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Time for a career tune-up! (Part 1)

Updated: Oct 12, 2022

Here we are – well into the second half of 2022. It’s hard to believe, but fall begins in just a couple of weeks!

September is a transition month. It marks the end of summer and the start of fall. For many, it marks the beginning of a new school year or the end of a fiscal year.

Traditionally, September also marks a shift in the job search landscape. Hiring typically slows in June, July, and August. Vacations are common during these months, and hiring managers often don’t want to work around travel and vacation schedules for scheduling interviews, potential start dates, and onboarding.

But September and October are two of the best months to look for a job!

If you’ve been thinking about looking for a new position or need to breathe new life into your job search, now is the time to do it!

Before you start perusing the job boards or hit the “Easy Apply” button on that LinkedIn job posting you saved, consider doing a career tune-up.

A career tune-up is much like a tune-up you might schedule for a car. It’s preventive maintenance to make sure everything continues to perform well. It helps you determine whether something is wrong (before you find yourself stranded on the side of the road!) and keeps vital systems from breaking down. Mechanics will tell you that regular tune-ups help extend the life of your car.

As your career coach, I’m here to tell you that regular career tune-ups can help enhance the performance and long-term trajectory of your career!

Even if you’re not looking for a new position, career tune-ups are a great way to manage your professional development and goals proactively. I suggest doing this quarterly but choose a cadence that works best for you and where you are on your career journey.

This month, we’ll walk through the steps of a basic career tune-up. I’ll share the first two steps here and invite you to come back in a couple of weeks for the remaining steps.

Let’s get started!

Step 1. Revisit your goals

Starting here is key. Knowing where you are relative to where you want to be will inform the rest of your tune-up.

If you don’t have your goals documented somewhere, do that first. Whether you write them down in a journal or type them in your favorite note-taking app, documenting your goals is essential for making progress toward them.

People who write their goals down accomplish significantly more than those who don’t write their goals. And the more detail you can add to your goals, the better.

As you review your goals, make sure they’re still SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Do you need to make your goals more specific? Do your goals still align with your values? Do you need to adjust the end date for your goal so it’s more realistic and attainable?

Edit your goals as needed. You may find that you need to chunk your goals down into smaller pieces. Or, you could find that you need to wipe the goals slate clean and start over in some places. Don't be afraid to do either – the idea is for you to work your goals, not for your goals to work you.

Then, reflect on what’s going well and what’s not going so well. Journal the lessons you’ve learned and what you need to do to stay the course.

While I encourage you to focus on doing more of what's working, it's also important to make note of any adjustments needed to get back on track if you find yourself further away from achieving your goals than you’d like to be.

If you’re not sure of what adjustments you need to make, start by noting where you think things started to veer off-course. Reflect on what was happening at that time. Think about what was going on at work and at home, as well as your corresponding behaviors and emotions. How might you handle things differently moving forward? What resources do you need to help you course correct?

Give yourself as much time as you need to review your goals. If you find yourself stuck, check in with a mentor, trusted colleague or friend, or coach to walk through your thoughts or get feedback.

Step 2. Update your resume

While progress toward your goals is fresh on your mind, it’s the perfect time to update your resume!

Have you ever found an exciting job announcement or had someone reach out about an opportunity only to realize you couldn’t respond right away because your resume didn’t reflect your latest position or recent accomplishments?

Not a good feeling!

Imagine how much more quickly you could submit a strong application for an unexpected opportunity if you already had the most recent version of your resume on hand.

"Success is where preparation and opportunity meet" ~Bobby Unser

Review every section of your resume and add any new roles, activities, and accomplishments since your last update. If you’ve made progress toward your goals, make sure it’s appropriately reflected on your resume.

Then, as a bonus activity, use your resume to identify growth opportunities. One way to do this is to use your goals assessment to determine whether there are specific types of professional experiences that might help you move the needle toward achieving your goals.

Or, think about your dream job. If you were to apply today, what would need to be included on your resume to reflect your readiness for the role? You might find that a workshop focused on a specific skill, professional rotation at work, or volunteer role will provide the bump you need to achieve your goals or position yourself for that next opportunity.

Once you’ve figured out what that missing piece is, create an action plan to get it done and move you closer to where you want to be.

Career Elevation Tip: Whenever you update your resume, make sure you also update your LinkedIn profile!

That’s it for now. Spend the next couple of weeks revisiting your goals and updating your resume. I'll be doing the same! Leave a comment or send me an email to let me know how it goes!

See you soon!

Dr. K


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