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Ruanna
Ruanna

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Career Change Tips: Engage in Online Communities

Backstory: I recently posted an updated version of an article I wrote on five tips for changing careers and it occurred to me that I had enough information in there to dive a bit deeper into each of my points in separate posts. This is article #3 in the series.

Tip #1 was to say yes.
Tip #2 was to say yes - except to a job you don't want.

Tip #3 is to engage in online communities.

I know, you've probably read and heard all sorts of things about LinkedIn, both the good and the bad. These are things that helped me on the platform, and can all be applied to Dev.to as well:

Joining groups and reaching out to individual people in the group

Not just to network with the hopes of applying for a particular role, but also just general people who I thought might be willing to chat, share their experience, and give me any advice or tips on breaking into a particular industry. In the initial stages of my career change journey, I chatted with several people on the phone that I met this way. They shared their personal career paths and things that helped them along the way. One person even provided me with a list of recruiters and people to follow on LinkedIn, and another person ended up encouraging me to publish more of my writing and get my website up and running.

Engaging

Read articles and posts, add thoughtful comments, like and share interesting content, and message individuals that stand out to you. I cannot stress this enough - what you put into it is what you will get out of it!

Being open to volunteer/freelance opportunities

Contributing to volunteer work can be a great way to make connections, refine your skills, and make a positive difference by helping others. Through engaging and commenting on other people's content, I ended up connecting with someone who was looking for volunteers for content creation. This was a great contact to make and a great opportunity to learn new skills and build my resume.

Keeping the perfectionism in check

When the person I mentioned above encouraged me to publish more of my writing and get my website up and running, I was falling into the perfectionist trap. Here I was applying for writing and content creation roles, but that person helped me realize - why would anyone hire me if the only writing I had out there was something I wrote five years ago?

In order to be seen, I had to have some material.

Once that happened, I started writing more. Writing LinkedIn articles, writing on my personal blog, and writing for volunteer projects. As I got more and more of my content out there, it started a chain of events. Before I knew it, I had several freelancing offers and a portfolio of work.

It was writing for me - for you it might be coding, or music, or your blog, or podcast, or whatever. You can always refine the content later, but the most important part is getting it out there. This creates a chain reaction of events that leads to something else which leads to something else, and suddenly you have 3-4 things on your resume. Know when to say no if something doesn't feel right, but know it's also okay to take chances within the direction you want to go.

Hope these tips on engaging in online communities were helpful! What has helped you make the most of online communities when it comes to your career? Feel free to share in the comments below or connect with me on Twitter or here on DEV!

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