Find a Forum For Career Support

In this day and age, there is an online forum for everything – cooking, classical music and of course, careers! You’ll find plenty of advice and support about your job search and career development by signing up with a discussion board on the Internet, most of the larger resume and career service websites offer them. Here you can connect with people just like yourself, all over the world in real time. Some have been laid off, others are looking to make a 180 degree career change and others are looking to enter the workforce for the first time.

Often, being out of work and looking for a job can make a person feel isolated and hopeless. You don’t have the day-to-day camaraderie found in the office place and the time in between sending out resumes and landing an interview can feel painfully long. But, if you join an online career forum, you will instantly be connected to thousands and thousands of people in your same boat who are looking for support, advice, networking and even friendship. You may finally get your answer to how to deal with inappropriate interview questions to how to run envelopes through your printer or how to start freelancing to the ins and outs of working for a temp agency. Who knows, you might even meet a person who can help you in your job hunt.

When signing up for an online career forum it is best to keep your public identity private. Create an anonymous user name and avatar that does not directly identify who you are; if you are currently employed, there is always the possibility that a co-worker or higher-up may be surfing the same forum. You may also want to get a separate email from one of the many free services like Yahoo! mail, Gmail, or hotmail. Also, like all other social media, don’t post anything online that would come back to haunt you. A good litmus test is to ask “would this embarrass me if my mother/employer/friend saw it”; if in doubt, don’t post!

Top Five Tips on Managing a Successful Career Change

1. Know yourself and what you want
One of the most important steps is to spend time working out what you really want and what you have to offer. Completing a ‘career assessment’ is your foundation so it needs to be thorough to avoid spending time and money moving into something that doesn’t suit you. An assessment should cover your skills, values and other areas that are unique to you (income expectations, location, etc).

2. Research options against your criteria
With the information from step one you can draw up an ‘evaluation matrix’ to brainstorm and then consider your options. Armed with specific questions you can start your research online, and then progress to finding people working in the fields you are considering.

3. You never know who can help you
If networking conjures up images of cheap white wine and insincere smiles you need to think again. Networking is the life blood of new careers, business and….well, pretty much everything! People help people they know, like and trust – so your immediate friends and family are the best people to let know how they can help you. You never know who your best friend’s sister might sit next to on a train. People generally love to help people they care about.

4. Consider past careers
Sometimes changing the environment you work in or the boss you work for is enough to satisfy you with out embarking on a drastic career change. For this reason it’s crucial you run your old jobs through the ‘evaluation matrix’. This will also help you brainstorm options which are in the same ‘job family’.

5. Prepare as much as you can
Accept that career change takes time and you may need to take several steps to get where you want to go. Ideally don’t wait until you are at breaking point so you can avoid a knee jerk reaction. Often career change can mean a reduction in pay, so remember you may need to plan for this.

With the disappearance of the job for life and an uncertain job market, career change is now a regular part of modern working life. Knowing how to chart your career course is more crucial than ever, and it’s something you may need to do several times, for example your values may change or you may want use cross transferable skills. With the right guide this can be a satisfying and rewarding journey.