Hundreds of thousands of college graduates are entering the labor market this year, increasing the already stiff competition for jobs. Companies are aggressively enticing young talents who they believe will help them break into the lucrative millennial market. Millennials, composed of those born between the 1980s and the early 2000s, are said to be changing the way we do business. Think Google, Facebook and thousands of tech startups built by young, tech-savvy and innovative entrepreneurs.
The tech sector is not the only sector millennials are shaking up. They are also leading traditional industries such as banking, engineering and retail. However, this is not a reason for more tenured workers to sulk in the corner and watch these youngsters move mountains. The competition is open for everyone. Fortunately, technology has levelled the playing field, thus it is up to you on how to use it to your advantage.
If you’ve been working for years and thinking of a career shift, here are 10 ingenious ways to jumpstart your career.
Disregard your past faults, look forward
It doesn’t matter how hard you look for a job. If you’re not adopting the right mindset, you’re likely to get yourself into the same vicious cycle of mediocrity. One thing you have to remember about jumpstarting your career is the meaning of “jumpstart.” To jumpstart is to restart or to put life into something that has stopped moving. You may have identified something lacking in your career or you’ve hit the wall.
The first step to restart your career is to acquire the right frame of mind. Acknowledge your past faults and negligence, but forgive yourself. You cannot move on without forgiving yourself regardless if you’re dealing with your career or personal life. You’re not your past and you’re still not your future. The only thing that matters is your present and it’s within your power to make it worthwhile.
Most career tips may have suggested points on job search, resume writing or power dressing. These are basic preparations you get in the Internet. One thing we neglect in making career changes is actually the most important factor: ourselves.
Do you know that decompressing and engaging in regular physical activities can help you keep a positive disposition? This will also clear your mind from mental noises and negativity and enable you to embrace new ideas better. Make lifestyle changes such as kicking out vices, staying fit and getting adequate rest every day.
Speech is power
Have you noticed that many of the world’s most successful leaders are good public speakers? Whether you are leading an army or a team of employees, knowing how to effectively convey the right messages is essential. It’s a priceless tool that will always put you ahead of everyone. Boost your communication skills through training.
Forget about the “Speak Better English In 30 Days” gimmicks. Speech power is not something you learn in a month or even a year. It’s a continuous learning journey you need to polish over the years.
Training under REAL mentors
Your biggest hindrance to a successful career revamping is your ego. If you haven’t heard from one of your mental monologues, you’ve probably caught it from your peers: “I’m too old to learn.” Learning doesn’t have an age requirement, and tenure doesn’t mean expertise. You need to face the fact that there are younger and tech-savvy talents ready to pounce at every job post.
Hone your communication and technical skills under professionals who can equip you with practical knowledge. Get the fundamentals in school, but acquire the skills through practice. Call centers hire top-notch communication trainers who help equip agents for tough customer service work. Consider training under these real mentors.
Soft skills are your new armor
Aspiring for a higher position or a better job offer is more than knowing how to deliver tasks. It’s how to do it. The workplace is a living organism with its systems and subsystems. A good leader understands how these systems interplay. In simple terms, you need to master the art of dealing with people.
Expressing the right emotions and eliciting the proper reactions require soft skills. If you want to jumpstart your career, you need to take these set of skills more seriously. Be the person others will want to work and be with.
Ditch unproductive social media habits
It’s a fact that Human Resource people check social media accounts to better assess job applicants. It’s also true that some employees have gotten into trouble, even lost their jobs, for their online faux pas. This doesn’t mean that you have to exit from social media because we know that’s not possible. It’s just a matter of exercising proper discretion in using these platforms.
Know how to adjust the privacy settings of your social media account. Those wild party photos should be on private or “friends only” setting. Better yet, keep them out of the Internet. Regulate your time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. as these precious hours are better used for reading, staying fit or networking in person.
Create the right network
When was the last time you reviewed your phone book? If you haven’t reviewed your contact list in a while, today is the perfect time. If you’re considering a career shift, it’ll help to reconnect with people who are in the sector or company you’re eyeing. Set a coffee date with former classmates in the industry your eyeing for.
You need new allies. Create the right network of people who can offer helpful insights and warn of red flags.
Always be in the know
The worst answer you can give during a job interview is, “I don’t know.” You’re not expected to know everything but you should know enough. Remember that you’re kickstarting your career. You’re not an amateur. Exude the type of confidence that employers need/want from seasoned employees.
Do your research. Stop wasting time arguing political views on social media. Read the news and commentaries instead. Keep abreast with current affairs and updates in your industry. The world is getting smarter. Don’t be left behind.
Nail your job interview
How to pass a call center interview? As someone who’s been through a number of job interviews, you should have an idea of the type of questions you need to prepare for. “How do you see yourself in five years?”, “Why should we hire you?”, “Why shouldn’t we hire you?”, etc. You can easily memorize a beauty pageant-like answer to these common questions, but there’s one thing you can do that will convince your interviewers that they’re not hiring a neophyte: ask smart questions.
At the end of every job interview session is an opportunity for you to ask questions. If you’re not offered the chance, ask for it. This will give your future employer the impression that you’re REALLY interested. The right questions to ask should come from your researches on the industry and the company. Steer away from unfounded rumours or issues on salaries. Ask about career prospects for employees, the long-term plans of the company, etc.
Change comes to those who work for it
We’ll go back to the top advice on jumpstarting your career: the right mindset. You may be highly skilled or insanely talented, but without the proper attitude and mindset, the road to success will always be an uphill battle.
Shed off your insecurities, forgive yourself for your past mistakes, and be open to change. Remember: a career revamp can only happen with positive changes. Change only comes to those who work for it.
You may have read countless articles on career tips. There’s no perfect formula to successfully jumpstart a career as this depends on factors unique to every individual. You need to devise your own plan based on your goals, skills and values. Just keep in mind that it’s never too late to make changes. Stop staring at the proverbial wall you just hit in your career—either climb it or break it down.
Photo courtesy of IBEX Global