Is it just me or does this new year feel particularly introspective? Have you spent the last week thinking about goals and projects for the year ahead?
Should I take a trip? Is it time to renovate the kitchen? Is it time for a new job?
Sometimes “new year/new job” is a fleeting thought, but other times, January 1 is a catalyst for a career move that is a long time coming. If you’re serious about looking for a new role, here are seven things you can do right now to shift from musing to moving.
1) Know yourself and what matters to you. This may sound trite, but I cannot tell you how many jobseekers I speak with who, when asked what they want and what they’re looking for, honestly have no idea. Before you start your search, start with yourself. Determine what your strengths are, your must-haves, and your goals for your next role.
2) Research the market. Particularly if you've been off the market for a while, research the skills in demand. "Relevancy" is huge, so identify the language being used in job openings to emphasize your relevant, in-demand skills across your resume, LinkedIn profile, portfolio, etc.
3) Use your network. This has been said many times, but it can't be said enough. Your network is the best, most underutilized resource for finding a new job. But it requires outreach. Identify contacts/advocates at the companies you want to work for and connect. Or find someone in your network who has a connection at those companies. Maybe you pursue a referral or introduction. Maybe you secure an informational interview. Is networking intimidating? Yes. Is it impossible? No.
4) Google yourself. Before you start your search, make sure your social presence is...presentable. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all of it. In the marketing and creative industry, your social accounts are a great way to showcase your point of view as well as your professional and personal values. Just be sure that your presence is consistent, appropriate and true to you. (And if you have "digital" in your job title, know that employers expect more from you online, e.g. more than ten connections on LinkedIn.)
5) Have a strategy and a game plan. A real game plan. Complete with a "hire by" date. Putting a date on the calendar for when you want to be in your next job will help keep you motivated.
6) Perfect your resume, LinkedIn profile and portfolio. These tools should be clear, consistent and an honest representation of who you are and what you've done. Read your resume aloud. At the end of each point, ask yourself the question, "So what?" This exercise will streamline your resume, illuminate the value you bring and better prepare you for inevitable interview questions like—Can you tell me about a problem you helped solve?
7) Get out of your comfort zone. Here's the truth. Looking for a new job is daunting. Particularly now that finding a job requires more networking than ever before. But, I implore you, don’t settle for online job boards. Find new connections and reconnect with old. Take a class. Connect with me! Get creative and proactive. There’s something pushing you to look. So, work a little harder, take a few risks, and find the job you deserve.