Jump Into 2018 With a Plan

December 15th, 2017

The new year is appearing around the bend, and every time the clock resets and the confetti rains down, we all get a chance to start over. It’s a time for new begins, a time to let go of our past mistakes and move forward with our hearts set on better decisions and a brighter future.

In the career management world, this tends to mean one of two things: Either you’re leaving your old job behind and searching for a new one, or you’re buckling down and redoubling your commitment to the job you have. Either you’re facing a transition and 2018 will bring you into a new workplace, or you’re looking for ways to reengage with your current role and bring new passion to your daily tasks.

In either case, the STAR goal-setting system can help. During the remaining days of this year, star putting together a plan based on the STAR acronym and you’ll cross the threshold into next year with your path laid and your ambitions blazing. Keep your goals:

Specific

Instead of setting countless ambiguous goals like “Become more proactive” or “Start Self-Promoting”, try shortening the list and keep each item concrete and specific. Instead of becoming “more proactive”, set your sites on the specific actions you plan to execute each day. Try: “Send out five resumes each day, 25 per week”, or “Contact three network connections by phone each week”. If your plan emphasizes engagement at your current job, try this: “Ask for feedback twice each week” or “Ask to be assigned to the Jones project”. General efforts toward self-promotion might include: “Send out three manuscripts each week to potential agents” or “Start a blog and post one entry per week.”

Trackable

Measure your progress toward your goals as you move through the year. And if this seems impossible, adjust your goals so you can attach numbers to your definition of success. If you’d like to make more sales, track your increased cold calls and presentations. If you’d like to land more interviews, start with your baseline (four per month, for example) and raise that number to five.

Achievable

Unattainable goals are a fast track to discouragement. No matter what you decide to do, break your large goals into milestones, and make sure each milestone isn’t so ambitious that it’s unrealistic. If one of your milestones feels like a stretch, break it down into two or three smaller ones.

Relevant

Keep every step of your path focused toward a realistic and meaningful vision of yourself and your career. Don’t get so bogged down in the details that you forget the larger picture and get lost along the way. For more guidance as you lay out your plan for 2018, contact the career management experts at PSU.

Give Your Entry Level Resume Expert Appeal

October 16th, 2015

What does your resume say about your personality? How about your general work ethic? What might your resume suggest about your sense of responsibility, or your demeanor when you’re interacting with strangers? Whether you realize it or not, your resume offers your employer some important details about who you are and what it might be like to work side by side with you on a daily basis. Even if you’re searching at the entry level and you haven’t spent much time in the working world, your reviewers will read between the lines to get a sense of your personal brand. So make sure you’re sending a clear message and selling yourself while you pitch your credentials. Keep these considerations in mind.

You respect education and lifelong learning.

Make it clear that you’re a flexible, intelligent person with a respect for knowledge and education…even if you don’t have a long list of graduate degrees from Ivy League institutions. A few simple moves can help. Start by placing your “education” section at the top of the page, just under your resume summary and above your work history. This can show a sense of pride in your academic accomplishments, even if you stopped studying after high school. You can also gain ground in this area by listing your non-academic course work, including all recent training sessions and certifications.

You’re committed to your goals.

Your “work history” section should show that you’re a determined person with a sense of direction and purpose. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been working your way up the ladder, or which direction you’ve chosen for your career and your life; it only matters that you have one. If you’ve moved from job to job several times over the last few years, that’s okay. If you’ve never held a “real” job before, that’s okay too. Just frame your history in a way that’s understandable and relevant to the open position on which you’ve set your sights.

You know how to use words.

Communication skills—both written and spoken—are essential to success in almost every imaginable industry. And since you can’t show off your speaking and listening skills until you land a face to face interview, you’ll need to focus on written language as you draft your resume. If you truly feel hopeless as a writer, get some editing help. In the meantime, keep your sentences concise. Get rid of unnecessary adverbs and empty buzzwords. Read your phrases aloud and listen to how they sound. Do they flow naturally and make sense? If not, keep polishing and rewriting until your words reflect who you are and what you can do.

You care about the details.

Small mistakes, including typos and greetings addressed to the wrong person, can suggest that your approach to your work is sloppy and dashed-off. And that’s just not you. Don’t let little errors and a misplaced sense of urgency derail your message. Take your time and get this right.

For more help with your job search, including resume and cover letter guidance, turn to the expert team at PSU.

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