Check out these six tips to help prepare you to pursue a new career.
Are you looking to explore a new career path?
With the national unemployment rate at 9.1 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's August statistics, you might think it's impossible to find a job in this tough economy.
But there are positive steps you can take to help make yourself - and your resume - more attractive to employers.
From advancing your education to interview and resume advice, consider these six tips when preparing to relaunch your career...
Tip #1 - Know what you want in a career
Be clear about what you want in your professional life.
"Focus on the skills you wish to use; issues or topics you will address; people you will engage as colleagues and as customers or clients; and what environmental factors you need to remain energized," says Steve Langerud, a workplace consultant who has worked with over 15,000 people on career and workplace issues.
Having a clear understanding of what you want from your future career could help you make a satisfying switch.
Tip #2 - Network, network, network
"The key to finding work in this tough economy comes down to who you know, and more importantly who knows you," says Amanda Guralski, president of bizMe Consulting, a career coaching firm that guides young professionals learning the ropes. "The jobs are out there, but you have to be willing to put in the work to find them."
When preparing to relaunch your career, Guralski encourages applicants to get out there and take a chance to make things happen.
And don't think it's all about going to events and dinners, social networking sites like LinkedIn can also help you stay connected as well.
Tip #3 - Go back to school and earn a degree
Alexandra Kralicek, recruiting operations supervisor at Swedish Medical Center, says that advanced degrees and industry-specific certifications could go a long way in differentiating yourself from other applicants.
"In addition to bumping up your credentials, enrollment in an educational advancement opportunity helps bridge gaps in employment on your resume and makes you a much more attractive candidate for a recruiter to recommend to a hiring manager," Kralicek says.
Tip #4 - Send a cover letter
For job-seekers aiming to return to the work force, Mark Stevens, best-selling author of "Your Marketing Sucks," recommends always sending a cover letter.
"Don't just regurgitate your educational experience or duplicate your resume - sell yourself," Stevens says.
Cover letters should be specific for each job you apply to, notes the career services office at St. John's College in New Mexico. This could help show employers that you dedicated time to researching their company.
Tip #5 - Brand yourself
Lisa Johnson Mandell, author of "Career Comeback: Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want," says that every potential employer should know what you consistently stand for and how you are different from the rest of the applicants.
When reviving your career, Mandell suggests finding your true niche and making it known. You should pick your greatest asset and make yourself into the poster child for it.
As an example, Mandell says, "You're not just a CEO, but you're also the CEO who can trim the fat and cut budgets in half."
As another example, the website about.me provides a centralized online space where users can build - and promote - their brand.
Tip #6 - Get ready for the interview
Be prepared for the interview. "Make sure you know about the company, what they do, where they are located, and their mission," according to Andrew Schrage, editor of the finance blog, Money Crashers.
Schrage also encourages you to have a list of questions to ask the hiring manager at the end of the interview.
"Not only is it your chance to learn if this is a position or internship you would like, but it is also a chance for you to show your enthusiasm for the job," Schrage says.
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