To my Clients and Friends (employed or seeking new employment, or career direction), I offer some ideas I have learned as a career strategist and coach to consider as you enter 2014, regarding adding focus and energy to your valuable career. Take some quiet time soon to consider where you are in your career and promise yourself to take specific action steps to enhance your job search or, if employed, to re-affirm your current direction or begin to move into a totally new field of endeavor.
Please consider these resolutions:
1) Most importantly, I will do some self-assessment work on my own or with a career coach to clearly define and understand who I am, why I am that way, and what I truly need in a job and a career. I will re-create “my story” so that I can confidently answer that famous question “tell me about yourself” with focus, brevity, and energy. This step will help me clarify my career objectives and create an effective and vital career search action plan resulting in the right new position or new career for me (I will “look for work, not just a job”).
2) I will ensure that my resume is current, two pages in length and proofread with a powerful two to three line summary statement at the top of the first page that clearly and attractively defines my professional focus and what I am seeking. I will ensure that my bio is current and interesting to read and will cause someone to like and want to meet me. I will try to remember to keep my target audience in mind (what they are looking for), rather than just myself, as I create my communications.
3) I will ensure my sixty second “elevator speech” is brief and as interesting as my bio. I will practice delivering it for my search until it is second nature. It will contain a memorable “button” about me (beekeeper, recently published author, ski champ, etc). I will also be sure to ask others how I can help them in their career search.
4) I will re-contact my references (three supervisors, three peers, three subordinates) to update them on my career search status, remind them of my key strengths, and thank them for being willing to act as a reference. I will avoid overusing my references and thank them when I “land” in my next job.
5) I will create or reenergize my support network and meet them and new contacts on a weekly or biweekly basis. I will ensure that I am trying to help them as much as seeking their help on my behalf. I will think back on all the people I have ever worked with, including people who used to “sell” to me, and update them on your status. I will realize that everyone understands today’s unpredictable job market and will not be shy regarding reaching out to and following up with people, no matter how senior they may appear to be (they are human, too).
6) I will create a CRM program (www.freecrm.com) and keep a careful record of all contacts that I have ever made that are pertinent to my career search. I will follow-up on all opportunities with alacrity and energy.
7) I will draw a forty mile circle around my home and identify all the companies in that circle where I “deserve to work” based on a match between my profile and the company’s profile. I will learn all that I can via the internet and contacts about how their business could benefit from my expertise, skills, and interests. I will contact the most likely executives, including board members, to establish relationships that might lead to consulting or employment. These companies will be my primary target list for my job search- I will go after my next job.
8) I will consider obtaining presentation skills and interview training to sharpen my presence and confidence in interviews. I will prepare for the wide range of questions that I will be asked. I will be expert in how to interview effectively by phone or in person. I will get really adept at using Linked In and other Social Media tools to network with professionally aligned people. I will ensure I am current in my technology skills, am dressing for success, and following a written schedule of meetings and internet job search activities.
9) I will dedicate a specific amount of time each week, ideally the same days and times, to my career search. I will treat my search as seriously as I do (did) my job.
10) If I am not working, I will find a part time job that keeps me feeling active, pays something, and is consistent in some way with my career objectives if possible. I will use LinkedIn and other “groups” to connect with and communicate with people who might prove valuable in my search.
11) I will keep my family, friends, and support group current regarding my career search, and I will enlist their support and love to keep me energized and focused.
12) Once I land that next consulting or full time employment, I will thank those who helped and I will keep doing all of the above to be well-prepared for the next “work interruption” or career shift.
Remember, jobs are fleeting; work is eternal.
Happy New Year!