Monday, May 18, 2015

Considering a Mid-Career Change?

Are you thinking about a change in your career direction?  Are you currently between jobs or without a job?   It is tough to decide to make a change, and for many it is even harder to decide what you would like to do and then to commit to pursuing it.  The following ideas may help you get started on the process.
1)       Self Assessment- Why are you thinking about a change now? What options do you want to consider?
People consider a mid-career change for a variety of reasons.  Sometimes it is a process you initiate and sometimes it is not.   Perhaps you are seeking a lifestyle change or a more satisfactory work/life balance.  Maybe you are hoping for increased compensation or benefits.  Some folks are looking for more challenge or excitement (and some are looking for less!).  Perhaps you are looking for more direct ways to help others in the work you do.  A career values card sort may help you prioritize the most important factors for you in your work and your life.  I have found that a reprioritization of our values is often what leads us to contemplate a change.
Which of your interests do you want to focus on in your work?  An interest inventory may assist you in determining how your interests relate to occupational possibilities.  Here is the O*NET Interests Profiler that will generate some occupational possibilities for you after you answer some questions about your interests.
Carefully evaluate the skills and abilities that you have.  Identifying what you enjoy doing and are good at can be key to career satisfaction.  How can the skills you have be transferred to a new opportunity?  This blog about transferrable skills will give you some ideas about how to leverage you current skills into new opportunities.  The Skills Profiler takes you through a series of questions that allow you to identify skills and activities you have. This leads to a customized Skills Profile that includes:  a summary of identified skills and work activities, a list of occupations matched either to skills or work activities and a link to occupation profiles for more detailed occupational information.  The My Skills My Future website suggests occupations that might use similar skills to other jobs that you have had.
Some personalities are more attracted to certain occupations more than others.  If you have not already done a personality assessment that yields a Myers-Briggs personality type, here is a quick inventory that will generate it for you.  Then, you can go to the Personality Page website that has information related to personality as it relates to career choice, relationships, and personal growth.
2)       How do I find out more about the career options that appeal to me?
I would suggest that you first do research on reliable websites and in relevant books.  Two websites that are good starting places are the Occupational Outlook Handbook and O*NET.  It is also very helpful to get information from people who are already doing a job that you want to learn more about.  This process is called networking or informational interviewing.  LinkedIn can also be a very useful source of information.  Here is an article that introduces the benefits of using LinkedIn Alumni in the career search process.  Often information really is the key that will help you determine how interested you are in an alternative you are considering.
3)      What are the gaps between your current qualifications and occupations that appeals to you?  Are you willing to get more education and/or training?
If you determine that additional education or training would be necessary for an occupation that appeals to you, you have some serious thinking and planning to do.  In what ways could you obtain the skills:  a graduate degree, a college course or certificate, an internship or apprenticeship experience?  If you think you might go back to school for another degree, be sure to research the typical job outcomes for people who have attained that degree.
4)      Resist the “quick fix” to current unhappiness.
You are undertaking a big change.  Be careful and thoughtful in your self-assessment and information gathering.  Curb the impulse to make a quick change so that you can thoughtfully choose an option that is right for you.
5)      You don’t have to do this alone.  Be willing to ask for help and get support where you can.
The RIT Career Services Office has many services for alumni.  You may already be aware of those services if you have found your way to this blog.  We have a Career Services Coordinator who works with graduates from your RIT major.  Check our website or call our office at (585) 475-2301 to find out who your Coordinator is and get in touch with him or her.  Your Coordinator can help you assess the risks and benefits of making a mid-career change. 
There is lots of good information on our website that will assist career changers.  Here are two more sources of information from RIT Career Services that could be helpful:  Career Resources and Changing Careers.  And don’t hesitate to contact our office with your questions.

Carolyn DeHority, Assistant Director-Career Counseling, RIT Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education

Thursday, February 19, 2015

How Do I Connect With RIT Employers?

As an RIT alum, you may be wondering if you can still connect with our recruiting companies.  The good news is - you definitely can, AND they want you to!  Companies who successfully recruit co-ops, interns, and new graduates value the skills and experiences of RIT alumni, and look to us when they have experienced hire opportunities.  Here are some ways you can connect.

  • Use RIT Job Zone.  You have continued access to our online job listing system (see the main Alumni page of our website to login or register for an account).  This allows you to view current job postings, search our employer database for company contact information, and gain access to additional resources, including CareerSearch, a comprehensive database of companies sorted by industry and geographic location.
  • Upload your resume into the Alumni Resume Book.  You'll find this option in the Documents tab of Job Zone.  Our employer partners have access to this resume book and use it to reach out to alumni who fit their current needs.
  • Attend the Career Fairs.  If you're in the Rochester area, you're able to attend any of our general or major specific fairs.  The Spring Career Fair is Wednesday March 4 from 10-4 in the Gordon Field House; bring your alumni ID to enter.  All attending company information is on Job Zone.  Also coming up this spring is Creative Industry Day, on March 19th, and the Hospitality and Service Management Fair, on April 7th.
  • Attend company information and networking events.   Many companies who are on campus to recruit provide these sessions to informally meet with students and alumni, and share information about their company and available opportunities.  All information is posted on Job Zone under the Events tab.
  • Join our LinkedIn group - RIT Career Services.  This gives you the opportunity to network with employer members, and many companies post positions at the experienced level on the group.
  • Meet with your Career Services Coordinator in our office - in person, by email or by phone, who has additional company connections and resources specific to your field of interest.  If you're not sure who your Coordinator is, call our office at 475-2301 to get connected.
Let us assist in your job search efforts; we're here to help you achieve continued career success!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Holiday Strategies for Your Job Search

Temping though it may be, don’t stop your job search efforts just because we've moved into the holiday season.  There are still jobs available; in fact, companies may want to fill positions before the end of their fiscal year, or may want to interview for positions that will become available after the first of the year, in their new fiscal year.  This time of the year also provides unique opportunities to make new contacts.

Here are some ways to stay active over the next couple of months:

Review your search strategy.  This is a good time to evaluate your search efforts, to determine what's been working and what hasn't.  You want to focus your time and energy on activities that move you closer to your goals, and let go of things that haven't been working.  Also review your marketing materials - resume, portfolio, LinkedIn profile, to see if any updates are needed.

Polish your presence.  The holidays are also a good time to get a makeover - hair, wardrobe - to be sure you're presenting a professional, up to date image.

Follow up on any pending positions to which you've applied, or for which you've interviewed.  Reconnect with the recruiter or hiring manager to let them know you’re still interested in the position, and to see where they are in the hiring process.

Contact the third party recruiter (headhunter) you’re working with (or find one in your field), to update them on your status, and see if there are any new positions they've received for which you may be a good match.  Remember that recruiters work for their company clients, not for you, so it's up to you to keep yourself front of mind.

Keep checking job sites for your field, RIT Job Zone, and company sites for postings.  Companies may receive fewer applications as people’s minds are elsewhere, so be diligent in checking for new opportunities.

Work part-time.  The holidays often opportunities to pick up some part-time employment.  In addition to the extra money, you'll also meet coworkers and customers who may provide tips or connections for  your job search.

Volunteer.  Look for opportunities to participate in charity or community service projects.  This allows you to give back, to utilize your skills or develop new ones, and connect with other volunteers, who may know of opportunities in your field.

Step up your networking activities.  Reach out to your contacts with a holiday greeting, and a brief update on your status.  This includes your LinkedIn contacts, and the holidays may be a good time to find additional alumni contacts with whom you can reconnect.

Attend community, association, and organization holiday parties and get togethers; make it your goal to meet new people with whom you can develop a networking relationship in the new year. Ask questions and absorb information you can use later.  Don’t forget family and neighborhood parties; every get together is an opportunity to develop new contacts.  Keep things light – don’t overwhelm people with your problems or job issues; keep a few business cards handy; and always think about how you can help other people you meet.

Keeping your job search active now will put you that much further ahead when the new year begins and help you maintain a positive attitude.  Enjoy your holidays, and remember, the Career Services Office is always here to assist with your job search efforts!