Dear Coach Joan: Career Advice
1) Define Your Strengths: It’s important to take some time to identify your key strengths, skills and accomplishments. Especially if you were laid off, it is vital that you recognize that the parting of ways from your last employer is only one small piece of your career history. Take time to enumerate at least three key areas of strength and for each one, write out an anecdote complete with specifics to make it come alive and become memorable. Practice discussing those capabilities. Feel free contact me for a complimentary career tool called CONFIDENCE CARDS, a powerful card-set where you write out your strengths and supporting information and they can be used to articulate, affirm and practice winning and unique positioning. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary phone consultation including the CONFIDENCE CARDS.
2) Envision your Next Employment Situation: Imagine a great, but realistic next job. Write down all of the dimensions that come to mind: your responsibilities, your work environment, the people, your manager, the size of company, the compensation, etc. Be specific and try to be realistic and optimistic at the same time. Then, translate the dimensions of the future ideal job into real goals.
3) Update your resume, your LinkedIn profile and get recommendations: Your resume is your marketing brochure and should quickly tell a hiring manager how you align to current needs in their organization. You also need to have at least 2-3 references ready to go. Make sure to have your LinkedIn profile at 100% and make sure to have at least 2-3 excellent recommendations on it. Then connect to everyone you know. Join professional associations in your industry and play a visible role as a volunteer.
4) Use Social Networking: Let’s face it. Using social media is a way to connect with others, identify new opportunities and build your brand. In fact, your resume is no longer a piece of paper—it’s the Google search results of your name. You need to be on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google Plus in order to connect with folks who are hiring…Many recruiters are heavily engaging on these platforms to connect with target candidates and referring employers.
5) Practice face-to-face Social Skills: Yes, there is a vital world online. But there is still a vital world face-to-face. Make sure you are making the most of your face to face time. Practice live meetings and offer a friend or colleague some practice questions and ask for feedback (Ask your friend to always start the feedback with positive comments first). Take the time to schedule coffee meetings and lunches with professionals who can help introduce you to hiring managers. Those one-on-one meetings will make the difference between a casual connection and relationship. And remember to be a professional who values the give and the take. Always offer to help and not just ask for their assistance.
6) Research your industry and profession: One effective way to stay up to speed is to research the top companies in your industry and stay current on their web sites. Also, read the top blogs and periodicals in your industry and profession. Even better, read ten books in your industry and become a sought after subject matter expert!
7) Volunteer: It’s important to get back in an environment where you are working with other people and out of the house. Spending all day in your pajamas can really be a drain psychologically. Giving back will make you feel good about yourself and it will help you to realize, as bad as you might have it, others do have it worse. The time volunteering provides great opportunities to demonstrate and hone your skills to benefit others as well as present the chance to network with others.
8) Get Those Endorphins Going – Exercise! The reality is you can’t spend all day on the web searching for and applying for jobs. It is vital that you keep up your spirits and it is amazing how even a 20-minute walk can be a mood lifter. If you engage in real aerobic exercise you will definitely see a difference in your mood. Additionally, try to snag a friend and that way you get the benefit of both a social exchange coupled with a physical workout!
And remember, Readiness + Opportunity = Success. First define and articulate your strengths. Then breathe life into your stories and into the items on your resume. Practice making the brand of you come alive! And, with that confidence you will be ready for the most important thing—taking action—the smallest action is far greater than the biggest intention.