It is time to look forward to 2012. Regardless of 2011 happenings and all its trials and tribulations, 2012 is upon us and now is the time to think about how best to approach the year with regards to your career or job search.
Here are some ideas that you might want to consider:
1. If you are actively searching for a job, make a serious evaluation of your 2011 search. What worked, what didn’t, what successes did you have, what are the strong points to your search and what areas need to be improved in 2012?
2. Dust off the old resume and update it. All professionals should maintain an updated resume. Even if you are not searching this is just prudent. It is useful to ensure when you do need one that it is ready, as it reduces the stress of trying to remember what happened in the past, and helps to identify whether or not you are growing or doing the same thing you did last and the year before that.
3. From the resume, step back and take a look at your career and either update or create your career plan. Remember the 6 Ps – Prior Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. This is true in business and in your career. You should be able to answer some basic questions:
A. What are your career goals for 2012? This doesn’t have to be advancement to the next level. It could be what additional experience, training or skills you would need to reach your goal.
B. If advancement is your goal, are you able to get the right experience in your current company? When you write your resume and find you have been doing the same things for the last 2 years you may need to reconsider. Did you add to your marketability in 2011? This doesn’t mean in terms of dollars or rands. In today’s market, getting a job without going backwards is a good thing. So are you more employable today than a year ago?
C. What experience, skills, or training, does your boss have that will help you be qualified for their position?
4. Write out a job description that meets your goals for 2012. Include the additional experience you need to move your career forward. For example, manage people, participate in system implementation, additional experience in running a trade show, experience in assisting with union negotiations, international sales experience, these are all examples of some experience to include in a job description.
5. Schedule a 1-2-1 with your boss. This should be a separate meeting from your annual review. Make it clear that this meeting is about you and your career. Sit down and do some career planning with your supervisor. Discuss the issues in #3 above. Is your manager willing to help you get this experience? If so good, if not, then you have a decision to make. It is possible that your manager may be able to provide some additional experience you never thought about obtaining.
6. Identify at least two organizations you will actively participate in. If you already belong to a professional association then become an active member. Active means attending at least 80% of the meetings, serving on a committee, becoming a board member, etc. Do whatever it takes so that people in these groups get to know you and know you well. These associations are prime hunting grounds for recruiters looking for top talent.
7. Consider serving on a nonprofit board. This serves the community, makes you feel good, helps others, and it helps with getting more people to know you and your abilities. Great referral sources.
8. Consider working with a certified career coach. Highly skilled career coaches can really help. They help you clarify the issues above and assist you in making a plan that makes sense to you.
9. If you are in a job search get an accountability partner. We have two articles available to help you identify the characteristics of a good accountability partner and the duties, tasks and responsibilities of a good partner.
10. Identify the resources you need in 2012 to advance your career. What books, classes, white papers, etc., do you need to make sure you stay on your career path? There are a wealth of resources and tools, many of which are free on the Internet, to help you with your career plan.
11. Implement. Planning is great, but absolutely worthless without execution. Set up some 30, 60 and 90 day goals. Once they are achieved, then schedule out the next 30, 60 and 90 day goals. Trying to schedule a year out leads to, “I will do that next month as I still have plenty of time.” Before you know it, the year is over. Short term goals are easier to manage and achieve.
2012 is a great year to take control of your job search or career. There are so many resources to help you, that all you need to do is take control and do it.