It’s an annual tradition that as December draws to a close and the New Year hoves into view, you start to re-evaluate your life before the Christmas decorations have even come down.
It’s a time for reflection and to make resolutions as you ponder the fresh start a New Year could bring – you might pledge that you’re going to lose weight, stop smoking or even land a new job.
As a result, you can’t move for motivational self-help articles telling you what you need to change if you’re going to have any kind of happiness and fulfilment – in your career or otherwise - in the year ahead.
Well, I think it’s time to ditch the clichéd ‘New Year, New You’ thoughts for 2018 and focus on what’s already great about you instead.
After all, telling yourself you need a ‘New Year, New You’ makeover implies that old you is a bit rubbish – and that’s not true is it? And to paraphrase the wise and witty author Vern McLellan, what the New Year will bring very much depends on what YOU bring to the New Year.
When it comes to improving your career prospects, whether it’s to get a pay rise, a new position, a move into a different industry or the job of your dreams, you don't need to change - you just need to be better at celebrating your skills, experience and achievements. It’s not you who needs a makeover – but the chances are your CV needs one. And now is a great time to do it before the January jobs rush starts.
Most of us have time off over Christmas and New Year, so while you munch those mince pies, think about whether you love your job - or are you just coasting? Do you have the right work/life balance? How are you going to get that next promotion? Do you want to get a new job entirely?
Then it’s time to tackle your CV to show how much you have achieved in your career so far.
You need to tweak your CV for each job application – you must always consider the employer, the nuances of the role and the skills required. But it’s a great idea to craft a generic CV that can then be adapted accordingly.
Rather than binge on another box set in front of the fire, brainstorm your achievements to date at work and write down as much detail as possible. Give it 24 hours or so and more will come to you. Once you have enough info, you can start to sift through it and start to frame your individual impacts and achievements in the best terms on your CV, using as many stats, facts and figures as possible.
Do you have some good examples of your positive impact with previous employers? Do your examples showcase the skills for which you want to be remembered? Are the examples strong enough?
Are there common themes within your CV – industry, type of employer, or roles? It’s highly likely that there are some common themes and analysing these might help you to decide your next steps – do you want to stay in this industry, use your skills in a different area or go back to a business you used to work in? Or do something completely different?
Looking at your CV with fresh eyes over the festive season, as I talked about in my last blog post, will not only allow you to identify gaps within it, but perhaps also within your experience, training and skills. When you throw into the mix your future aspirations, you can look to address all of this in 2018.
Once you’ve got your CV up to scratch – I’ve given some more tips here - then it’s time to make sure your LinkedIn profile sparkles too and brush up on your interview technique to reflect this new found positivity as the New Year dawns.
Making a New Year’s resolution is one thing, but seeing it through is where the hard work starts. So make a resolution to show off the Best You, rather than a New You, to give yourself the best chance of landing the job of your dreams in 2018. Then it really will be a Happy New Year…