There are many strategic points in your career where you need to take charge – and then make changes. For example:
- Changing jobs
- After a job loss
- Entering the workforce after military service
- Entering the workforce as a recent college graduate
- Re-entering the workforce after an absence
Whatever stage you may be in your career, there are fundamental skills that will move you to the front of the line. These are acquired skills: no one comes out of the womb knowing how to conduct a well-planned, successful job search. But you can learn and excel by developing smart, sound ________ in the following important areas:
- Résumé Development: your résumé needs to be dynamic and engaging. How? By having a Career Profile or Summary at the top that describes what you’re skilled at, how long you’ve been doing it, a key accomplishment, and a few personal character traits. Below the Summary you should include Areas of Expertise – these can be customized each time you apply to a job, based on the job description.
- LinkedIn Profile: This is currently the #1 way that people learn about you, and that recruiters and hiring managers source their job leads. Unlike your résumé, your LinkedIn profile can be written in the first person in a friendly, conversational tone. It’s a great way to connect with readers. Also, make sure that your profile is completely filled in!
- References: You will need a list of references for hiring managers. The basic reference list contains 2 professional and 1 personal reference. However, you’ll want to have several names available, since you might need to customize your reference list for the job you want.
- Networking: This is a highly underrated skill! Even today, networking is the #1 way to find employment. The old adage is still true: it’s not what you know but who you know. Pull out that list of former college friends, your LinkedIn network, your holiday greeting list, and let everyone know that you’re looking for Leads and Information (not a job). Here’s the rule: Always Be Networking!
- Interview Skills: The list of interview questions has remained fairly stable (and boring) over time – your strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments – are all questions that people will ask about. You need to be prepared! Not only do you need a great response, but also examples for every question – every time. Have someone use a camcorder or video on your phone to so that you can see yourself as other people do. And…practice, practice, practice.
By mastering the art and science of career transition, you can take charge of your career – at whatever point you may be!