Call me crazy, but presidential election day always sparks enthusiasm. New beginnings, especially on the eve of entering a lame duck period. If there is still the possibility of the incumbent being elected there is always a risk of stagnancy. Come 2017, we WILL have a new president. And it got me thinking about jobs and careers, and all the things that people like me write about. It also got me thinking about WHAT things should you deVOTE your time to for a better career and opportunity (Clever, huh?) 44 is not arbitrary.
Inspiration can come from the mundane or commonplace. Inspiration could be fleeting, or episodic and prompt you to spend minutes to weeks; Devotion isn’t really a measure of time – it’s just the acknowledgement of what matters most in achieving an objective. You could devote yourself to writing a cover letter in getting a better job or career, but there is no saying how long that could or should take. It needs to be done (yes, it will be on our list). Similarly, investing in your trade. Taking classes or reading books. Spending 5 or 10 minutes daily has benefits, but not necessarily better – or worse – than someone who reads 1 hour per day. Okay, so now that we have set the stage – Let’s derive the list. Do you agree with what we have below?
- Your Resume. This one should have been a no-brainer. You need a resume for a new opportunity and even a promotion.
- Planning. Use a planner. Don’t try to retain everything in your head. Not enough of us truly plan. If you don’t plan for what is next, how do you know if you are meeting your goals? You have goals, right?
- Wardrobe. Most interviews you cannot show up with no shoes or no shirt (no problem)… unless you are Kenny Chesney. Invest in atleast one good suit or professional attire.
- Good email addresses for job hunting purposes. Please, no firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Resumes even cringe at the thought of this.
- Reliable technology. Now you really don’t need laptops, iPads, Smart Phones, PCs, and every tech advice under the sun. You need just one of these things. You need to be able to type up a Resume, Cover Letter, and references. AND, you need to be able to send it (them). Pony Express is a 404 error.
- Cover Letter. Another no-brainer. Did you see our recent Blog Post on constructing a Cover Letter?
- Purchasing a Coffee Maker. Why? You are a coffee drinker, right? Instead of spending money at popular establishments you would be surprised how much you can save. Stay awake. Produce high quality content.
- Books on your trade. Always be learning. Things change. Or you change.
- Just good books. Look, you cannot eat, live, drink, and breathe business or work 24 hours a day. I know that is popular to say in Social Media, but it just isn’t true. Heck, look at 11.
- TV. Yes, for those of us who don’t like books or to read too much there is this square invention in your living room. For me, one of my favorite past times away from work. Seinfeld, sitcoms, sports, CNN; I have a few “go-tos”. How about you? Time away from the grind will make you more productive and that is why it made this list.
- Teamwork. You can never do it on your own. Engaging in teamwork is a sought after skill to get to the next level. Even harder to execute, when it’s with people in which you don’t see eye to eye.
- Volunteering. This could be inside or outside of work. Always raise your hand, when leadership is looking for someone. Volunteering leads to promotion. “Does anyone want to help with”… PICK ME.
- References. Always have them ready. Make sure THEY know they are being used as references. Choose wisely.
- Salary history. This doesn’t need to be anything too detailed. Usually isn’t needed for an interview or anything like that. More or less, something for you to have – so you don’t forget the “jumps” 5 or more years from now. Does anyone remember what they were making 5 years ago? Why do it? It can help with getting that sought after salary increase. You HAVE TO know the numbers.
- Recommendation Letters. Not quite the same as references. People who write recommendations LIKELY would be references, but the reciprocal is not true. Seek out influencers and leaders in your circle who will do this for you. It is worthwhile.
- Family. YES, of course. It is spending time with family and loved ones that makes you realize why you work. AND, why you are interested in a better career and opportunity. Thanks to my beautiful wife, Cheryl.
- Hobby. We covered books and TV earlier, but a hobby – in this context – is for physical activity. Think jogging, yoga, weightlifting, skiing. Always good to have a way to work off tension. Tennis anyone?
- Job Research. You have to devote time to doing research to know what opportunities are available. There are thousands of job boards and a sea of media, which can make this harder than you think. See 20.
- Pick a few job sites. I always suggest a job board that has many other jobs or third-party platforms feeding into it. Example: Indeed.com. You don’t need 15 sites. Focus your search. FOCUS.
- Websites that make you go ahhh… How about a site like Bizzeebobber.com? Okay, one shameless plug. Sue me.
- Comfortable furniture. If you are like me, it is easy to be hunched over as you type away. Not good for the back. Quasimodo-like. And the wrist? Are you using a setter or apparatus to make things easier on your wrist? Comfortable furniture plays a role more than you think. If you are uncomfortable, you are less likely to spend adequate time doing the Job Research.
- Career Blog. We are trying to get to 44 here. I need atleast a few shameless plugs. Raise your hand if you knew this was a Career blog? Bueller? Sign-up to be added to our newsletter. No, really.
- Briefcase / Handbag. Male or female – you need a professional way to carry your resume into the interview. Don’t have it in your hand and riding solo. It should be accompanied by a notepad, pen, transcripts, and take the interview process seriously. Hmm… there are a few more items to add to this list.
- Transcripts (Don’t worry about College Transcripts if you have been working in the field for more than 5 years – this one is more purposeful for a New Grad)
- “Thank You” letters / Stationary. Thank You letters POST interview can be done via a simple email to each interviewer, but going the extra mile is a hand-written note. Thus, you need professional Stationary. Nothing too over the top.
- LinkedIn profile. To be competitive, make sure you have a strong profile. Employers will look at this maybe just after they google your name.
- Google proofed existence (Facebook, etc.). What will an employer find, if they looked up your name right now? You better know the answer before they do.
- Education. Take classes. Finish your MBA. These things will never hurt you. If you hear comments that you are OVER-QUALIFIED now, GREAT! This just means you need to target higher paying jobs.
- Licenses. Not every industry, but for select industries they do make a difference. CPA is one of the most popular. CFA is another. It is recognition that you took your career a step further. Some occupations REQUIRE it. Example: Stockbroker License.
- Certificates. This was made popular 10+ years ago with the various technology certificates. You could do Certificates in Data Management, System Administration, Healthcare IT, and more. Again, never hurts to devote time into getting a certificate. Make sure to add this to your resume, too.
- Job search and career goals
- Networking. This is really the top way to get a new opportunity and go further in your career. Don’t be just an email sender. Developing relationships takes more work.
- Get a good recruiter. They have to be working on your behalf. Two way street. Have they provided you with any opportunities in the past month?
- Voting for the 44th president (Counting Grover just once) of the United States. Be heard. Even if your candidate isn’t chosen, it’s about your rights. Hoping to influence your next steps.
I realize this is a bit off the grid for a career blogger. But, even career bloggers should diversify every so often. The lesson is in being original and different. Not being more of the same. Having character. Or is it characters? More to come in 2017… from our Ballyhoozoo brand.