When I talk to people as I write their resumes, I listen to their stories. Some are stories of success and some are tales of regret.
I hear, “It’s always held me back that I never finished my undergraduate degree.” Or, “I can’t ask for a raise because I don’t have all my certifications.”
But I also hear, “My last promotion came only after I got PMP certified.” And, “The best thing I ever did was go back to school for my MBA.”
When you are ringing in next New Year’s Eve, will you be celebrating a recent success story or rehashing old regrets about the arc of your career? Will you be sitting in the same cubicle, wondering where another year has gone or will you be enjoying an increased salary, more respect from colleagues, and possibly a brand new job or new career, the kind you’ve always wanted?
Now is the time to launch the changes that will help you further your dreams. Let’s take it step by step.
Step One: Set Your Sights
You wouldn’t start an important road trip without a specific destination. The people I see succeed know what they want. It’s not a hazy picture. It’s a clear and realistic goal.
If you take care of the little things, the big things become manageable.” — Heloise
Congratulations on your new job. If you’re not nervous on your first day, you’re not normal. To ease the jitters, it helps to know you’re prepared. Besides studying up on the company website and enjoying a few last unstructured days, spend some time collecting the nitty-gritty stuff to take to work on day one.
Cash in your wallet. Some of us run around with just a debit or credit card for expenses. But what if the vending machine asks for quarters? Do you really want to be borrowing money from co-workers you met two hours ago? If your new office mate offers to take you to lunch, leaving the cash tip is an appreciative gesture. How about bus fare or parking money?
Many people believe a resume is just something you put together after you’ve been fired. They think it’s something you use to find a new job.
Well, that’s certainly true, but a resume can do way more than convince people to interview you! Based on feedback I get from my clients, here are 12 benefits enjoyed by people who have a current resume in hand—said another way, reasons why everyone needs a resume.
1. A Resume Builds Self Assurance
The most common perk that clients report back to me goes something like this: “I feel so much more confident now that I’ve seen what I look like on paper,” or “I didn’t know how effective I’ve been in my industry.” So, yes, a fresh resume always gives you a new perspective on yourself. Most people don’t have a realistic picture of what they bring to their company or their field.Read more
If you are serious about scoring a new job, updating your resume is the first step. But I’m usually surprised how many job seekers aren’t sure what to do next.
Do you just start emailing your resume to listings on job boards? Send it out to some recruiters? Carry it with you to job fairs? Well, yes, yes, and yes.
But even before getting your new resume into circulation, it’s smart to ask yourself what kind of job you really want.
I’ve compiled this list of questions to make it easy for you to get a handle on your job search, to save you time and frustration, and to improve your chances to find the a job that fits you perfectly.
Most jobseekers don’t realize that almost half of all employers expect to negotiate salaries. But if you are interviewing for a job and you don’t initiate or pursue salary negotiations, you could be throwing away thousands of dollars.
Think of it this way: a higher starting salary pays you now and pays you later. You’ll get more cash up front and your annual raises will be based on the higher starting salary.
Put aside your notions that negotiating is simply asking for more money. Think of it as a process that benefits both parties. You get paid an amount you like, and your new employer gets a happy new recruit.
Apparently it’s not just Hollywood that has a love affair with youth. Many employers seem to as well. I’m reminded of the problems older job seekers face every time I talk with them at a workshop or interview them for a resume or LinkedIn makeover.
So, these tips are especially for you if you were born before 1965.
If you are unemployed because you were laid off, resist the temptation to take a vacation. Don’t act retired. Instead, dive into the job hunt! Doing so demonstrates your strong work ethic and youthful enthusiasm. Employers love a positive attitude and a passion for work.
Face it: some industries are going to be more receptive to boomers than other industries. Therefore, be practical about where you look for jobs. Smaller, more traditional organizations, including nonprofits, trade associations and niche educational programs, usually have smaller staffs, and are more likely to value experience and expertise.
A vanity URL makes your LinkedIn profile easier to find, easier to remember, and more professional. Once you have your new URL, put it on your resume, add it to your email signature, and use it anytime you have a chance to promote yourself.
To change your URL from something like this: www.linkedin.com/pub/jane-doe-96335a46/67/, to something like this: www.linkedin.com/in/jane-doe, follow the steps below.
- Click the “Me” icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
- Click “View profile.”
- On your profile page, click “Edit public profile & URL” on the right rail.
- Under “Edit URL” in the right rail, click the “Edit” icon next to your public profile URL. It’ll be an address that looks like www.linkedin.com/in/your-name.
- Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
- Click “Save.”
You’ve been invited to have lunch with someone you hope will mentor you, but you don’t have a clue what to talk about.
At a networking session for your industry, you’re tongue tied about familiar topics.
You’ve joined a club to make new friends, but no members are approaching you at meetings.
Eighty per cent of all hires are secured through networking, through people knowing other people. So, it’s no wonder that career coaches and successful businesspeople preach the value of networking, mingling, making connections, and building relationships. But how?
The answer, surprisingly, is small talk.
Whether you do it to sincerely help people you like, or in order to grow your own network, writing an enviable LinkedIn recommendation is an important job-seeking skill.
But I don’t know anyone whose definition of a fun afternoon is putting together interesting testimonials for every co-worker, friend, boss, client, classmate, and family member on LinkedIn. Take heart. There are ways to streamline the task and still deliver the goods.
When you write an effective recommendation, it makes you look good! Every intelligent, accurate, and positive reference you write increases the likelihood that your contact will reciprocate. And anyone reading your well-done recommendations will know what a stellar individual you are.Read more
The sweaty palm. The vise grip. The pump handle. The dead fish. These are the handshakes that don’t create a favorable impression.
Although I’ve never heard of a handshake so bad it blew a job offer off the table, the perfect handshake is something every jobseeker needs. It’s a social skill that telegraphs to a new acquaintance what a fine person you are – that you know how to make friends, behave yourself, and yet have some spunk.
So, before your next job interview, review my pointers for what makes the perfect handshake. In just a few minutes, you can boost your likability score.Read more