So Christmas is practically here and gone, and with just over three weeks left to the end of the year, now is the perfect time to start mapping out your career for 2013.
But don’t worry, help is at hand; here’s my A-Z guide to landing your dream job this coming 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 (watch the ending of this great speech by Art Williams to get you fired up – scroll down to 06.48).
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 is 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 masters 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.
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; put it somewhere where you can see it everyday 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”…
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.
L – don’t stop learning - make 2013 your year of learning and commit to being a lifelong learner thereon.
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.
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.
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 in to 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 - be grateful for the things you have and 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 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 kind 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’re a self-proclaimed introvert.
Join an organisation like Toastmasters for a safe place to develop and practice 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 away from the crowds – like in the hidden job market, for example. 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 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 - no, I’m not advocating the reckless YOLO mindset but the truth is you really do only live once so make sure the career you design for yourself is really what you want to be doing with your life.If not, change the blueprint and start over again – even if you’re already years into it. It’s better to discover your passions and use your talents later on in life than never at all.
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!
Your turn: Do you have any additional tips and ideas for landing a dream job in 2013…?