Feeling Stuck? Transition Tips to a New Job

The job search is finally over!  After months of looking you have landed a job in the re-surging marketplace.  The job is in your field, involves using your expertise, and you are looking forward to a fresh start.  The stress of job hunting is over and you are feeling confident about learning the new role and growing with the company.

  • Next thing you know you’re three, four years down the road and you are beginning to find yourself stuck in your current job. The following are some situations you may have found yourself in during that time:
  • You’ve learned a lot about the company and feel like you have all the necessary tools to be successful for them, however, the opportunities just aren’t there to see things through.
  • Your workload may have slowed down and you are finding yourself not being challenged enough.
  • At some point you’ve realized you just aren’t sure how you can continue to progress with the company.  Either the hierarchical structure is not in place, or the ideal job you would like to have just doesn’t exist.
  • You’ve been proactive and have spoken to management about your concerns.  You’ve expressed you are feeling “stuck” and would love to take on more responsibility or have offered to take on additional projects that you have conceptualized to show initiative, however, you have gotten no response.

If any of the above points seem like situations you have found yourself in, it may be time to transition out of your current company and on to another.  You shouldn’t have any remorse or guilt about the transition.  At some point you need to make the decision that things aren’t going to improve and begin to put together an exit strategy.  An important note: don’t make the mistake of quitting your current job before you have another job opportunity lined up.

Here are some great tips to get your transition started:

Start networking again.  I can’t stress enough the importance of building and maintaining relationships…it is really invaluable.  You have probably made a lot of new contacts within the past few years and it is important to reach out to them.  You would be surprised how willing and supportive others are to help you network.  The most rewarding part of someone helping you out is knowing that further down the line in your career you will be able to help out someone else.

Update your LinkedIn profile.  It is an unbelievable professional resource.  Be sure to add your areas of expertise and include an “about me” section in there to get your name out there.  Also, add connections of people you know or have a second or third connection to.  There are recruiters and other business professionals on the site all the time seeking out new talent.  I know people who weren’t even looking for a new job that wound up getting interviews and offers based on a strong profile on LinkedIn.

Consider doing some freelance.  It never hurts to take on a side project.  Talk with people in your industry who could maybe use some help on various projects.  Not only will you benefit by keeping your mind busy and away from stressing about your current work situation, but you might also learn a thing or two.  Solid work on a freelance job may eventually transition into a full time position.

Reach out privately to current clients you have a friendly working relationship with.  If done correctly, you can explain the situation to them without giving up too much information.  Ask them to keep your conversation confidential and learn as much as you can from them.  It is a great opportunity to learn more about their company and/or industry.  If it is an industry you could see yourself transitioning to, there is a lot to be learned from someone who is already there.  In my experience, people who love their jobs are thrilled at the opportunity to share with you what they do on a day-to-day basis.  You may even be surprised and learn that their industry isn’t the right one for you.  Either way, you will be learning how to transition yourself best and will be putting yourself one step closer to your next position.

Think about attending post-graduate school, or even taking a class or two.  Earning an MBA has great value for many reasons.  Not only are you furthering your education, you are becoming an “expert” in a specific field that will open up great job opportunities down the road.  Even if you don’t want the full degree, taking a class to learn new skill sets is very refreshing and rewarding.  Having a class to look forward too may take some stress off your current job situation as well.

Consider joining career specific associations in your area.  No matter what field you are in, there are most likely organizations or associations that meet to discuss what is going on in that field.  Go to a conference or a trade show and just start talking to people.  This also ties in with networking as you will meet lots of people who may be able to relate to how you are feeling or who have positions you strive to achieve at some point in your career.

Most importantly, keep a positive attitude throughout the process.  A job change is not going to happen overnight so you need to be patient.  The right opportunity will come along at the right time for you.  It is important to do as many of the tips mentioned above in order to keep your mind focused on the end goal; a new position.  I would not suggest quitting your current position because you are frustrated.  Not only will you lose out on the income, but also you may find yourself with too much time on your hands when, realistically, things probably weren’t as bad as you thought.  Even with the re-surging economy, having a job, even one you don’t love, is always better then not having any job at all.

Hang tough, practice some of the tips above, and keep a positive outlook.  You will be on your way soon to a smooth and easy job transition!

This guest post was written by Matthew Scott, a young Chicago-based marketing professional who is thrilled with his current job.  Matt employed all the above tips when he decided to leave his last job.   

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