Empower Your Career Resolutions in 5 Bite-sized Steps
It’s that time of year again. Gym memberships are selling quicker than the iPhone 6, nicotine patches are all the rage, and professionals are putting in overtime in an effort to win the coveted corner office. To tens of thousands of Americans, New Year’s offers the chance to start over and to do better. So why is it that most goal setters fall back into the same junk-food eating, smoke-involved fraternizing, and lazy working habits they promise to abandon?
Here’s why: It’s because people jump into the deep end head first without testing the waters. In other words, they set lofty, unattainable goals that ultimately lead to disappointment, another stubborn ten pounds to lose, and the same old crappy cubicle. Research tells us it takes a minimum of 21 days to break or form a habit. But in order to do that, most people don’t realize that you must first change your thoughts and your beliefs in order to see different results. Start with small, manageable goals and celebrate those tiny wins. It’s not a race to get to the finish line; rather, it’s a lifestyle change, which takes time, patience, and a whole lot of focus. Here are 5 bite-sized steps to helping you achieve career happiness.
Rethink your approach to career strategizing. The first step to arriving at your dream destination (career-wise) is to totally change how you view the process altogether. That’s why we say “strategizing” rather than “planning.” It’s not about getting a job; it’s about getting a job that fits your strategy. It’s also about letting go of fear and empowering yourself to take control of your own destiny. So many people let the fear of failure hold them back from achieving their full potential and often blame external forces for their own career mishaps. You’ve probably heard us say this before, but it’s worth repeating: instead of getting so emotional, treat your career like a business and yourself as its owner. That means every move you make is purposeful and supports your strategy.
Learn how to speak “employer.” This one’s a biggy. If you think of yourself as a product/service an employer is looking to invest in, then that makes him (or her) the buyer. Your job is to impress that buyer by selling your skills. And the best way to that is by getting to know your buyer. Here’s a quick tip: all employers make decisions based on one simple thing: Is hiring this person good for my business? They don’t want to hear your sob story or about your first job at Subway. They want to know if you would make a good partner and if you can make a serious impact on their organization.
Reflect on your past, present, and future. This is the time when you should be asking yourself, “Is my goal realistic?” Are there jobs within my demographic I qualify for? Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? When contemplating any type of career change, it’s always important to take a look at everything you’ve compiled in your professional “toolbox” – all the skills and experiences that make up “YOU.” Research the requirements on job descriptions under your desired role. Make a list; determine what transferable skills you already have and what’s missing. What do you need to get from Point A to Point B?
Develop your strategy and work your strategy. The biggest downfall to failed careers everywhere usually boils down to lack of planning. No, I don’t mean submitting a million resumes and waiting for the phone to ring. I mean researching target companies, reaching out to relevant contacts, customizing your resume to the job, and following up. And most importantly, look at how each potential job brings you closer to your final career destination. Job searching in today’s challenging market is no simple task. But by organizing and recording each interaction and setting timelines for the next step, you’ll be prepared when that phone rings, and we guarantee you’ll sound a heck of a lot more credible than if you winged it.
Prepare, practice, and perform. So many people aren’t comfortable speaking about themselves in a way that’s marketable to an employer. Before you embark on the interview process, make sure you have your 60-second narrative down. It’s also a good idea to consult experts during your job search. So many people think they don’t need any help when it comes to their careers or that it’s a sign of weakness to ask. But every person who has attended my interview seminars, for example, has walked away with a completely different outlook on the hiring process. And most secure jobs within weeks of taking it. Never underestimate the power of preparation and practice.
It’s a great time to regroup and decide what you want to accomplish this year. If there were one thing that would make you a better employee or a more qualified candidate, what would it be? Then, make a strategy for achieving it.