Inconsistent weather aside, spring is finally here. This is the time of year where I always evaluate where I am in my career and I adjust accordingly. And with graduation season around the corner, there will be lots of action as new grads enter the job market. Here are my tips for managing career paths:
1. Give Yourself a Career Checkup
Dedicate some time to think about your current job situation. If you’re employed, do you like your job? Does it have growth potential? Do you see yourself there for at least the rest of the year? If all of your answers are no then you should figure out what you don’t like about your job and start looking for one that meets your needs. If you’re looking for work, make sure you know what you want (or at least what you don’t want) otherwise you won’t get it. Figure out what you want to do for work and focus on making it happen.
2. Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile
Regardless of how you feel about your job, you should always update your professional portfolio periodically (say that three times fast). Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. Keeping your resume and profiles up to date makes it easier to apply for new opportunities when the time comes, and it lets others know what your skills and experience are in case they have an opportunity to share with you. Keep your resume looking fresh by removing jobs that are older than five years, removing Microsoft Office as a “skill” (it’s pretty much understood and expected that you know how to use it), and definitely don’t use Comic Sans font (I personally prefer Calibri or any sleek sans serif font).
3. Take Inventory
Whether or not you’re looking for work, it doesn’t hurt to know where you stand. Take an inventory of the skills and experience you have and figure out your market value. Knowing your market value is especially important when negotiating a starting salary or a raise. It also helps to know what jobs, skills, and experience are in demand so that you can fill in any gaps you might have. Try signing up for a course to refresh your skills or enrolling in a certificate program to keep your professional skills current. You can also search the Bureau of Labor Statistics to learn what types of jobs are in demand and what they pay.
4. Keep In Touch
It’s not enough to just rack up 500+ connections on LinkedIn if you don’t talk to them afterwards. Devote some time each month to touch base with your connections. See what they’re up to and invite them out for a catch up lunch or phone call. Career management is all about relationships so take care of your professional network.
Managing your career comes down to putting yourself in a position that attracts opportunities. Stay on top of your connections and follow the trends to keep yourself current and marketable.