There are thousands of career resources available that cover everything related to career advancement, obtaining certification, and landing a new job.
Some of these career resources are incredibly valuable, but vastly more of them are all fluff and do lack actionable advice.
At Work Shift Hub, we pride ourselves on the hours of research we perform before we recommend any career resources or advice. We only recommend the top resources that we believe will help you succeed and advance your career – assuming you’re willing to put in the effort.
Our ultimate collection of career resources will help you work through everything from figuring out your target profession to negotiating a salary for a job offer you’ve landed.
This is going to be an ever growing list as we find new resources over time. So check back later for other great finds.
Ask Yourself These Questions When Thinking About Switching Careers
- What previous training and experience do you have?
- What are your long-term professional goals outside of finding a job?
- Do you enjoy providing care and support for those around you?
- Do you prefer to work on things on your own or with a team?
- Are you analytical and like to get into the details?
- Are you comfortable learning new technologies?
- Do you love being outside and working with your hands?
- Do you help those close to you find solutions to their problems?
These are just a few of questions to ask yourself to understand what direction you want your career to take.
Career Change Checklist
☑ Identify your ideal profession based on your current job or another you would enjoy. In other words, what do you want to be when you grow up? If you haven’t thought about it, this may require time and research to narrow down your target profession. Below are some lists we’ve prepared to get you thinking:
- Highest Valued Certifications for IT Professionals
- Top Entry-Level Information Security Certifications
- Best Jobs without a College Degree
☑ Determine your career goals within and possibly outside of your profession. This will help define the vision and set direction for your future career. This can be done in parallel to the item above since it’s important to align your long-terms goals and desired profession.
☑ Discuss career paths and beneficial certifications with your manager, co-workers, friends, or family. This is a great way to validate your goals with people close to you. It can also open the door to new ideas or opportunities you didn’t realize where available. Your manager may also be able to offer guidance on what it will take to move up the ladder if that’s what you desire.
☑ Research relevant training or certifications that will help you accomplish your career goals. This should be fairly easy once you’ve got clarity on your desired professional niche and goals. We’ve covered many
☑ Take online or classroom training focused on your target certification. This is a must do, regardless of the experience you have or how much you think you know. Most training courses are designed specifically to help you pass the certification exam. I highly recommend you not skip this step.
☑ Earn a professional certification if available within your desired career. While this can be a stretch goal, it can certainly be achieved with the right exam preparation training. We’ve covered how certifications give your career a boost and make your resume stand out.
So, where are you at in the journey to make a career move?
Resume Writing Services
1. TopResume – Best Value
TopResume is a recommended service based on their ability to provide resume services at a low cost with good quality. They do offer resume reviews and editing if you already have a resume drafted that just needs a professional touch. TopResume’s services includes keyword optimization and professionally tailored resumes based on your experience and target job. This is a great investment to put you at the top of the list of candidates for a new job.
2. jobstars – best quality & Reasonable pricing
JobStars offers a more personal and collaborative touch to resume writing and career coaching. They are more hands-on and also offer a 30-day period of unlimited edits with each package to make sure you are happy with the final resume. After meeting with the owner, Doug Levin, I was impressed by his history with the company and resume writing in general. The team truly understands all the nuance that comes with each customer’s professional history and it comes across in their work. It’s a smart investment to have a high quality resume produced with support from the JobStars team.
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3. Fiverr – lowest cost
Fiverr isn’t guaranteed to give you experienced and qualified resume writers, but their freelance services do not require spending a lot of money. However, the service can be hit or miss since you may end up getting an inexperienced freelance contractor. If you just need basic help to have someone draft or edit a resume, they may be a suitable choice.
Once you’ve identified the profession you want to pursue, it’s time to start refreshing your resume. Everyone has their own story to tell about how they got to where they are today. While your professional story may be unique, we’ve identified some of the best practices for resumes based on what the majority of HR professionals are looking to see.
- Understand the typical roles and responsibilities for the position by doing some research online.
- Bonus: Find someone at the company in that role on LinkedIn and politely ask if they can share their experience and responsibilities. Who knows, you may end up interviewing with that individual.
- Include only experiences relevant to the job for which you are applying. This may be difficult early in your career, but you can often find a couple specific examples if you take time to think.
- Be concise with short sentences and 1-2 bullet points to describe each of your work experience.
- When describing your work experience, start bullet points with a verb (e.g., managed, facilitated, partnered, supported) and highlight the outcome you achieved. Companies are more interested in knowing what value you can bring to the team rather than what you’ve done previously.
- Keep your resume to one page if you have less than 10 years of experience. If you’ve got more experience or are applying for a management role, target a maximum of two pages.
- Don’t cram your entire life into a single page at 6 point font. Keep the font to 10 point and page borders/margins at 1 inch, at a minimum.
- Resume formatting can be equally as important as the content for some hiring managers. Structure content into sections (e.g., Professional Summary, Work Experience, and Certifications/Education) to effectively tell your story. Also, hiring managers will toss your resume to the side if they feel you didn’t put in the effort to make the resume look good.
- Keep information on your resume professional, including your email address. Create a free email account with Gmail using your first and last names or initials with a period “.” or underscore “_” between if your name isn’t available. (e.g., [email protected])
- Proofread your resume 2-3 times and ask a friend for feedback before submitting your application.
- Include a cover letter, even if it says it’s optional, to summarize how your experience or other capabilities are a perfect fit for the job.
Another big piece of advice we’d like to offer is to keep your resume continuously updated. This is because it’s much easier to recall things you’ve experienced recently and you never know when you might be out of work. It’s recommended to update your resume every 12-18 months to add new and remove old experiences where it makes sense.
Best Training Providers and Thought Leaders to Advance Your Career
If you’re looking for additional help, there are many great resources to help you assess and plan your career path. The books and seminars below have helped thousands chart a path to a better paying and more enjoyable career.
Recommended Online Career Training Providers
Jump start your career with Udacity’s incredibly large training curriculum covering a range of topics. Like a college, they have focused Schools of Education to help build your expertise and earn a certification in a specialized profession. These Udacity programs are recognized by leaders in technology and have been developed through support from Google, IBM, Amazon, AT&T, and others. Udacity schools of education include:
SimpliLearn offers a range of training courses for professionals looking to build expertise and earn credentials. They heavily focus on technology related career paths, but do have courses related to project management, digital marketing, and business analytics.
Similar to Udacity, they offer Master’s Programs that provide focused learning paths and well-recognized certifications. Through the Master’s Programs, you can become certified in the professions of:
- Cloud Architect
- Data Scientist
- PMP Plus
- Digital Marketing Specialist
- Business Analytics Expert
- Artificial Intelligence Engineer
- DevOps Architect
- Full Stack Web Developer
- ITIL Practitioner
- IT Service Expert
- Lean Six Sigma Expert
- Big Data Architect
- Cyber Security Expert
- Software Engineer
We continue to review online training service providers, but these are the best two services we recommend at this time.
Recommended Career Planning Books
Careers is an excellent book that provides insights into a wide variety of careers paths. It covers the required skills, related careers, typical job activities, and entry qualifications for landing a job.
The Pathfinder gets into more detail than we can here to help you find the right career path. The book helps you define and pursue a career you can get excited about through deep research, self-tests, and actionable advice on a range of topics.
Switchers is a great book that aims to help you get “unstuck” in your job. It covers unique strategies that go beyond your traditional tools and and tips to find a new job. Dr. Graham covers what it means to build a “personal brand” and how to leverage it to build a successful career.
Each company has their own Human Resources (HR) department which may have specific requirements for interviewing.
Many attempt to standardize the questions asked to all interviewees for a particular position. This helps to do a direct comparison of each candidate’s experience and abilities.
So, what can you do to prepare as best you can?
- Know your resume inside and out. If you don’t remember
- Have a 1-2 minute elevator pitch to answer the “tell me about yourself question”. This should be a very brief story of how you got where you are today and how it makes you a great fit for the company. This may also be an opportunity to describe your personality and work ethic, just don’t spend much time on this.
- Use the STAR methodology to prepare for the interview. This means being able to describe the Situation, Task (Objective), Action, and Result for any experience example you provide.
- What was the Situation you were in and what problem did you need to solve?
- What Tasks or Objectives did you needed to complete?
- What specific Actions did you take to complete those tasks?
- What were the Results or Value you delivered for the company, team, or project?
- Be prepared to provide specific examples of your experience. This may include a time when you “led a team, dealt with conflict, or solved a critical problem for the company”.
- Do not lie or over embellish about your experience. This can be a fire-able offense if you get caught and it’s easy to get caught in a lie if you have more than one interview. The individuals conducting the interviews talk afterwards to share their opinions about you.
- Remember to breathe. Take your time and take a deep breath out before walking in the room or answering a question. This will help trick your body into thinking you’re calm.
- Be confident, but don’t be arrogant. You deserve the position and you were asked in for an interview because you have the necessary skills and experience.
- Bring a few more resumes than you think you’ll need. Most interviewers may have printed out a copy already, but there are often cases where they’ll pull in 1-2 coworkers to help them.
- Come with questions – this isn’t only a one way interview. Get to know the company and position since a brief online description won’t tell you everything. It’s important for you to be as comfortable with the company as they are with you.
- Understand next steps in the interview process. Are they ready to hire in the next week or are they taking their time over the next couple months to make a decision?
- Close the interview on a positive note. Express your appreciation of their time since they are likely taking hours out of their work week for interviews, resume reviews, and follow-ups.
- Follow-up with the recruiter or hiring manager the day after. Don’t ask if they’ve made a decision – they haven’t. Instead express your gratitude and pull out an example of what you liked about the company, position, and/or interviewers.
Practice Interview Questions
The vast majority of questions interviewers tend to stick with are behavioral in nature. They want to understand how you’d respond to certain situations.
Meaning, they’ll ask you to describe a situation based on your experience and explain how you got the outcome you were looking to achieve. This fits well with the STAR interviewing methodology explained above.
This helps the hiring manager get qualitative information on you that they can’t get from a resume. They want to understand your work ethic, mentality, and personality through specific examples.
Each position is likely to have more technical or focused questions about specific responsibilities. For example, you may be asked if you’ve ever used application X, Y, or Z to process information.
These specific responsibilities are often listed in the job description – so read it carefully! These questions will validate whether you have the essential technical skills for the job.
While the list of possible questions is endless, the following questions will help get you thinking about HOW you’ll answer questions. It’s about practicing the approach to answering questions using the STAR methodology so you’re ready for anything that’s thrown your way.
Example Interview Questions:
- What does this position mean to you?
- What steps would you take to quickly become effective in this position?
- How do you build knowledge of the business, product, or process you’re working with?
- Describe a situation where you:
- Failed to meet your objectives. What did you learn and how did you prevent similar failures in the future?
- Were put in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable situation that was outside of your typical responsibilities. How did you overcome this?
- Were on a team that lacked structure or clarity on objectives. What did you do to help the team?
- Presented complex or challenging information to executive leadership, business users, or developers. How did you ensure they understood what was being presented? Did you get the outcome you expected and needed?
- Had a conflict with a co-worker. What was the situation and how did you resolve it?
- Presented a differing or controversial perspective that challenged the norm. How did you get others to understand and potentially buy into your perspective?
Other great resources for practice interview questions are:
In addition to Glassdoor’s list of common interview questions, people can post questions they have been asked when interviewing with the company. Search for the company your applying at and go to “Interviews”. You can also find great information around average salaries and reviews of the company’s leadership.
2. The Muse
The Muse covers the top 31 interview questions and answers which provides additional examples to build onto the list above. The combination of these two resources will help you prepare for just about any interview question at any company.
Salary Negotiation Tips
There are many strategies for negotiating starting salary for a new job or increasing pay at your current employer.
For many, this is often a dreaded discussion. It means you have to do the research and successfully “sell” your abilities to the manager you report to.
Here are some of the best ways you can start earning more:
- Research average salaries for similar roles at similar companies. You’ll want to know where you stack up with the market. You may already be at the mid-point or high end of the range, but you don’t know until you look. The best FREE resources for this research are Glassdoor and PayScale. These sites primarily depend on individuals to submit their salary and review of their employer.
- Ask co-workers and others in similar roles if they can share their pay range. You’ll need to be polite when asking since many people are uncomfortable sharing their salary. After all, it’s possible they may be making less than you. However, this is where you can ask about a pay range for someone in their role to take the focus off of them.
- Build a list of examples where you’ve exceeded expectations in your role. Similar to sports teams, companies are willing to pay more to retain the best talent. If your list is short, it’s going to be a harder sell than for someone that consistently goes above and beyond. This can include taking on responsibilities of a higher role, gaining recognition by leaders, or receiving compliments from customers or co-workers. These examples build the case for why you’ve earned a salary increase or possibly even a promotion.
- Be confident, but don’t be arrogant. Similar to interviewing, you will need to confidently sell yourself as being worthy of the higher pay. You know your abilities and skills better than anyone, so use that knowledge.
- Keep calm during the salary discussion. Once you start to lose your cool, you lose the advantage. Lay out the facts based on the research you’ve conducted and discussions you’ve had with others. The data points should do most of the talking for you, but fill in the rest of the discussion with examples why you’ve earned a pay increase.
- Bring job offers from other companies to the table. This is the nuclear option, but if you truly feel you deserve higher pay then it might be to your advantage to interview elsewhere. This is a high risk and high reward strategy that has the potential to pay off big time if you get a job offer that is higher. However, only pursue this if you are willing to accept that other job offer. If you’re a good employee, the company may counter with a new salary or at worst, they may be fine with you walking out the door. Consider the risks and rewards with this approach before taking action.
We’re continuously identifying new resources that can help you land your dream job or switch to a new career. We’ll be updating our Resources continuously with new advice, tips, best practices, and other information to help you along the journey.