Maybe you’ve been at your current job a while now and you’ve reached a crossroads. Or maybe you’re simply new to the job market and unsure of your next career move. Regardless of your employment history or current status, figuring out your next career move is — obviously — critical to your long-term success.

So if you’re considering a career change right now, here are a few tips to help you move to the next level in your career.

1. relax and brainstorm

Before you do anything, R-E-L-A-X. Although it’s hard to avoid being anxious about whether or not a lateral career move is the right call, you have to stay calm and focused. Now is the time to have a brainstorming session and really think about what you want to do and the next path you want to take.

Determine what you really liked and didn’t liked about your current or most recent job, and consider some of the duties you really enjoyed that you would like to explore in the future. For instance, you might have been in a role that involved a lot of team collaboration and you’d like to find a position with similar attributes. Or perhaps you realized you that you can’t handle a role that involves being on your feet all day. Use these previous experiences to think about the types of positions that would most interest you for your next career opportunity.

2. expand your expertise

Even if you don’t know exactly what you want to do, you probably have a good idea of what you’d like and dislike in your next assignment. Take this opportunity to brush up on a few new skills that you might need for your new position. This could be anything from completing a community training program to participating in a webinar or reading an industry blog.

Even if your next career opportunity comes from another industry or field than you expected, you’ll be able to utilize the expertise that you learned to provide a fresh perspective and new ideas in your new role.

3. build your network

Despite your experiences and skills, sometimes it’s more about who you know. If you have good working relationships with your co-workers, connect with them on LinkedIn. You can also use the social networking site to find industry leaders or employees of a company where you’d like to work.

While it’s important to connect with new people, it’s also smart to stay in touch with your existing contacts and previous co-workers. This can be as simple as a text or social media message a few times a year. Should you need assistance or a recommendation, these people are more likely to help you out if you have been checking in rather than just sending a request out of the blue.

4. update your resume and cover letter

Updating your resume and cover letter is another key step for anyone making career moves. Why is it so key? Because if you submit outdated information on an application, your chances of landing the job you want will be pretty slim.

That means, for starters, your resume must include your most recent job experience together with your most up-to-date skills. Depending on your resume format, don’t forget to include any new certifications or awards that you’ve received or training that you’ve completed. Be prepared to customize your resume and the skills and experiences you highlight depending on the type of position for which you are applying.

Cover letters are becoming less common, to the point where some employers don’t even require one in order for you to submit an application. However, if a cover letter is requested, it’s important to understand how to use it to make a memorable first impression. Most importantly, you need to provide an overview of why you’re the perfect candidate for the position — not why the position is perfect for you. And remember, just like with your resume, it’s a good idea to create a distinct cover letter for each application you submit.

your next career opportunity awaits!

Approach your upcoming job search with enthusiasm and positivity. This is your opportunity to really delve into what you want your next career move to be. Use this time to discover what makes you happy — and take the necessary steps to get there.

Ready to take your career to new heights? Randstad is here to help! Visit our website to search for open positions in your area or join us today. The latter is a great way to get updates on relevant job opportunities that might interest you as they become available.