As a mature worker, looking for work can be a pain, especially if you haven’t got a clear career goal in mind.  A goal is important as it will define your success.. .or failure.  Creating clear and realistic career goals is often neglected by people. Having clearly defined goals is an important ingredient in achieving career success.

Your career goals will define all the decisions you will make in managing your career. Goals will give you a clearer direction so you can direct your efforts to something that will work for you. It will also help you evaluate the success of a career move you make as you are looking for work.

Creating career goals is a very simple step in your career development. It doesn’t require over-analysis of things or extensive technical expertise. But of course it would be best to get the support of someone who truly understands your needs and has the expertise to give you sound career advice. A career coach can help you achieve the career you’ve always wanted by assisting you in plotting your career goals and providing you with the tools you need to be successful in your chosen career.

 Well defined goals will lessen the possibility of distractions and will give you a better view of what you want to achieve professionally. The 7 Steps to Personal Career Breakthrough program (hyperlink here) is designed to help you get in control of your working life and what you really want to achieve in your career, as well as teaching you how you can effectively market yourself and be noticed as an outstanding person in your field of work. It provides strategies to help you get noticed by important career decision makers for the right reasons in your current job and in the job market if you are looking for work. Once of the most powerful strategies is the use of LinkedIn. If you want many tips about how to unlock the hidden job market through the use of LinkedIn you can download our free ebook, LinkedIn:  Tips and Tricks to Unlock the Hidden Job Market.

When you want to break into a new industry, perhaps after doing some study or as a result of recognising your true career goals, you need to be strategic about the way that you make yourself known.

Here are a few tips to help you target your networking and to make good contacts within the industry whilst finding out about the industry from an insider's perspective.

Targeted networking

  • Join LinkedIn and set up your profile if you haven't already done so.
  • Join the professional level of LinkedIn, inexpensive and definitely worth the money for the connections it can give you.
  • Join a few groups directly related to your professional interests and start making some pertinent comments within the group so they know you are there.
  • Read the profiles or organisations that you think you might be interested in working  for (through Google or direct to specific websites) then on LinkedIn look for high level execs or HR people from these organisations and contact them directly to see if you can have a chat with them.
  • But a few business magazines and professional journals and use these for additional research, profiles etc.

Informational interviewing

  • Contact people respectfully and appropriately through LinkedIn, journals or through anyone you know (friends of friends etc) who work within the industry or companies that interest you. I emphasize "respectfully and appropriately."
  • Don't approach them with the intention of applying for a job, but rather with the attitude of asking to talk to them about the reality of their industry and their advice about getting the sort of work that you are considering. Make it very clear to them that you aren't looking for a job just seeking their expertise and opinion about breaking into the industry, so do it before you are seriously job-hunting. Don't expect to get more than 15 minutes of their time.
  • End on a really positive note and send them a note or an email to say thanks for their time.

Let me know how you go. I'd love to hear about your successes through targeted networking and informational interviewing.