By: Emily Lamia
You have a feeling that your job may be in trouble. Now what? Before you panic, these five steps will help you get on track and compile a plan.
1) Map out your ideas and options.
Before you scroll job boards looking for anything that might fit, take a few moments to step back and really think about the roles and organizations that interest you.
There are two parts of your job:
- What you do – the role and function.
- Where you do it – the type of industry or sector.
Even if you have a good sense as to the type of role and industry, there are lots of differences within those two areas. Let’s say you know you want to be in a marketing/communications role in the healthcare sector. Do you want to:
- Do internal communications or external?
- Focus on earned or paid media?
- Work for a healthcare service provider? Or one that’s doing advocacy? Or policy? Or research?
- Focus on a specific kind of healthcare – like reproductive health, diabetes, or cancer treatment?
In each of these, the audiences you work with and your day-to-day could look pretty different. Thinking through these questions is not just to narrow your focus. Having more ideas is what will help you have better networking conversations.
Start by clarifying all the types of roles within marketing/communications, and all the types of organizations within the healthcare field so you can identify all the pathways that might interest you. Once you come up with a few ideas, you’ll be able to clarify your networking goals and strategy.
[Related: Change Careers in 30 Days and 3 Easy Steps]
2) Brainstorm people who can help you learn about your ideas.
Think about the people who are doing the types of roles in the types of places that interest you. These might be people you know, or people who others can introduce you to.
Consider peers who are in roles that are the same level you’d be looking at, and those who are more senior, who can help you understand what your work might look like in a few years. Both perspectives can help you determine what path feels right to you.
3) Reach out to set up conversations.
For many of us, our instinct may be to reach out to as many people as possible with something like:
Hi, I’m looking for marketing roles in the healthcare space. Do you know of anything that might be a good fit? Or anyone I should talk to who might be hiring?
There’s nothing wrong with this framework, but it puts a lot of work on the person you’re reaching out to, to think broadly about any job or person in the healthcare space. Plus, this approach can feel a bit desperate, awkward, and frustrating for you.
Instead, try this framework:
I’m currently exploring a few options for where I go next in my career. I know I’d like to be in a marketing/communications role, but as I think about the type of place, there are a few options I’m considering within the healthcare industry. One option is to work at a hospital or direct healthcare service provider. The other option is to work for a health advocacy organization or nonprofit. I realize these could be pretty different work environments, and these organizations are dealing with different opportunities and challenges right now. I’d love to talk to people in both types of organizations to see which one feels like the right fit. Could you suggest anyone who might be willing to share a bit more about how their work is going so I can make an informed decision?
While you might truly be open to either type of organization, your networking conversations will be much meatier if you frame your networking ask as trying to help you get information to make sense of which route you want to go next. And of course, in the process of having these conversations, you’ll hear about roles that might be open or coming soon.
4) Prepare for those conversations.
The most common mistake I see jobseekers make is not preparing for their networking conversations as if they were as important as a mini-interview. This is your chance to share with someone your career highlights, excitement, and high-level strategic thinking.
Consider these questions:
What do you like about your job?
What top challenges are hospitals facing right now that are impacting their systems?
The first question is pretty basic. The second is more in-depth and shows you are trying to understand the landscape and make a good decision about where you want to bring your strengths.
Take time before your conversation to really think about what success would look like for each conversation, what specific questions you want to ask, what accomplishments or background info will be most relevant to the person you’re talking to. And be sure to plan how you’re going to open the conversation strongly.
5) Revisit and update your LinkedIn and master resume.
You want to take every opportunity to showcase your accomplishments, so it’s time to revisit your LinkedIn profile. Take a moment to consider the most important themes you want others to knows about you. Is it your strong relationship-building skills? Your writing? Your analytical skills?
Once your LinkedIn profile is updated, work on your resume. Make sure the most important themes from above are coming through loud and clear.
Compile everything that might be important to show a future employer into one master resume, which can be as long as you need it to be. This will make it easier to create tailored resumes for specific roles.
Consider all the types of responsibilities that might relate to the type of work you’re looking for, and make sure to quantify your achievements with metrics to help you stand out.
When you find yourself suddenly on the job market, don’t panic. Clarify the potential pathways you’re interested in – and the differences between those pathways! – and tailor your networking to learn more about those paths.
With these steps, your network will be reactivated, you’ll position yourself to hear about more opportunities, and you’ll be ready to share your materials with the most relevant accomplishments.
Emily Lamia has been helping people grow and develop in their careers for over a decade. In 2015, she founded Pivot Journeys to create experiences to help individuals navigate their next career move and find meaningful work.