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Promoting Your Career Change Aims to Your Network

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 31 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
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People won’t know that you’re looking for a career change unless you tell them. Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that as you can’t go shouting about your plans for a new and exciting career if it’s likely to get you sacked by your current employer before you actually want to leave.

Nor can you sound like a broken record that’s forever asking for favours from your business contacts or they will soon go off the idea of helping you, especially if you don’t seem to be doing too much to help yourself.

Promoting your plans for a career change to your network of friends, contacts and colleagues is a key element in the potential success of gaining your dream job as, statistically, you are far more likely to land a great job through a contact than through applying to a job advert. That may sound rather depressing, especially if you’ve spent many lonely evenings typing up the Perfect CV and emailing it to job advert after job advert, only to hear a deathly silence. But, if you look at it another way, it shows just how important it is for you to share your dreams with your network.

Using Social Networking

Social websites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook have made it easier than ever to bring your network’s attention to your career plans. You no longer have to actually write to or phone someone directly and risk looking desperate as you can post about your plans, update your profile and ask for advice while still being professional.

The best way to use these sites is to think that every post is like a little mini business card that needs to show you in the best light. That doesn’t mean that you can’t show a little personality – indeed, this is to be encouraged – but nothing too negative or inappropriate.

Discussing Your Plans in Person

There is nothing wrong with sharing your plans with the right people, but do remember that most industries are actually scarily small, so be careful not to be indiscrete. The best way to approach this is to ‘up-sell’ your plans for the future rather than criticise your current boss or company. By all means say that you’re really excited about your potential career development and that you’re looking to work on projects like x or with clients like y, but don’t bad-mouth your colleagues or it will come back and haunt you.

If you know someone that is influential in your industry is going to be at a particular event, why not actively try to get talking to them? OK, so it’s a little contrived, but with the jobs market really rather difficult at the moment, you have to be your own cheerleader.

Maintaining Professionalism

Although most people admire go-getters, very few people look up to those that look like they would sell their own grandmother to get ahead. By all means be clear about the fact that you are driven and are focused on winning a new client/contract/job, but don’t be so ruthless that you are trampling on people. It may be good in the short term, but you may end up needing them to be on your side at some point in the future.

Utilise the online potential of networking, but don’t forget good old face-to-face meetings. Arrange to have a coffee with an old colleague or boss that now works in a company that appeals to you and ask their advice about making an application, or go to industry events and schmooze!

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Visit our Networking Category to find out how this form of communication can help your career development.

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