CAREER TIPS-Want A New Career In The New Year? Take These 5 Steps Now
I set goals regularly throughout the year, so I don’t hold a specific attachment to the new year. However, I know that many people do, and if the burst of inspiration that comes with January sparks action, run with it! Take advantage of the momentum to jumpstart plans that would otherwise remain dormant, like finally making a career move.
Since big career moves — like finding a job, changing careers or landing that promotion — are a multi-step process, it’s particularly helpful to know how to get the most forward progress right from the start. If you start strong, you’ll be more encouraged to continue. If you start with the right actions, subsequent steps will more easily fall into place.
Here are the five steps to prioritize now if a big career move is on your new year’s resolution list:
1 - Mark Q1 as the deadline on your calendar
While a big career move can take upwards of a year, give yourself three months, and mark the end of Q1 as an inflection point to assess where you are.
You should be talking to people in a position to hire or refer you after three months of searching, if not already in the new job or promotion.
If you’re still working on your resume or finalizing your plans, you’re procrastinating and moving too slowly.
2 — Update the four most important marketing tools
Yes, that means you update your resume as soon as possible. However, that can be done within a day.
Then you need to move on and update your LinkedIn profile
Draft a cover letter template
And practice how you will introduce yourself to others (because we’re still networking, even when it’s over Zoom).
These four marketing tools all together support your next career move, not just your resume.
3 — Flex your research muscle
Maybe you’re still undecided about which companies are your dream targets or even exactly what you want to do next. Even if you’re not 100% clear, you probably have at least one idea.
Take that idea – for example, you are interested in a particular company, – and start doing research on it. Even if you don’t know what job you would do or why you like the company, start your research anyway since it’s probably been a while that you’ve done any research, and you need to use those research skills to get them working again.
Look at the company website for jobs posted, biographies on the leadership team, recent press releases and anything that will give you an idea of what they’re about. Look at profiles on LinkedIn to see what types of backgrounds work there and how they describe what they do. Read media mentions to see how the company is doing.
Even if you ultimately don’t apply to this company, you now know how to research any company. Don’t try to think your way to clarity – do some research, and the additional information will probably give you the clarity that you’re seeking.
4 — Send out new year’s greetings
People hire people, so you know to try and reach decision-makers. But in the beginning of your search, when you don’t know who the decision-makers are, reconnect with the people you do know.
Most people tend to stay in touch with just a few close friends or the colleagues they work with day-to-day. Former colleagues, classmates, old neighbours have fallen out of touch.
These older connections aren’t necessarily going to coincidentally be the decision-makers to your dream job, but they may know someone who knows someone.
Or they may know something about the company or industry that helps you prepare. Sending your new year’s greetings is a timely way to rekindle these connections. It starts your networking right now, before you have a chance to talk yourself out of it.
Like your research muscle, your networking muscle is likely weak from inactivity, so starting right away, with easy contacts like people you know, is an easy way to strengthen it.
5 — Link a career task with brushing your teeth
You don’t have to think twice about brushing your teeth or motivate yourself to do it. Use that automatic habit to automate your career plans by doing one of the above things every time you brush your teeth.
Brush your teeth, then send an email to an old contact.
Brush your teeth, and pull up a company website.
Brush your teeth, and practice your networking pitch.
People in your household might think it’s weird that you’re introducing yourself to your reflection in the bathroom mirror, but it‘s one way of building your search into your day-to-day.
Pick anything to start but start now
There are so many moving parts to a career move that the process can be overwhelming. But the upside of that same overwhelm is the fact that you have a lot of choices for how to start. Ideally you know exactly what you want so you tailor your marketing, research, networking and all activity to your exact target.
But the reality is that most of us don’t just have one target identified.
Even if there was one specific company and one specific job within that company that was the dream target, who’s to say that this particular job is available right now? Instead, recognize that there are multiple next steps which could be great career moves to make, and the best next step to getting any of these is to get started.
You will tweak and refine along the way anyway.
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