited you are to a particular job.
It is quite possible to spend hours applying for jobs you have no prospect of ever being invited to interview for - so ensure you are realistic in your search. But at the same time, try and find a role you will enjoy. Ideally, you want to be looking forward to work each day.
Understand the marketplace
It makes sense to assess how in-demand your skills are, based on current job openings. If there are hundreds of adverts for professionals with your skills and experience, this hints at a talent shortage - something that empowers jobseekers. Not only will you be more likely to get the job you are applying for, but you will have an improved negotiating position when it comes to pay and benefits.
Speaking to recruiters may offer insight into the current state of the market, arming you with information to help gauge your jobseeking efforts. If there are very few appropriate openings for you to consider, you need to pour all your energies into securing one of them.
Speaking to your contacts - whether they are former co-workers, friends or family - can help tap into the 'hidden' job market. They may be aware of upcoming job opportunities which have not been widely advertised, giving you the opportunity to steal a march on the field,
In terms of networking, it makes sense to take advantage of social media. More and more businesses and professionals are becoming active on sites such as LinkedIn, giving you the opportunity to gain new contacts and promote your personal brand.
Making the effort to speak to people always pays off - if you are polite, courteous and interested in what they have to say, others will always be willing to help out. At some point in the future, they may even ask you to return the favour.
Work on your CV
Your CV is usually your most important self-promotional tool - if an employer requests a resume this is your opportunity to sell yourself. As such, spend time working on this document, ensuring it contains all the key information about you as a professional - your skills, qualifications, achievements and employment history.
Potential employers want to know what you can do, but also how much potential you have to gain new skills and add value to their organisation. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to have an impressive CV, tailored to suit the role you are applying for, and free of spelling, grammatical and formatting errors.
Practice your interview skills
The interview is the crunch time, where your job search will ultimately succeed or fail. It makes sense to be prepared for what can be a nerve-wracking process, by researching the company you are applying to, finding out as much as you can about the advertised role and practising your answers to key questions.
It is important not to over-rehearse as you want to come across naturally at interview and show off your true personality. But having a general idea of what you are going to talk about when given a certain prompt helps take the pressure off when the questioning starts.
Be open to options
Work may be available as a permanent full-time position, with part-time hours, or on a freelance contract. Depending on the state of the market in your sector, and your level of need, you may wish to consider all options. Accepting one contract placement could potentially lead to another, or part-time hours could be upgraded to full-time providing you impress.
If you don't get the first few jobs you apply for, don't panic. Providing you are going through the right process, and applying for jobs suited to your level of skill and experience, your fortunes will change. The more interviews you attend, the better you will perform in this scenario - so don't worry if nerves conquer you first time round.