February is Usually when the job market picks up for the New Year – which should be news to the ears of many candidates who’ve been out of work for a while.
For many people, there may be some return to work dread – but for those who have been out of the workforce for a while, there are added stresses. But, that doesn’t have to be the case.
Your transition of returning to work can be improved if you plan it well. This means thinking more about your skills and future career goals beyond just applying for available jobs. Once you have this information, you’ll be able to create an actionable plan, which will make getting back on the horse and finding your next opportunity easier.
What are the job titles you’re interested in?
If your considering a transition from agency-side to client side for example, you’ll need to consider what roles would be suitable for you. It is worth doing some research into different job descriptions and responsibilities, as well as salaries to get an idea of what would work for you.
A Marketing Manager in a Big 4 Bank for example, will more often that not require a different skillset and background than one in a Not for Profit – and salaries will also fluctuate.
When deciding what title you’ll pursue:
- Look on our website, Linkedin and SEEK for relevant job descriptions.
- Use platforms like General Assembly for relevant courses to fill in knowledge gaps (for example, a lot of mid-level client side marketing roles are placing emphasis on experience with automation tools at the moment).
- Talk to your connections that are working in your favoured industries for their input and advice.
- Consider a freelance opportunity to get your foot in the door – particularly if you’re moving into a new industry, for example a change from an ad agency to a client side role.
Work out short, medium and long-term career goals
You can start to set your career goals once you know:
- Your values, interests, skills, strengths, weaknesses, abilities and goals.
- A career path that interests you.
- What is happening in the job market – specifically for your preferred industry.
Setting your short, medium and long-term career goals is an important step towards planning your return to work, and can help you obtain your long-term career goal.
Set realistic goals to improve your chances of getting where you want to be. Set target dates too, so that you've got something to plan towards. Aim to get to short-term goals within about a year, medium-term goals within three years and long-term goals within five years.
When setting your goals, note down everything you will need to do to achieve each goal. Your short-term goals will include jobs that you can do now with the skills you have.
Survival, transitional or dream job?
This is a personal judgement – one person's survival job may be another's dream. But here is a rough guide to the definitions:
- Survival jobs may not be in the industry or level you're thinking of long term, but they're useful for immediate short-term employment. They earn you money while you study, train or look for a more suitable job. A freelance opportunity is perfect for this – and we’ve seen success with Senior Marketers move into support roles for the meantime.
- Transitional jobs move you towards your dream job. These take you a step further in your field of interest and teach you the skills you need for your dream job. An example of this is moving from agency to client side to support your dream of becoming a Head of Marketing.
- Dream jobs give you a sense of fulfillment. They use your gifts and talents rather than your skills, and they match your passions and values.
When you know what your dream job is, you'll have an idea what transition jobs you should seek on your way to it.
Develop an action plan
When you've identified the job you're aiming for:
- Compare your skills with a job description of your dream job
- Identify any gaps in your skills, knowledge and experience
- Eliminate these with courses and consider freelance opportunities to bridge the gap and look for similarities if it is a transition to a new industry, such as a similar focus on B2B marketing or experience with clients in this space.