Spring Clean your Career
Though there are a few residual flakes, spring has officially sprung in Chicago! Spring conventionally signifies restoring your garden, organizing your closet, and new fashion trends. Aside from these options, why not clean more, like our careers? To help you get started, here are 3 basic steps to get you in the career-cleaning spirit:
Step 1: Assess Your Career
Our daily endeavors can deter us from passionately pursuing our careers. Regardless, springtime can be a great time to evaluate your current situation. A helpful evaluation technique is to create a 2 year plan of your desired career progress. The timeline can include graduate degrees, promotions, and other accomplishments. From personal experience, it is important to include long-term projects and certifications, as these are unique opportunities to one’s field or company.
Once you complete the plan, compare your goals to your current position. Do you enjoy your job? Does this position work as a stepping stone for your future? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, it’s time to reevaluate. Have a discussion with your manager to identify new responsibilities and create steps for career advancement. The discussion should conclude with action items that help you develop your skills and guide you through your desired career path.
Step 2: Educate Yourself
The best way to develop your career: keep learning. Be conversant in your field; be able to identify trends in the marketplace; and recognize the leaders of the industry. Some great ways to stay in tune with your industry are:
- Follow topical news items: The news is a great resource to learn and identify current business trends. The more you know how the effects of external factors, the better insights and value you can provide for your company.
- Industry-specific Organizations: Many organizations seek novice members to grow within and lead. Join an organization and attend their networking events, training sessions, and free seminars. The relationships you cultivate are valuable for your future.
- Periodicals/Blogs: Blogs and magazines are a great way to brush up on the current trends and leaders in your industry. Always remember: quality over quantity. It’s easy to read articles without digesting the content, gain a few learning points from each reading.
- Online Job Boards: Job boards are a great resource for those who don’t know what they want. Job boards can provide insight into your current role; a role you can aspire to have; or new industries requiring your skills.
Step 3: Clean Up
Finally, the cleaning process starts with your resume. Leverage the attained knowledge in regards to your industry and role to re-design your resume content. The information should contain the necessary skills and work experience to reflect what current employers need. Next, create and update your virtual resume, a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn has evolved into a universal career portfolio, containing work experience and a network. A robust LinkedIn will exceed your resume, with presentations, awards, and recommendations from previous employers. Improve your profile by finding inspiration from LinkedIn superstars (find these guys with a quick Google search).
With these steps in hand, you can begin your spring cleaning of your career! The process will be different for an individual, as the combinations of career paths and industries are vast. Feel free to share any great stories of your spring cleaning in the comments below or tweet @mscareergirl with #springcleaning!