Whether you’re experiencing job burnout, a lack of interest in your current career, or your life needs have changed, sometimes switching careers just seems right. But actually making this career change can be pretty intimidating. Fortunately, there are a few social media techniques that you can employ when making a career change.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before you make any rash decisions, make sure you’ve thought your career change through! Consider the following steps before beginning your career change:
Make a list of the pros and cons of switching careers.
- Take the time to truly understand the new job or industry.
- Take an inventory of your current resume and skills — identify what skills are transferrable and what gaps you currently have.
- Make necessary updates to your resume to reflect your new career interests.
- Discuss your new career choice with family and friends to gain more insight into your career change possibilities.
After some smart and simple research, if you’re still ready to make the change, it’s time to open up your browser and become social media savvy. Here’s how:
1. Research key companies and professionals in your industry and location.
Use LinkedIn’s search engine to find companies in your area you’re interested in and seem to be a good fit for what you’re looking for. Follow these feeds to learn more about the state of the industry, key issues, and track job openings.
2. Identify your current connections in the industry.
The great thing about LinkedIn is that you can use your current professional network to see if you’re connected to professionals in other companies. As connections arise, use them as opportunities to ask for informational interviews to not only network but also learn more about your new career.
3. Connect with professionals in your new industry on LinkedIn.
As networking opportunities blossom, make sure you also connect with them on LinkedIn. Because you’re switching careers, networking is going to be key in making that transition smooth.
4. Join professional LinkedIn groups in your industry.
Following and actively participating in industry-specific organizations and groups on LinkedIn is another great way to acclimate yourself to your industry. Consider actually joining these organizations and attending meetings in person as well. The more you learn, the better!
5. Find and follow all key companies and professionals in your new industry on Twitter.
It’s important to do this because many companies aren’t as active on their LinkedIn profiles, so you may learn more about a company or professionals via Twitter.
6. Pinpoint other industry-specific Twitter handles to follow.
A few examples are professional organizations or associations, niche job feeds, or publications. These Twitter users will help acclimate you to the industry and provide key networking opportunities.
7. Use TweetMyJobs to get a personalized feed of jobs based on your interests and locale.
TweetMyJobs is especially helpful for newer job seekers and people switching careers because it does some of the research for you while you learn the ropes.
8. Clean up your Facebook profile and privacy settings.
Hopefully, you’ve already done this, but if not, it’s time to do some spring cleaning. While your profile may have been acceptable when you were steadily employed in your old job, when making a career switch, it’s even more important to put your best foot forward.
9. Follow company Facebook pages of interest.
This might seem repetitive, but following key companies via each social media platform is important. You never know when an opportunity will present itself.
10. Utilize the Facebook Social Jobs app.
Facebook recently launched a new job board app with 1.7 million jobs as of November 2012. Check it out to see if your new industry seems to be taking advantage of this tool.
11. Use Meetup groups to connect with local professionals or people with similar interests.
For example, if you’re looking to transition into the fitness industry, there are hundreds of fitness groups and career change groups on Meetup. Take this Philadelphia area career group for example.
12. Be an active, interested, and thoughtful participant in all of these forums.
This guide isn’t meant to be done once and never looked at again. These tips are meant for job seekers who are ready and willing to be consistently active in these groups online. Building an online networking presence — as well as an understanding of a new industry — doesn’t happen overnight.
By using social media, you can gain a professional network and learn about your industry, making you more knowledgeable and insightful than before!
Have you made (or considered making) a career change? What techniques have you found helpful to make this process easier?