Your Career Action Plan for the New Year

If you’ve resolved to move your career forward into a new industry, occupation or level of responsibility, increase your chances of success with this three-part action plan focused on results.

Manager going up the career ladder

1. Know your career objective

Knowing your career objective may sound obvious and easy. If, however, you are dissatisfied with your current position, it can be difficult to sort out the good from the bad.

You may not fully understand the target of your dissatisfaction: Is it your job or your employer; your company’s culture or your supervisor? Analyzing what you want in a job is a good start in determining the best new job for you.

If you are uncertain what type of position to focus on, start by identifying the transferable skills you enjoy(ed) using in your current or past positions.

A professional career coach can be helpful in sorting out what you want to keep and, more importantly, what you want to avoid in your next position.

2. Update your resume and cover letters

If it has been a while since your last job search, your resume may no longer reflect your current career direction. Don’t forget the most important elements of a strong resume: solid achievements that illustrate your transferable skills, and key words and phrases to capture employers’ attention and interest.

Cover letters can make the difference between a warm reception or a cold shoulder. While it’s true that not all resume screeners read cover letters, those who do are never impressed and are often put off by cover letters that sound phony or mass-produced. If you are uncertain of your resume writing skills, a professional resume writer can transform your so-so resume & cover letters into true selling tools.

3. Update your network and networking skills

A good job-search network consists of all those persons who can provide information about future or current career opportunities. You say you don’t have a network? You probably do, but you just haven’t thought about people who could fit this category. Start by identifying groups of people that you are in contact with on a regular basis, such as professional associations, church, college alumni groups, and neighborhood associations. Then identify the individuals within those groups with whom you feel comfortable and who could help you learn of job leads.

Many of my resume and coaching clients lament their poor networking skills. I always tell them not to worry; they are in good company because most people feel inadequate when it comes to networking. Before you dismiss the value of a strong network, remember: In securing all-important job interviews, it’s very often not what you know but who you know. There are many resources available for learning how to build and utilize a network to your job-search advantage: books, online articles, workshops, and career coaches trained in the most effective networking techniques.

Once you’ve put your job-search action plan into practice, you’ll be on your way to a better job and a better life.

About the Author

Deborah Walker, CCMC is a Career Coach and Resume Writer at Alpha Advantage.

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