Whether you’re happily employed, seeking a new opportunity or preparing to embark on your first professional journey post-graduation, our 13 to-do’s need to be at the top of your preparation list for 2014. Kick off the new year on the right foot by checking off the following – if you start now, you’ll be finished by the time the ball drops::
13. Explore career growth opportunities at your current place of employment. If you have the ability to move forward, set professional goals to achieve it in the new year.
12. Up your networking game. Increasing the number of professional contacts you have will only help you in the long run! Research local networking events scheduled for 2014 and register now!
11. Dress for the job you want. Take advantage of holiday sales and freshen up your professional wardrobe with two or three new basic pieces in neutral colors like black, charcoal gray, or navy blue so you’ll be prepared for any interviews that come your way.
10. Whether you’re on the market or not, it’s always a great time to revise your resume. Add new skills, certifications and job duties that you accumulated during the past year, and don’t forget to run a thorough check for grammar and spelling errors!
9. If you’re planning an aggressive job search for the new year, consider consulting a professional to help you draft a finely tuned, industry-specific resume.
8. Register with online resume banks and job seeking sites like Monster, CareerBuilder, and locally, CapitalAreaHelpWanted.com. Recruiters utilize these banks frequently, and are looking for your most recent resume. Be sure to fill out registration information completely, so that you’re easily found and accurately matched with keywords, skillsets, etc.
7. Sharpen your speaking skills. The ability to communicate effectively is a highly sought-after skill; verbal communication is a key ability that will lead you to promotions, help you sail through job interviews, and more. Practice your 30-second “elevator pitch” by recording yourself and making adjustments as needed.
6. Revisit your LinkedIn profile and ensure that it is accurate. Up-to-date, thorough information is key in representing your professional self online, so be sure to pack your summary with strong keywords that represent your skill set. Take advantage of free add-ons and apps LinkedIn offers to enhance your profile. Finally, upload a professional profile photo!
5. Knowing the job market is crucial in succeeding professionally. Research your local industry to see where openings are and who’s expanding; consult valuable resources like the Business Review, Chambers of Commerce, and local job postings on sites like Monster.com.
4. Contact a local recruiting firm that specializes in your field or industry. Before picking up the phone, visit the firm’s website, familiarize yourself with their policies and procedures, and verify whether there are fees involved in the services offered.
3. Assess where you are personally. Are you happy in your current industry? Is your work life affecting your home life in a positive manner? Is it time for change?
2. Brush up on interviewing skills. Whether you’re meeting with a manager or supervisor for a promotion within your current place of employment, or you’re interviewing with a company for the first time, it’s important to feel confident in the answers you provide. Know who you are, where you stand, and what you want out of a position, and communicate the information clearly. Practice with a trusted friend, or consult a professional that provides services such as mock interviewing.
1. Pursue an internship. If you’re preparing to graduate and you haven’t yet completed an internship, consider looking for a paid opportunity with hands-on experience in your field. This will set you apart from other job applicants when the time comes to apply for job opportunities in the future, and will provide you with the experience many openings often require. Even if you are a Sophomore or Junior, it’s never too early to search for and complete internships; the sooner you become active in your field, the better off you’ll be in the long run! Think early networking, work experience, and discovering the types of jobs you will be interested in pursuing post-graduation.