5 things to take care of before you hit the “GO” button
Happy New Year! So, one of your resolutions (or goals) for 2016 is to find a new job and re-energize your career? Congratulations! This is a great year for change – the economy is strong, unemployment is low, hiring and growing is on the minds of business owners. You might be ready to toss out some feelers and see what happens. But WAIT! Take the time to get your professional “house” in order before launching that search. Here are 5 items to tackle in advance:
1. Get your electronic personas in sync
For the past few years you have used your LinkedIn profile for sporadic business purposes, or maybe even forgot to update it at all. You may have different career statuses or accomplishments listed on various different professional sites. When you launch a job search it’s a good idea for you to review your personas on Meetup, LinkedIn, Google+, Indeed and anywhere else you appear as a professional. Make sure that they are all consistent and are in sync with your current resume. I’m amazed at how many professionals look like two different people on their resume compared with their LinkedIn profile. Don’t make potential employers wonder which is correct – it may lead to too many questions about your abilities and give a reason to pass you by in favor of another candidate.
2. Track down your references
The past few years have been transitional for a lot of the working population. This is a good time to find and reconnect with former managers, clients and colleagues who you will ask to provide reference information for you. You may not be in a position to be open with your current manager about your job search, but you still need to be able to offer references as a condition of hire. Waiting until they are requested will leave you scrambling, especially if you don’t have current contact information. And remember, let these people know you may have people calling them for references, so they can also have time to review your work history and prepare accordingly. It can be more than a little embarrassing when a potential employer calls a reference who is unprepared, or worse, doesn’t remember you at first mention!
3. Clean up your social media
If you’ve been working in the same company for a number of years you probably haven’t paid attention to this. There are silly photos of you out there that you may not want your future manager to see. There may also be photos or mentions of drug or alcohol activities which might put your judgement or character into question (yes, this has happened more than once) and lose you your dream job. Lock them down – or better yet, get rid of them. If you don’t think your future employer will Google you, you are being foolish.
4. Update your accomplishments
You may have been in your current position for a few years now, and some of your all-star moments have fallen into the storage area of your brain. Take time to record your recent accomplishments – add them to your running list. You do have a running list of accomplishments, right? It’s easy! What was the objective; what was your role; and what was the outcome? Quantifiable results are best.
5. Write down what you are looking for
Before you start perusing the job sites or combing thru LinkedIn, take the time to write a list of the characteristics of the next position that will make you deliriously happy. Heck, you might as well shoot for the moon, right? Happy people are more productive, successful and engaged than unhappy people. Take the time to make a list of what you really want. This will keep you from jumping on the first job you come across even if it isn’t the right fit. In my opinion, if you have 10 items on this list, you shouldn’t accept a position that doesn’t check off 8 of your items.
You’ve worked hard in your career and you have a lot to offer your next employer. You also deserve to be happy at work and derive personal satisfaction from your impact. Take time to get organized so that when the right opportunity presents itself you’ll recognize it and be ready to make the most of it. Don’t give potential employers any reason to doubt that you are just the person they have been looking for!
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