As we get closer to the end of 2012, things are undoubtedly getting busier for you at work. However, don’t allow that fact to divert you from your goal of finding a stronger job opportunity either internally or outside of your current company. There are several things that you can do during your downtime that will greatly improve your job search. Here are nine steps to improve those career prospects:
1. Understand your strengths
We each have unique selling propositions that differentiate us from our competition. You should spend some time considering what sets you apart, and how you can utilize these strengths on your current job and with any future employment. There are numerous tests online that you can take to measure your abilities.
When you know your core strengths, you will be better able to sell yourself during an interview, and when you apply them at work, you increase your chances of being noticed for achievement and promotion.
2. Update your information
You should boost your career potential by doing a little research, keeping in touch with the latest techniques and the newest products. This would include reading industry related reviews and exploring product and customer reviews.
3. Visit the app store
Take the long weekend to organize your job search using the newest technology. There are numerous applications available for tablets (Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom), e-readers (Kindle, Nook), and smart phones that allow for customized delivery of industry news from websites, blogs, and social media websites such as LinkedIn offer apps designed to keep you informed about industry trends, breaking news, and career opportunities.
4. Read a self-improvement book
Take the opportunity to pick up a book on leadership or organization in order to work on personal character development. If you’re unsure of what you should read, reach out to a friend or colleague for recommendations. Take the newly cultivated information and be prepared to implement some fresh ideas that will bring your career forward.
5. Update your resume
Time to dust off that old resume and bring it up to date. Or call in a professional for a complete overhaul to better emphasize your achievements. After all, your resume and online presence (LinkedIn profile, etc.) are not a recycled collection of outdated career facts; they are all about personal branding and providing your current and future employers a solid expression of what you have to offer.
6. Give yourself a hand
Take stock of how far you’ve already come. Take a moment to write down at least three to four things you have reason to be proud of and three to four things for which you should be thankful. Notice what has been going well so that you can build on those positives in the coming weeks.
7. Search for training
Find a certification or training program that will likely enhance your career and get started. You probably won’t have sufficient time in a single weekend to complete an entire program, but nevertheless you can research programs and begin preparations.
8. Prepare for a one-on-one with your boss
Share your career goals with your boss. Many professionals can enlist the aid of their boss in achieving their career aspirations, so talk with them and let them know about your career focus. But take some time to prepare, including specifics like tasks or projects you can take on that would help you move in the right direction.
9. Give volunteering a try
Before you change careers or fields, it’s sometimes helpful to undertake a related volunteer opportunity. Volunteer or apprentice for a few days in your field of interest so that you can gain insight as well start to develop your career change resume. This will also allow you the opportunity to network those already in the industry.
Following these steps will greatly improve the effectiveness of your job search.