Friday, July 30, 2010

How to Use Technology to Switch Careers

There’s no reason why work has to feel like, well, work. While it’s a tough market out there, the good news is there’s no better time than now to reinvent yourself and your career.

You’re probably well-aware of the ways job seekers are using technology to find and apply for new positions. But you might not know that the same tools can be leveraged not only to find a new job, but also to plan for a new career.
The prospect of switching careers can be downright scary for many job seekers; like all major changes, it requires a little planning and a lot of courage. Of course, incurring this short-term risk creates some long-term rewards, namely a long-term, rewarding career doing something you’re passionate about.  

Here are five simple steps for using technology to research potential paths and find out which career is the right one for you.

1. Get the Official Story: After identifying your strengths and natural talents, you’ll want to apply these as a filter to start researching which careers are the best fits for you.  

Monster’s new Career Snapshots tool provides official details, such as qualifications, skills and duties, for more than 2,500 careers, ranging from accountants to fashion models and everything in between. Career Snapshots also provide industry forecasts collected from thousands of job postings, offering valuable data on current and anticipated job market trends.

2.  Get the Unofficial Story: Online professional networks are a great way to learn more about a specific industry or function. Once you determine what you want to do for a living, you’ll need to prove a commitment and dedication to your chosen field, or else your dream job will remain just that.  

While most job seekers use social networks as professional marketing vehicles to connect with people in a targeted field, they also provide a great way to pick up industry knowledge, terminology and trends.  

Monster Communities feature a variety of unique professional networks aligning with various job functions and industries, such as marketing, human resources and healthcare to help connect better. Participating in online communities provides opportunities to learn more about industry and professional trends, engage with influencers and employers, and expand your network simultaneously. 

3. See How You Compare: Monster recently introduced Career Benchmarking, a cutting-edge resource that shows job seekers how they compare with their peers. Featuring a wide variety of topics, ranging from compensation to commute times, Career Benchmarking compares your information against local and national averages for thousands of unique job titles. The data provided is priceless; fortunately, Monster offers this powerful tool for free to all job seekers.

4. Read Job Listings: Using a job board like Monster to access and read job descriptions also provides valuable insight into building a long-term strategy for your new career. Browsing for postings in a targeted function or industry helps give a good sense of the experience, training and skills you’ll be expected to have as well as the recurring responsibilities involved in day-to-day work.

5. Make a Choice: Be sure you have strong, valid reasons to change careers; doing so might mean drastic changes in self-perception, working environment, income, work-life balance, healthcare benefits and a myriad of other considerations.  

You have to be able to state your case effectively, clearly and passionately as to why you’re picking a new career and what you hope to gain from the change. Incorporating this message into your social profiles and personal brand is critical, and an easy way to advertise your decision (and availability) to your network, both online and off.

If you’re having trouble creating a compelling case about why you’re making the move, you might be better off exploring another path or focusing on advancing your current career. While technology can help with exploring new careers, it can’t decide which path is right for you. That’s your job.
Source: Matt Charney, Monster Social Media Engagement