What Steps to Take to Land Your Next Job

It's that time of year again when we revisit resolutions we've made for 2023. For those who have stuck with their goals, congratulations! Unfortunately, some of us didn't and feel guilty about breaking our promise. But the good news is that it's never too late to restart. For example, if one of your resolutions was to make a career change, there are steps you can take to get started.

  1. Update your résumé
  2. Research companies and industries you're interested in exploring
  3. Discreetly let your colleagues and peers know of your interest in changing jobs
  4. Apply for every job that makes sense
  5. Be patient

While these steps may seem obvious, they can continually be improved.

Updating your résumé can be challenging; we're not used to cataloging our accomplishments. Yet, it's one of the most important elements to showcase when applying for a job. Taking the time to add details that take little effort is essential in building a comprehensive overview of your career acumen. First, look at the job description and include those contributions that might be missing from your résumé. Most position descriptions will offer a detailed overview of the hiring organization, including required goals and objectives, desired experience, and qualifications. In addition, each segment of a job description will have a detailed narrative of desired expectations in the role. Being as specific as possible is one way to pique a hiring manager's interest, so pay close attention to how a company describes the position while including how and when you acquired the desired experience. Be precise in how it is similar or comparable to their needs.

As you update your résumé, take the time to research companies and organizations that appeal to you. Google the company and look for news articles, press releases, and products or services soon to be released as part of their strategic plan. How do they contribute to the overall economy? Are they local, national or international, and are you willing to relocate? Is the company in good financial standing? Are any leadership changes pending that may impact the growth or morale of the organization? Will joining the company add to your experience, leading to promotion in duties, and will it position you in a leadership role? Not everyone is interested in managing a team, and that's okay. Instead, find opportunities that allow you to work independently but contribute to the organization's overall success.

Once you have updated your résumé and have a good idea of jobs and organizations that interest you, it's time to contact your network. Share your interest with trusted colleagues and peers who will keep you in mind as they see postings that match your background and will refer you to in-house and executive recruiters who are sourcing talent.

Another two groups that can help your search are members of your professional association: vendors who work with your company and competitors. Who knows, there may even be a client or vendor who would love to work with someone who understands their offerings as well and as comprehensively as you.

Something to keep in mind, but should not be a deterrent, is that it can be a sensitive situation to navigate when a trusted company goes after you. Sometimes, associates who work with your current employer may feel conflicted about luring talent away. Still, you owe it to yourself to make sound and essential decisions around your livelihood. You can manage a responsible departure if presented respectfully when you resign.

What else can you do to improve your chances of landing a new job? First, apply for every role that makes sense. Sometimes, it's a numbers game, but that doesn't guarantee you'll get your dream job. However, it certainly gets you closer to achieving your goal and new year resolution. Secondly, be prepared to interview. Know your résumé inside out and do your due diligence on the company. You would be surprised how many people fail to learn the basics of a company readily found on their website.  

Finally, be patient. Preparation is within your control, but timing isn't. Do not get discouraged. Do not give up, and set reasonable and attainable goals that are within reach. Most of all, know your worth. Do not settle for making any move; remember, you are a Bruin and deserve the best!

The Career Engineering series features the expert advice of Amy Rueda, a 25-year veteran of executive search, who has placed CEOs and C-suite executives across multiple industries and functional areas. Her passion for leading diversity initiatives that focus on change management and employee engagement is reflected in her portfolio of accomplishments. Amy studied political science and was born and raised in Los Angeles.

Email your career questions to connectfeedback@alumni.ucla.edu and Amy will try and answer them in next month’s issue of Career Engineering.

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