We can’t always secure our dream job straight out of college or even within a decade of graduation. If you decide to take a job that you’re not sure you feel passionate about, give it a solid chance for at least a year while allowing your future self the flexibility to leave.
Everyone has different reasons for not staying in the current job, so if you have decided that it is time to choose another career path, I hope that the following tips based on my experience will help you make your transition.
Live frugally and build up your savings
Choose your living arrangements carefully. Living in housing with rent or mortgage values at the lower range of what you can afford, besides, take into consideration the costs of utilities and any additional fees. As an example, in urban areas, you may need to pay for a parking spot if you have a car. Another way to save money on rent is to consider living with roommates because single bedroom living arrangements tend to cost more per bedroom than arrangements with two or more rooms.
Avoid buying much more than you need especially if you expect to move for your next job. This doesn’t have to mean never buying things that make you happy. Buy clothes that you will enjoy wearing to work if you need new clothes. If you are an avid reader, borrow books from your local library. Buying digital copies of media can save space, but might not save you money.
Work diligently to pay off if you have taken any student loans. If you have to be unemployed for a period between jobs, not having to pay loans provides a huge advantage. If you can’t pay off your loans before leaving, consider refinancing if you can secure better interest rates.
Maintain your network
IEEE provides many opportunities to maintain and grow your network. One of the best ways to do this is by volunteering locally, regionally, or societally. Find opportunities on volunteer.ieee.org, build your volunteering CV, and do good work to get high-quality endorsements.
LinkedIn is useful because it is widely used, and keeping it up to date can make your job application process easier. LinkedIn is useful for tracking your career progress, awards, and accomplishments that you should tout on your resume.
Don’t forget your college/university networks. LinkedIn is great if you remembered to make connections while in school, but if you missed out on some connections, your alumni groups may be the easier way to reconnect with classmates.
Keep learning and stay up to date
Be honest about what you want to do in the future, and ask for training opportunities in your current position. When asking for opportunities, tell your supervisor where you would like your career to go. If your goals and their goals for you align, they will be more likely to support you and invest company funds in your career.
Keep your resume and LinkedIn up to date. By getting in the habit of documenting your successes on both your resume and LinkedIn within a week of their occurrence, you can keep your network up to date and your resume will be ready for potential job opportunities.
Review important skills for your dream job that you aren’t actively using in your current position. Regularly research positions similar to your potential dream job and take note of the skills needed for those positions. Once the skills are identified, make a plan to obtain these skills updating the list of skills you need each time you conduct this research.
By staying financially healthy, maintaining your network, and striving for continuous learning, you can make the transition process to the next job easier so that you can find a job you love and enjoy your career.
Article by Jenny Legaspi, Editor, IMPACT by IEEE Young Professionals