Don’t tell me, because I’m about to guess. Your New Year’s Resolution to lose a few pounds? It’s been broken already hasn’t it? Sure it has! You’re only human after all! And that other resolution; the one where you said that this is the year you’re not going to destroy your health by running yourself into the ground with work? Remember that? It only lasted until the second day back from vacation didn’t it? And here you are again on last year’s treadmill.
Am I psychic? No. It just sounds like me that’s all!
So okay those goals perhaps weren’t realistic, or perhaps you didn’t want them as much as you thought you did when you were kicking back with friends and relaxing on your vacation. But here we are and it’s nearly the end of January. If you had a resolution to get a job, or change your existing job, or even to take your career to the next level, just what have you done about it? You created the desire at New Year, but did you ask yourself the question “How?”
First and probably the most important thing you need to get right in your head is “What do I really want to do?”
Seem obvious? Perhaps not. Some of the worst decisions we ever make about our careers are the ones where we close our eyes, jump and hope for the best.
- Don’t like my boss? I’ll just tell him off and just find something else!
- I hate my job! I can’t stand it anymore so I’m going to leave. I’ll take anything; anything will do!
- I’m just going to write a “general” resume so I can play the field and apply for a lot of different jobs. I have a lot to offer!
I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard those comments throughout my 20-year career! And you know what? Without a plan, without a vision, without giving it some strong thought, these pronouncements are as useless as those New Year’s Resolutions you made that didn’t make it past the first week.
Some of the worst career decisions are made through a series of knee-jerk reactions. Hate the job, just leave! But where? What to? How do you know that the next job is not going to be exactly the same? Are you going to leave that one too?
What about giving it a bit of thought? Ask yourself… “What is it I dislike about this job? What specifically? Is it the tasks, the industry, the type of people I deal with? Is it the repetitive nature of the tasks? Have I been here before? Did I start this job because I didn’t like the last one? Am I forming a pattern here? Am I going to find myself right back in the same position again?”
These are questions you need to explore and examine. If you’ve been in four jobs as an Executive Secretary and have hated them all, despised the work and jumped from one to the next, then perhaps, just perhaps you need a rethink. What do you think you’d like to do and what steps do you have to take to reach that goal? Before you start jumping into the unemployment queue and end up at an equally depressing workplace as the one you have now, take a step back and examine what keeps going wrong and what you really want and like to do. You may find it a revelation if you’re honest with yourself.
Don’t have a plan in mind but you’re going to write your resume anyway because you need a job? If so, you need to rethink that strategy pronto! A resume is a marketing document. It markets you! Your skills appeal to only a small and specific segment of the employment market. If you’re not a qualified doctor for instance, you’re not capable of fulfilling that role; same with a lawyer, a cook, a tax accountant, an astronaut, an engineer or a horticulturalist. So you don’t just want a “general” resume to “get anything” because a great deal of the roles out there you don’t even come close to qualifying for. If you’re like most people, you don’t have a vast amount of skills that could be applied to a diverse range of roles. Most people tend to know what they have going for them and there are only a certain amount of jobs that they are qualified for enough that someone would want to pay money for them to perform.
So clearly this “general” resume is a fantasy. What you need is to channel your existing skills into a role that you have a good chance of being successful in and one that you like. If you’ve done your homework and you have come to terms with what it is you like and what you are good at doing, then you’re able to take the next step in your plan, and write what you know; target the audience you want to purchase your services.
If you’re getting good at this introspection then cast your mind forward to the end of this year. Where would you like to be? What would you like to be doing? If it is another job, what do you have to do to get there? If you don’t know, how will you find out? Could a careers counsellor help? Or could you search for training and professionals in the field who would be able to direct you? Sound like a plan?
The problem with New Year’s Resolutions is that while the resolution for change is there, the underlying question of “How” is never asked or explored. And without the “how” and the processes for developing a plan to make it happen, those resolutions are forgotten in the time it’s taken you to make them.
Make 2010 the year you plan!
“A Careers Collective Topic” I’m part of an incredible group of career professionals. We call ourselves the Career Collective and we post once a month on a specific career-related topic. See all my colleagues articles at the end of this article. You can also follow us on #careercollective at Twitter. Let’s read what the other Career Collective members have offered on this theme!
Walter Akana @walterakana Starting anew – Tips for truly managing your career
Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter @ValueIntoWords Is your job search strategy a snore?
Dawn Bugni @DawnBugni Ya, but
Chandlee Bryan @Chandlee Starfish, JobAngels, and Making a Difference
Martin Buckland @MartinBuckland, @EliteResumes Career Trends and Transition 2010
Katharine Hansen PhD @kat_hansen New Year: Time to Assess Yourself and Your Career
G L Hoffman @GLHoffman A Flash of the Blindingly Obvious
Heather Huhman @heatherhuhman Job seekers: 5 tips for making the most of 2010
Erin Kennedy @ErinKennedyCPRW Advice to Job Seekers in 2010–learn Yoga?
Rosalind Joffe @WorkWithIllness Dogs Can Do It, Can You?
Susan Joyce @JobHuntOrg Lifelong Learning for Career Security
Meg Montford @KCCareerCoach The Art of Being Gracious: Much Needed in Today’s Job Search
Hannah Morgan @careersherpa The Year of the Tiger
Heather Mundell @heathermundell Kaizen and the Art of Your Job Search
Barbara Safani @barbara safani Looking Into the 2010 Careers Crystal Ball
Miriam Salpeter @keppie_careers Help for job seekers in a rut
Andy Robinson @AndyInNaples What are you getting better at? Make This the Year You Become the Best You Can Be.
Rosa Vargas @resumeservice The Resume and Your Social Media Job Search Campaign
Debra Wheatman @DebraWheatman Making the most of a new year