January is the perfect time to begin working on your 2014 plan. As you prioritize your New Year’s resolutions, consider a career cleanup along with your plans to go to the gym more often. If you’ve been thinking of a career change, whether it’s an internal promotion or moving to a new company or field altogether, this is the perfect time.
Start by evaluating your personal priorities. Are you looking for a financial boost? Or, are you searching for an improved work-life balance? Do you want to find a way to apply your current skills to a new type of job?
Whatever your ultimate goal, start by taking a look at your own personal brand. Consider the content and photos that you’re posting online to sites like Facebook. Ensure that your social media accounts have strict privacy settings, so you’re able to control the image your future employer has of you. Sign up for LinkedIn or update your existing profile. Ensure your work history is up to date and that you are connected to those in your life who might help you with your search. If you feel comfortable, ask a colleague for a written endorsement on the site.
Clean up your day-to-day practices at your current job too. Ensure that you’re on time and meeting your existing commitments. Present your appearance in a neat and orderly fashion. Even when you do find a new job, you will want to maintain a positive relationship with your former employer. Additionally, your current work practices reflect on you as you begin your search.
Next, dust of your resume and update your cover letter. Ensure that your resume is accurate and reflects all of the work you’ve been doing. And, remember to keep it to one or two pages in length. No hiring manager wants to sift through pages and pages of a candidate’s work.
Once you’re comfortable that your personal brand is ready for prime time, start looking for jobs online. Sites like Indeed.com aggregate jobs from many other sites, so you’ll save time in your search. Use your personal priorities to guide you and select a few types of jobs and organizations you’re the most interested in.
Finally, start the process of networking. Look for industry or interest specific events to attend. Events are a great opportunity to talk about yourself and your goals. Practice talking about yourself and what you’re looking for. You should work to narrow this pitch down to about 30 seconds or less.
Bring your business cards, and be prepared to give them out. For each event, consider setting a goal to exchange business cards with three to five people. Setting a goal makes it easier to do and in no time, you’ll find yourself with an expanded network.
The New Year is an exciting time that’s full of possibilities. While you’re cleaning up the rest of your life, take a look at your career path and goals. If you really set your mind to it, 2014 could be your most exciting year yet.
Angela Copeland is CEO/founder of Copeland Coaching, www.CopelandCoaching.com. You can follow Copeland Coaching on Twitter (@CopelandCoach) and Facebook (Facebook.com/CopelandCoaching).