Part ONE:

One month ago, I was let go from a job that I loved. I thought I was performing well, but due to personality conflicts, I was told that I was not the “right fit”.

If you have reached the point in your life where a career change becomes necessary – either voluntarily or involuntarily, I encourage you to take the time to save this post for future reference. I’m not an expert, but I went into power search mode and landed my dream job in ONE month with the below tips!

While I was rendered a bit shocked by the news that I was being let go that very day, I went into damage control mode. I contacted approximately 30 or so of my professional network that I had made from that job. I knew that the sooner they heard the news from me and the more transparent I was, the better. It was humbling, but it ensured that they knew that I was taking the high road and that I was going to be looking for something better suited to my experience level and salary requirements. I went into my social media accounts and messaged several people with great connections that I was looking. I updated my LinkedIn profile and ensured that all of the content was fresh, relevant and that I was in search of a new opportunity.

This happened within the span of about two hours of getting the news. I needed to get ahead of the curve that was coming which is considered a lag time between being employed versus unemployed.

I had previously made dinner plans with a former colleague and dear friend that evening and while I thought about canceling, (which I knew she would have understood) I take pride in honoring my commitments and knew that she would shed a positive perspective on an otherwise very dreary day.

So, I freshened up my makeup and put on a cute dress and met my friend at our favorite Mexican spot. Over very yummy margaritas I shared my news. She was comforting and also offered me some very good advice, “Take your time to find something that is worthy of how amazing you are.”

This led to me analyzing her advice.

TIP #1 – when planning to make a career change, keep it to yourself!

Other than your spouse or significant other, keep this under wraps. I’m not sure how or why, but I believe that my casually searching for something else got back to my boss who may have seen it as a threat. It is not illegal to look for other opportunities, but for some reason it can make people nervous and for those with control issues or insecurities it can cause someone to pull the plug first simply because they want to have the upper hand. Be sure when you are looking for positions online that it is done on a personal device – a phone or a personal laptop and preferably not during work hours as you want to maintain an ethical boundary to your current position.

TIP #2 – BEEF UP YOUR LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is the new Facebook for professionals. It’s important to create your profile to appeal to the job you WANT, not your current one. Update your current resume and any certifications you may have. Start following the companies you are interested in and establish connections with any employees that you may already know or are connected with. Engage with posts by commenting and liking them regularly. Share articles and posts that show your areas of interest. If there is a human connection to the job, it will go leaps and bounds above how great your skills are on a generic application online.

TIP #3 – Clean Up Your Social Media Accounts

Look at your Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feeds like you would as a potential employer. Loads of drunk partying pics? Take them down! Vague-posting loads of inspirational quotes? Keep up just one or two. I’m not saying that you have to post a headshot every time you share a photo or a post, but keep it clean and streamline. Your goal is to IMPRESS, not scare away. You want to appeal inviting and open, but not to the point of sharing all the murky details of your life. Every potential employer will social-media-stalk you before they interview you. It’s the times in which we live, so be sure to be proactive and clean it up before the stalking commences.

TIP #4 – Follow Career Contessa (and more)

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to follow Career Contessa’s blog and social media accounts. The resources available are many and they are a national reach, which means that they post jobs that are in larger markets AND remote positions. I found great tips for networking, resume creating, and more!

If you are local to the Mississippi market, I encourage you to join The Source, a networking group organized by BankPlus for professional women in the state. The resources available are pertinent to job seekers and business owners alike. I’m also partial to them because they invited me to do a podcast last year and it was one of the highlights of my professional career.

TIP #5 – When you are READY, alert your network!

There is power in your village of connections and once you are ready to alert them that you are on the hunt for something new – get ready! They may know of a friend or a company that is quietly looking and be able to give you a contact.

TIP #6 – Update that resumé sister!

This is where the process starts to become like a job in itself. Depending on what type of position you are seeking, use Canva to update your current resume. If it is in a field that is more conservative (think finance or education), utilize a more traditional template. If it is in a field that is more creative (graphic design, marketing) utilize a fresh template with a bit more pizazz.

TIP #7 – Apply to each position with your updated resume AND a cover letter!

The processes of applying to multiple positions can be overwhelming, so be prepared with the dates of your past jobs and have a list of contacts readily available. Be sure you are completing the applications completely and submit both a resume AND a cover letter for each one! Yes, do not avoid the cover letter! It is a way to get a glimpse of the person behind all those descriptions and numbers. Compose it like you would if you were in front of them, on an interview. SHINE how incredible you are and what sets you apart from the hundreds of other applicants.

Alright….so there is a whole other part of landing your dream job that requires MORE tips and tricks. How to land an interview, what to wear, and what questions need to be asked (and answered!). So I will be sharing a PART 2 of this series in the coming days!

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