Career Growth: How To Set Yourself Up For Success!
Career Growth and Transition Tips
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. When it comes to talking about career growth and how to use this time productively, there is a lot you can do without making big drastic lifestyle changes.
This is a great opportunity to take time to explore your options, make decisions, and prepare yourself to take steps towards your ideal future! As an online career counselor, I wanted to give you some activities that you could explore to help you find clarity about career growth and career transitions while also tackling that looming feeling of “Where do I go next?”
Take Your Time: Reflect
Whether you are out of work, working from home, staggering shifts, or continuing work as essential personal, create a space for you to tune in to yourself and reflect on your career beliefs.
Be intentional while thinking and answering the below questions, taking note of the answers that you come up with or that feel scary to admit. This is a beautiful space to begin wondering about your career growth choices and figuring out what feels like the best next step for you.
Am I happy with my current employment situation?
What would I want to change about it?
What’s most important to me when it comes to career options?
What would I like out of my career?
Think about things such as:
When would be a good time to pursue this?
What does it take to achieve this goal?
Where do I see myself in this job?
Write down the pros and cons of transitioning careers. Some things might be both a pro and a con! Go through and give each topic a point value between 1 and 5. With 1 being the lowest importance.
By attributing a value system to your list, it can help you recognize what’s most important for you right now.
Do Your Research
So you’ve taken the chance to reflect on your beliefs and desires; congratulations! As a career coach and individual therapist, I view taking time to reflect on big life transitions as a huge area of potential.
It takes a lot of courage to think about change and what might feel uncomfortable.
Take a moment to write a list of 5 different career options that seem interesting to you. Remember, writing them down does not mean you have to pursue them!
These sites are helpful in providing details such as; demand for the job, pay range, qualifications, as well as other related positions. Give yourself permission to go down a rabbit hole and explore things that look interesting to you!
Update Your Professional Information
Think about what resources need to be updated to appeal to your ideal or prospective job. Some jobs use social media more than others, some are more focused on your resume and cover letter.
Put yourself in a hiring manager position and think about what they might want to see out of a prospective applicant. Linkedin, Indeed, and even Instagram and Facebook can be media sources your future employer might want to review (depending on the job of course).
Keep your profiles up to date to reflect YOU! Let your personality shine through. Yes, employers want to see your accomplishments but they also want to see who you are!
Go through and tailor your profile for the job you want – cutting out redundant content, elaborating on your accomplishments, and creating uniformity throughout your profile.
Your Resume Matters! 6 Useful Resume Tips
Updating and keeping up with your resume is critical to pursuing the job you want. Most jobs are looking for a one page ‘summary’ on your professional experience. Make sure your resume looks clean, consistent, and easy to read. [If you want to work with a professional, view here is information on connecting with an expert resume and interview coach: Resume Writing Services in Denver | Online Resume Consultant]
- Keep important information on your resume that applies to your ideal position while omitting information that might not be completely relevant. I like to keep a ‘full length’ resume that I can copy and paste my experience in and out of.
- Highlight aspects that might be important to the job. For instance, if the job you are applying for is in education, it might be important to highlight your academic accomplishments. (If you are applying to jobs in several fields, it might be handy to keep a couple of different versions of your resume like, professional, service industry, education, etc. on hand.)
- If you are looking to apply to a specific job, look through the job description, and incorporate keywords into your resume. Hiring managers are looking for those keywords and this can help you organize your experience.
- Use concise summaries of your experience using bullet points and action words that match the tense. For example, if you are currently working as an office assistant you might use: “Organizes specialized data spreadsheets.” If you are not currently working there, go back through and change ‘organize’ to a past tense verb.
- Formatting should be consistent throughout your document including font, text size, punctuation, dates, etc.. Keep an eye on small things such as; are there periods at the end of every sentence? Is the date format consistent throughout (03/2020 vs March 2020)?
- Find someone you trust such as a mentor, professor, or career coach to review your resume and give you feedback.
Some positions require a Curriculum Vitae (CV) or you might have the option to submit a CV in place of a resume.
A CV is an extended version of your resume that expands on your life accomplishments and academic pursuits. Unlike a resume, which typically is only 1 page, a CV can be as long as you would like.
Keeping an up to date CV allows you to track your accomplishments, awards, certifications, and projects that you’ve worked hard to accomplish. Here’s a good guide to writing a CV:
Time To Upskill Yourself
Due to the pandemic, companies know there are a lot of people with more time on their hands. Take time to think about what skills your current or next job is looking for. If you have the time and means, take a course or a training to update or learn a new skill that will contribute to your career growth.
These could be courses from your local college, classes taught online through your field’s board, or one you found through Google. This can be valuable information when going into an interview or preparing to get a new job.
Financial security is also important to consider during this time. There are ways to upskill yourself for free. Khan Academy offers free courses on several subjects. Plus, there’s no harm in looking!
Many public libraries have opened up their online databases and have made it more accessible to read Ebooks. Look at your local library and find a book relating to the subject you’d like to learn more about.
While reading, take notes. It might seem silly but taking notes can help you retain information.
Youtube can also be a great resource for free information and techniques. Make sure you are looking for credible information in whichever free course you choose.
It might seem like the world is in a standstill in terms of employment. Although there might be a freeze currently, this pause creates a great opportunity to reflect and spend time with your thoughts about career growth.
Our professional life is always changing and developing and sometimes it can be easy to lose sight of that. I want to encourage you to be kind to yourself during this time and give yourself permission to explore those ideas that may have gotten tucked away.
Wishing you success,
Megan Brice, M.S., LPCC, NCC
P.S. If you have recently lost your job, you're not alone. For helpful tips and encouragement read: Coping With Job Loss and article focused on self-care, career-care, and hope.
Megan Brice, M.S., LPCC, NCC is a career counselor, life coach and therapist who creates a warm environment for you to explore the depths of who you are, so you can grow. She challenges, encourages, and empowers you to embrace transition in order to create future fulfillment.
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