Every New Year is symbolic of a new beginning, a chance to re-focus or start all over again. If you haven’t already mapped out your career path for 2013, now’s a great time to do so, and to help, here’s my A-Z guide to landing your dream job this year – only read on if you’re ready for serious change!
A – TAKE ACTION – Don’t just dream of landing your dream job; take action towards it and do it now. Remember, faith without works is dead! (James 2:26)
B – BE SOCIAL – By this I mean social media; yes, you might be sick of hearing how LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and the rest will fully run the world some day and, as much as I’d like to tell you something different, the truth is social media’s not going away anytime soon, so you might as well embrace it.
C – UPDATE YOUR CV REGULARLY and, while you’re at it, make sure any cover letters you send out are intact, too. With an average of 73 applicants going for every job advertised, you can’t afford to neglect this vital process in landing your dream job.
D – DRESS FOR SUCCESS – A bit of a cliché, I know, but first impressions really do count, so make sure you’re presentable wherever you go; you never know where or when you’ll meet someone who could hold the key to your next career move.
E – EDUCATE YOURSELF – Expanding your knowledge base is another way to stand out in the job market, so do a University or Master’s degree if you need to, or enrol on a short, part-time or even long-distance course in a field related to your industry of choice.
God Himself encourages us to get educated, so “get wisdom; and in all your getting, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7).
F – STAY FOCUSED on your mission, and don’t allow distractions to take you off path if you’re serious about 2013 being your year to land your dream job.
G – If you haven’t SET GOALS before, now’s the time to start. Don’t just think about what you want, write your vision down and make it plain (Habakkuk 2:2); put it somewhere where you can see it every day, and read it out loud to remind you of where you’re going and the actions you need to take to get there.
H – Don’t be afraid to ASK FOR HELP if you need it. This could be as simple as sharing your goals with friends and family, and making yourself accountable to them, or it could be seeking professional help in the form of a careers advisor, careers coach or a CV expert – “Ask, and you shall be given…”(Matthew 7:7).
I – DEVELOP YOUR INTERESTS AND ACTIVITIES – Not only is this a great way to widen your network, it also gives you exciting stuff to talk about on your CV and at the interview, which may help you clinch the job.
J – JOIN RELEVANT GROUPS – on- and offline – relating to your industry of choice so you can keep up-to-date with developments and key contacts. LinkedIn is especially good for this purpose.
K – KEEP ON GOING, even when it gets tough and you’re feeling discouraged from getting more rejection letters than you are job interviews. If you remain persistent and committed, things will eventually turn around for you. Remember, God works all things out for our good (Romans 8:28), so keep on trusting and believing.
L – DON’T STOP LEARNING – Make 2013 your year of learning, and commit to being a lifelong learner. This doesn’t have to be formal education as before, but rather personal development, through reading books, attending seminars, etc. Few things yield a bigger return in investment than taking the time to continually develop yourself as you go along in life.
M – MANAGE YOUR CAREER – Nobody owes you anything in life, so accept full and personal responsibility for creating the type of work life you want, and get going to make it happen. God can only give you the “desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4) if you have desires there in the first place!
N – UTILISE THE POWER OF NETWORKING – Who you know really does count, so make 2013 the year of getting to know people in and out of your industry; start building connections now, and it will pay off later on in life. You can even network with people in your church (just make sure you wait until service finishes first)!
O – Learn to RECOGNISE AND EMBRACE OPPORTUNITIES that come your way. Sometimes the only way to know how good a swimmer you are is to go ahead and dive right into the pool (*Disclaimer: Don’t take this literally; if you can’t swim, get out of that water!)
P -MAINTAIN A POSITIVE ATTITUDE at all times. The Bible encourages us to give thanks to God in all things (Ephesians 5:20), so be grateful for the things you already have and for the opportunities that come your way. Gratitude is a great way to keep your positivity tank topped up, because no matter how bad it is, it really could have been a lot worse.
Q – ASK QUESTIONS of people you admire, or of people working in the organisations you want to enter. Most people like being asked for advice (it gives us a chance to show off how much we know), so go ahead and ask questions; you will broaden your industry knowledge along the way and, in the long run, your contact base.
R – BUILD MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS – Don’t just network for the sake of filling up your address book, or for what you’ll get out of it; aim to build quality and meaningful relationships with people where there is mutual benefit. These kinds of relationships are a lot more fulfilling and rewarding when it comes to advancing your career and landing that dream job.
S – DEVELOP YOUR PUBLIC SPEAKING SKILLS – This is probably one of the most important things you can do for your career and for a better quality of life in general, and it applies even if (or perhaps especially if) you consider yourself an introvert. Join an organisation like Toastmasters for a safe place to develop and practise these skills.
T – THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX – Find ways to do things differently (like sending hand-written cover letters in the post, rather than typing and emailing it like everyone else); explore unconventional career options that still utilise your skills and engages your interests and passions; look for jobs in the “hidden market”, away from the crowds, etc. Make 2013 the year you unleash your creativity!
U – UPSKILL YOURSELF REGULARLY – Keep on developing your existing skills and look for ways to add new skills to your repertoire; the more skilled you are, the more attractive you become to a potential employer and, therefore, the more likely you are to get hired. Aim to be someone who adds value wherever you go.
V – VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME as a way to keep busy, build your skills and to do good – all at the same time. It’s also gives you a good reason to get out of the house from time to time to escape the repetitiveness of constant job hunting.
W – GET SOME WORK EXPERIENCE under your belt – Any experience (preferably within your industry) is better than no experience at all, so don’t be overly fussy.
X – LOSE THE EXCUSES – Overlooking the cheat with the letter x, excuses can be a barrier to your job-seeking success in 2013 unless you determine to put a stop to them once and for all. Don’t make excuses for why you’re not where you want to be; instead, invest that energy into finding out how you can get to your destination, and then take the necessary steps to achieve it.
Y – YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE, so make sure the career you design for yourself is really what you want to be doing with your life. Better still, strive to line it up with the gifts and passions God has deposited inside of you, because those are clues to your greater calling and purpose in life. Remember, it’s only ever too late to start again when you’re dead!
Z – Be willing to STEP OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE from time to time, to experience new things and get new results. This is probably the fastest way to enormous personal growth and awakening gifts and talents you didn’t even know you had!
So there you have it, the A-Z guide to changing your career in 2013. I pray for God’s blessings to guide you as you pursue this course. If you would like help or advice with any aspect of your job-hunting, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mildred Talabi is the founder of CVMakeoverExpert.com and the author of 7 Keys to a Winning CV: How to Create a CV That Gets Results. Subscribe to her blog at www.mildredtalabi.com, and get a free 45-minute audio download on CV writing techniques.