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4 steps to start job searching

If you’ve been feeling discontent in your current role and are thinking about seeking a new one, NOW is the time to get started. Don’t wait until you’ve had it “up to here” with your current job and are feeling desperate to get the heck out of there. Instead, take a few simple steps to prepare for a potential upcoming job hunt. Your future self will thank you!

1. List Your Accomplishments

Spend some quiet time reflecting on what you’ve accomplished in the past year or two. Are you able to quantify any of your achievements? For example:

  • I helped reach XX% more customers through a new marketing initiative
  • I helped save the company $XX through the implementation of new technologies
  • I led XX people in a team project.

If you’re not able to quantify an achievement, are you able to describe it in a sentence or two? Have you won any awards or gained any recognition that might impress future employers? Make a list of everything you’ve accomplished.

2. Update Your Stuff

It’s time to take a peek at the ol’ resume and make sure it’s up-to-date. Additionally, make sure your resume reflects the skills that will be required in your potential future job. If a chronological resume doesn’t quite capture your relevant skill set, try creating a functional resume, which highlights skills/abilities instead of listing your jobs chronologically.

While you’re at it, update your LinkedIn profile as well!

3. Focus on Your Connections

  • Start writing out a list of anyone and everyone who may be a valuable connection or reference when you begin your job hunt. It’s helpful to use a spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel.
  • After you’ve made a list of at least 10-20 people, find their contact information and add it to your spreadsheet.
  • Then, order your contacts from “most likely to be an asset” to “least likely.”
  • Finally, make notes about whether or not you regularly keep in touch with each person. If you do not, jot down a plan for how and when you’ll revitalize your connection with that person.
  • Start networking and reconnecting! I can’t emphasize enough how important personal connections can be in a job hunt.

4. Search for Skills Gaps

If you’re thinking about pursuing a role that it significantly different from what you’re currently doing, take some time to identify any skills gaps you may have. What are 10 key skills required for you dream job? Which skills do you already have? Which could use a boost?

If you’ve identified some major skills gaps, consider enrolling in a certification course, a continuing education program, or conducting an informational interview with someone who works in the position you’re pursuing.

 

Even if you’re not quite ready to start your job search in earnest, you can take several small steps to get started. Today, I challenge you to reflect on your accomplishments, update at least a few items in your resume, start listing out your valuable connections, and identify your skills gaps. Even if you only have half an hour, you can at least get started on your path to a new job. It’s time to invest in YOU.

 

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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Margaret Smith Career Coach

I’ve worked with several people over the years who have told me they were hesitant, at first, to seek out a career coach. Some weren’t sure if it was really for them (only people who are desperate need a coach, right?). Others weren’t certain that they would feel comfortable discussing their dreams and fears with a coach. Still others had trouble admitting that they were feeling stuck (I can pull through this on my own!).

It’s true that not everyone needs a career coach. If you’re perfectly happy in your occupation, have a solid 5 year plan, and have your retirement plans all figured out, then you’re probably fine. The majority of us, however, aren’t quite so lucky.

Whether you’re struggling with something specific (a particular project, a troublesome co-worker, or an overbearing or inattentive boss) or a bigger-picture issue (figuring out your career path, working toward a raise or promotion, transitioning into a new career), it’s a good idea to enlist some help.

That’s where a career coach comes in.  Kathy Caprino is a career coach and author of “Breakdown, Breakthrough: The Professional Woman’s Guide to Claiming a Life of Passion, Power, and Purpose.” She says, “You know you need outside help from a career coach when you’re stuck in any phase of the pipeline of bettering your career or changing it.” Exactly. When you’re feeling caught and don’t know how to proceed, it’s best not to slog forward and hope for the best. Have the courage to reach out and contact a professional.

Another piece of great advice comes from career coach Nancy Collamer. She suggests that it’s best to hire a coach before a “kind of bad” situation turns into an all-out tsunami. She says, “I believe that the best time to begin using a career coach is before you need one. I realize that’s not always possible (you could get blindsided by a layoff), but most career issues brew for a long time before boiling over. So it’s best not to wait until you are in full crisis mode before seeking help.”

A good coach resembles a mentor. There are several areas a capable career coach can help with:

  • Defining goals and creating an action plan to achieve them.
  • Job search, résumé, and interview prep
  • Working through significant career transitions
  • Developing confidence, competence, and promotion-worthy skills
  • Building leadership attributes
  • Planning for the next phase of your career (or retirement)
  • Creating a personalized plan for success

If you’re wondering if a career coach is right for you, let’s talk. You might be amazed by what a little guidance can do for your career.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS®DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, FOUNDER OF UXL, AND CO-FOUNDER OF THE TAG TEAM. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. YOU CAN VISIT HER WEBSITE AT WWW.YOUEXCELNOW.COM

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