Start your New Year's resolution NOW
While many will usher the new year (and in this case, a new decade) with promises they are not prepared to keep, you can start January with your professional ball rolling.
If a first job, a new job or a better job is in your sights for 2020, you're not alone. Job searches skyrocket on the first Wednesday of the year. This year that makes Jan. 8 the mother of all hump days. Will you be prepared to seize your moment?
The good news is, you don't have to tackle your job search in a single day. There are little things you can do that won't put a crimp in your holiday cheer. Break up your career planning into manageable chunks with these simple steps toward keeping your New Year's Resolution now.
Know where you're headed
It's easy to dream of greener pastures, but if you don't do a little soul searching, you'll lack the GPS to get there. "Clarity is key," says Jodee Ledford, a certified career coach for University of Phoenix. Ask yourself:
- What's most important to me?
- How can I help the world?
But don't stop there. Keeping asking yourself, "Why?" This simple technique "takes you to a deeper level of your true motivations," Ledford says.
Turn on your GPS
With a refined vision of what you want, seek unbiased advice from experts who can guide you in the right direction.
"There are credentialed career professionals who are passionate about helping you," Ledford says, adding that University of Phoenix offers individualized career counseling for students and alumni from certified coaches at no cost. Think of a coach as your career GPS. It's an hour well spent and easy to accomplish during the holiday season.
Put the car in drive
Map out time to invest in career readiness during the holidays with some of these steps:
- Schedule informational interviews. Talk with someone who's doing what you'd like to do. You'll gain priceless insights and grow your network. "Growing professional relationships is the No. 1 way to get your foot in the door for a career," Ledford says.
- Have a current LinkedIn profile. Be where recruiters and hiring managers look for qualified candidates. These days, having a strong LinkedIn presence is essential. Consider it your digital billboard. Still not convinced? Check out our new content series on LinkedIn.
- Practice your elevator pitch. Develop a concise 15- to 30-second speech that sells an employer on why you're a qualified candidate for the job. Focus on what you bring to the table – and never apologize for lack of experience or in-progress education.
In the end, remember you don't have to do everything at once. "The most important thing you can do is to keep your thoughts positive. From there, take mini-steps, work on your career plan for 15 minutes each day, and surround yourself with people who want you to reach your next level," Ledford says.
By Laurie Davies, Senior Writer, University of Phoenix