15 things you can do in 15 minutes to change your career trajectory
The most common problem among people who feel stuck in career ruts wanting to change their lives is simply not knowing where to start. But you have to start somewhere, so it might as well be anywhere.
It’s about setting things in motion. I’ve written before about the domino effect. A domino, when placed in sequence, can knock over a domino 1.5 times larger than itself. So a domino that is 5mm high and 1mm thick can set off a chain reaction that will knock down a 13th domino that is over a metre high and weighs over 100 lbs, and a 29th domino the size of the Empire State Building.
See a video of that effect here in this article, in which I used making your bed in the morning as the lead domino. (According to Gary Keller, author of The One Thing, effective planners are able to identify the “lead domino” – the one task that will cause all the other related tasks to topple in sequence.)
To add to making your bed, here are 15 tasks you can do in 15 minutes each, all of which have the potential to shift the trajectory of your career and change your life.
You have the power. 15 minutes a day is all it takes.
1. Update your resume. You’ve been putting it off for months. Just do what you can in 10 minutes. Spend another 10 tomorrow. By the end of the week you will have a perfect resume.
2. Change your LinkedIn summary. Does your LinkedIn summary pop? If not, make it so. Add action words, tell a success story. Your summary is the first thing people will see when they land on your profile. Well…except your picture…
3. Change your profile picture. Is your LinkedIn pic really the best you’ve got? Because you know you can use your computer or phone to take a real professional looking headshot, right? (Put on a clean shirt and comb your hair. No need to bother with pants [it’ll be from the waist up].)
4. Set up a Twitter account. Or an Instagram, or a Pinterest, or whichever social media platform is best suited to your industry. You will use the account to network and connect with influencers in your field.
5. Connect with five people you admire. Find people with whom you would like to connect on LinkedIn or Twitter and reach out with a short but sweet introduction.
6. Use your social media. Spend 10 minutes posting to social media, interacting with the influencers you admire and connecting. Start a conversation. Dead social pages look worse than no social pages, and no social pages mean you might as well not exist.
7. Register a domain name. Get started on that website you’ve been meaning to create. Go to a domain registry and set ‘er up. Heck, get two. They’re cheap (usually).
8. Make a list of dream companies you want to work for. Make a list of, say, ten places you want to work.
9. Thoroughly research those companies. Look at their websites and their social accounts, find out who the CEOs, presidents, and hiring managers are. Do one per day.
10. Connect with those people. Connect with those people and their organizations on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Do one company per day.
11. Look at job postings. Duh. Look and see what jobs in your field are available.
12. Reach out to an individual in your network. But don’t stop at postings. They say a majority of open positions go unadvertised. Reach out via email or phone to friends and acquaintances, just to catch up. The keep those lines of communication open.
13. Sign up for a course. OK, yeah, then you have to take the course. But signing up is the first step.
14. Write your mission statement. I always tell job seekers they’re far less likely to get where they want to go if they have no idea where that is. Writing down your goals gives you a clear vision so you can set a path to reach them. Have a mission.
15. Make a list of the things that are holding you back. Is it a course you need to take? A lack of time management skills? Defining the obstacles will help you figure out how to tackle them. Then vow to do so. Is it just now knowing where to start? Well, now you have some ideas.