Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut? Are you ready to make a few changes in your life? If so, you might be ready for a career makeover. A career makeover can refresh your professional outlook, invigorate your career, or give you’re the confidence to explore the job market to find a more fulfilling career.
What is a career makeover? A career makeover involves revamping your outlook, job skills, and career goals to improve your existing job or give you the qualifications and motivation to search for a better job. An effective career makeover begins by making a complete assessment of your current job, expertise, and career goals.
Reasons to Try a Career Makeover
1. You’ve outgrown your current position.
Maybe your skills and qualifications have changed since you started your current job, or maybe your job is no longer compatible with your lifestyle and goals. Either way, a career makeover can match your job to your experience, training, and talents. If you have completed further education, received specialized training or certification, or have gained substantial experience in your field, you are a perfect candidate for a career makeover.
2. You want to advance to a different position.
Do you ever feel like your career opportunities are at a standstill? A career makeover is the perfect opportunity to boost your job status and advance into a more desirable position. Many people stay with their current jobs due to a fear of failure, but a career makeover can give you the confidence, knowledge, and motivation to finally make that leap toward a more fulfilling job.
3. You want a job with better benefits/salary/location/schedule.
A career makeover can also help you if your current job does not match your needs in terms of benefits, salary, location, and schedule. Most job seekers know that salary isn’t everything, but considering these factors now can help you recognize great job opportunities and avoid unfavorable ones. If you have specific needs for health benefits, retirement, job location, or family-related issues, you need to consider how these factors will influence your career choice.
How to Achieve a Career Makeover
1. Assess your goals.
Make a list of the things that are important to you. Do you need to express yourself creatively at work? Do you need a job that provides stability? Look for similarities on your list. Are there any patterns or parallels among the items you listed? Try to think of ways that these goals and needs might affect your choice of career. The first step in finding your dream job is to discover what drives you, fuels your passions, and fulfills your sense of purpose.
2. Boost your credentials.
Ask your current employer if they offer tuition reimbursement for continued education. If not, obtain a copy of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if you qualify for government grants or student loans. Many community colleges, technical schools, and universities offer workforce-training courses that could help your career makeover. Which courses should you take? Look for classes that offer certification in your field or those that can improve your job skills, such as English, accounting, or management courses.
3. Increase your career network.
Networking can be the single-most important step of your career makeover. Career contacts can offer mentoring, advice, and leads on job opportunities. Who should be part of your career network? Your network can include friends, family, current coworkers, former employers and coworkers, and more.
4. Update your professional image.
While you only get one chance to make a first impression, the image you project each day can have a major impact on your career. Your professional image involves far more than mere outward appearance, although you should always strive to look your best. Your professional image also includes your communication style, nonverbal signals, leadership qualities, and projected confidence. How do you measure up? Take note of the areas where you are strongest, but also consider the areas where you could make improvements.
What Can a Career Makeover Do for Me?
1. Improve your job marketability.
Today’s job market is becoming increasingly competitive, so it is absolutely vital that you maintain an edge over the competition. A career makeover will help you discover your strengths, update your job credentials, and give you the professional image to make you a desirable to employers and hiring committees.
2. Increase your network.
A strong career network is more important than ever. Building contacts with potential mentors can give you an important edge over other potential candidates.
3. Enhance your resume.
After you have completed your career makeover, your resume will need an update as well. Prepare a standard resume that showcases your unique strengths and talents, details your accomplishments and credentials, and highlights your experience. Now, as you approach each potential employer, tailor your resume to showcase how your goals and abilities would be an asset to the company.
Strangely enough, many prospective employees don’t prepare for job interviews with the same diligence that they put together a resume. In many respects the interview is even more important than the resume. Certainly, you won’t even get to the interview without a good resume, but a good interview is what ultimately makes or breaks you getting the job.
Just as you’ve gone through your resume and summarized the most salient points from your job history, you should have a clear idea of what you want to express in an interview. Go through your resume again and decide the most important points that you want to cover in an interview.
An interview needs to be as concise as a resume. If you don’t have a clear idea about what you want to say ahead of time, nerves may get a hold of you and you’ll be in danger of incoherence. Worse case scenario, of course, but it is vitally important to speak with confidence and forcefulness. Having a basic script before you enter an interview is a sure fire way to make this possible.
One way to do this is to write a short essay about your work experience. At first this can be a general assessment of your skills, talent, and experience. Later you can cater this to each individual interview—covering topics that are directly related to the job. Writing out potential interview answers is good practice for the interview. If you’re not comfortable writing an extended assessment of yourself, then speak into a tape recorder. Another method is to act out an interview with someone close to you.
These tactics are mainly useful if you are just beginning to enter the workforce. After a series of interviews, you’re likely to get the hang of it. Like anything, good interviewing takes practice. However, you should never stop preparing for an interview. Every company is different so you should have answers that specifically address the job you’re applying for.
There are some issues that can only partially be prepared for in advance. For instance, you have to be able to read your interviewer, and this can only be done once you get to the interviewer. Some interviews will have a good chemistry, some will not: that’s a fact of life. But there are ways to make the most out of an interview even if it doesn’t seem to be going well.
You must be able to adapt to the personality of the interviewer. If your original game plan doesn’t seem to be working, change tactics. You should have a few different answers for the same question. Some interviewers may not want a laundry list of experience and former responsibilities. Some interviewers may be more generally goal-oriented—what you hope to achieve, what you want out of life, rather than how many words you can type a minute. Your interview must correspond to the interviewers personality type.
Some other things you can do to prepare for an interview: iron your clothes, look presentable, and shine those shoes. The last one can actually be very important. Believe it or not, some interviewers take a lot from the state of a person’s shoes. Finally, turn off your cell phone. It can be rude and unprofessional to have a cell phone go off in the middle of an interview.
You’ve probably known someone who seems to have it all. Their career appears to be in a never-ending upward spiral. How do these people find such success, accolades, and achievement? The key to an unstoppable career is to create career momentum that will help you grow and flourish in your profession.
Career momentum requires resolve, tenacity, and a confidence in your own abilities. Find your strong points, establish your goals, and be your own greatest advocate in order to build the career momentum that will catapult you toward a more successful career. No matter what field you are in, finding this success can increase your opportunities, job fulfillment, and long-term career stability.
How Can You Find Career Momentum?
1. Establish Clear Goals
You cannot build up career momentum if you don’t have a clear idea of what you want. What do you hope to achieve during your career? Make a list of things you enjoy doing and things you have always dreamed of doing. Even if these aspirations seem unreachable now, building your career momentum can set you on the path toward achieving these goals.
2. Develop a Plan
Creating career momentum requires a realistic plan that will help you achieve your goals. Let’s suppose that your ultimate goal is to start your own consulting practice. What are some steps you can take now that will payoff in the future? You might need to take additional courses, receive specialized training or certification, or obtain more experience in your field. Devise a plan that details the specific steps you will take and set approximate dates for when you want to have each step accomplished.
3. Stay Focused and Motivated
It’s all too easy to get sidetracked by the daily grind or our personal lives. Maintain your focus and motivation by rewarding yourself when you take steps toward reaching your goals. Look for sources of inspiration in books or a respected mentor and consult with them when you need to recharge your career momentum.
4. Be Confident
One of the most important keys to finding career momentum is to have confidence in your own talents and abilities. No one is going to act as your advocate if you don’t project the confidence that makes people believe in you. If your not feeling particularly confident, think about some of your unique accomplishments and skills. Focus on these characteristics and make sure that others see your talent in these areas.
5. Be Professional
Leaving an impression on your employer, co-workers, and clients is one of the most important steps to build career momentum. How can you make sure that people remember you? Maintain a professional image that projects your talents, confidence, and capability.
The Payoffs of Career Momentum
Recognize that the ultimate payoffs of career momentum take time. Think of your career momentum as a slowly rolling snowball. While it may start off small, it will continue to grow and expand and you gain more confidence, experience, and success. Taking the time to get your career momentum rolling now can lead to satisfying rewards in the future.