2013 resolutions: How to achieve your career goals this year
In December, we polled Canadians about whether or not they were making any career resolutions for the new year. 55% of people told us they were planning to change jobs in 2013. 20% say that they want to change fields completely, and 13% say they resolve to move up that ladder in their current workplace. (The other 12% told us they weren’t making any career resolutions this year.)
So, we’re well into the new year by now. You’ve got your gym membership, started jogging, organized your files, signed up for cooking classes…and you’re going to stick to all of those resolutions, right? Of course you are. Now how about tackling the career goals that 88% of you set?
If you want to land that dream job, or even just a new job in 2013, it’s time to step up your game and quit messing around. Here are some resolutions you should make to help you do just that.
Expand Your Network. This is probably the most important tip for landing a job. You are far more likely to find
work through people you know and who will speak highly of you than through random job applications. Make as many friends in your field and in peripheral areas as possible. Do it at parties. Do it online. Don’t talk about your need to find a job. Just be likable and, where possible, helpful. Make sure that when you reach out on sites like Linkedin, you do your best to establish an actual relationship rather than just adding your name to someone’s network. Send a message saying hello. If people post updates, comment on them. In the great but dated book 30 Days to a Good Job, authors Hal Gieseking and Paul Plawin recommend you contact 70 hiring managers a week. I think this is a bit excessive and that all your contacts don’t need to be hiring managers. Just connect with people. Everyone knows someone.
Be the Man/Woman with the Plan. Don’t send out resumes willy nilly, chasing any and all jobs that may or may not be a good fit. Streamline your search. If you decide you want to get somewhere by tomorrow, You’re far less likely to get there than if you decide you want to get to Cleveland by tomorrow.
Lynne Sarikas, director of Northeastern University’s MBA Career Center in Boston says, “You can’t get there if you don’t know where you are going. Define your goals and a specific plan to achieve those goals. Assess your skills, strengths and interests. Think about the type of work you enjoyed even if it was in internships, part-time jobs or volunteer experiences. Document your plan and measure your progress against it. Set weekly goals and hold yourself accountable. Reward yourself by doing something you enjoy once you’ve accomplished your weekly goals.”
Spruce up Your Online Presence. Use social media, set up a website or blog on which you talk about the things that interest you and that relate to your area of expertise. A web presence can actually be more difficult to maintain than one might expect (I have a terrible time keeping mine up) but in a lot of fields these days, if you don’t have one, you might as well not exist. Mathematicians and engineers are probably less in need of a website than, say, designers and makeup artists, but a Twitter or blog that gives people a sense of who you are can’t hurt. Jamey Jeff, co-founder and CEO of RemarkableHire, a talent sourcing platform that uses social evidence to find and evaluate the best job candidates, says the number one bit of advice for job seekers is to “make yourself findable online. Establish a social media presence and contribute in ways that demonstrate your expertise in the types of work that you want to pursue.” And be careful what you post. You should know by now that snarky complaints, swearing, petty arguments and anything that doesn’t make you look your best should not be posted online. Remember that once it’s there, it’s there forever.
Get Over Yourself. The job search is not about you and your need to find a job but about what you can do for a potential employer (of course it’s really about you but that’s not the message you want to convey). You want them to want you. Lynne Sarikas says, “There is a specific job to be done and they want to find the best qualified person to fill that job and the best fit for the organization. Don’t focus your cover letter and/or interview on what this position can do for your career or how much you need particular benefits. The employer really doesn’t care. Focus instead on how you can help the company meet their business needs. What valuable skills do you bring to the table? How can you make a difference?”
Spice Up Your Life. Volunteer, take classes, revamp your wardrobe, learn a new language or skill. Get a haircut. Go back to school. Join a choir/rowing team/gym. Yes! Just like your everyday resolutions. Being awesome in everyday life will make you more desirable to employers and will broaden your networking opportunities. You’ll also like yourself better. Win, win.
Mend Fences. This one comes courtesy of Roy Cohen, career counselor, executive coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide. He says, “Repair damaged relationships – If you left a job on bad terms or you have been out of touch with key people from your old company, you need to catch up with them. At the very least, you want to determine what they will say if called for a reference. That should never be a surprise or a last minute activity. Time is a great neutralizer of frayed edges and unresolved issues…they may also have interesting ideas regarding opportunities and volunteer to serve as references.” Should Auld Acquaintance, and all that. Very good advice.
Have you made any resolutions or big plans for the job search in 2013? Share them with us.