Dear Matt: I'm looking for some guidance and motivation heading into 2015. Got any job search or career advice that can help me make it a great year?
Matt says: The possibilities are endless for the job seeker or professional looking to accomplish big things this year. Here are some simple and inexpensive ways to do that:
Network. Set a goal of attending one industry networking event every two months. If you're an introvert or just don't like going to these events, go with a trusted colleague or group of people. But talk to others — not just your group!
Use social media. If you're on LinkedIn, update your profile, review and revamp your skills. Share more status updates and relevant industry news. Use Twitter to follow employers. For example United Health Group (@UHGcareers) provides what they call #tiptuesday, where they provide job seeker tips, such as a link to a recent article on résumé tips straight from UHG recruiters. Connect with employers and be active. Develop your personal brand on LinkedIn and Twitter. And connect with me too via @MattKrumrie.
... and use less social media. Spend less time on Facebook at work. Trust me, you won't miss anything — but you will get more accomplished professionally.
Learn a new skill/technology. Take a class, such as through the Science Museum of Minnesota Computer Education Center (comped.smm.org) on topics such as PowerPoint, Excel, QuickBooks, SEO, HTML and more. Or check out Lynda.com. Look at jobs you would like to apply to. What skills are they looking for that you don't have? Can you take on new projects at work that will help you learn those skills? For job seekers, consider the résumé, interviewing, job search, job club and networking resources offered through the Minnesota WorkForce Center (mn.gov/deed/job-seekers/workforce-centers).
Update your résumé. Even if you aren't looking for a job you need to keep records of your successes: Sales, new technical skills, certifications, awards, major projects completed. Think results, not duties.
Update your references. Are you sure that manager from seven years ago is still the best person to talk about you with your next employer? Does she even know what you are doing these days? Analyze who should be added or removed. For other reference tips go to allisontaylor.com, a premier reference service.
Create a backup plan. If you were offered your dream job or lost your job tomorrow, would you be prepared?
More tips: Use the tools at iseek.org; join a local industry/trade association; complete a mock interview; complete an informational interview with an industry leader; improve your public speaking skills; find a mentor — and volunteer.
Contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.