Hard to believe that 2020 is coming to an end—this year has definitely been different for most of us. Let’s hope that 2021 allows us to get back to normal—whatever that might look like going forward. As you prepare for year end, there are a number of things that you can be doing to move your career to that next step:
• Work on reaching out to your network. The end of the year is a great time to catch up with people you likely haven’t seen in months—or had occasion to interact with. Send holiday cards if you’re able; and if you do so, be sure to include a personal note. It doesn’t have to be long; a sentence or two to acknowledge the recipient.
• Add your 2020 accomplishments to your resume. The end of the year is a great time to reflect on your achievements. Try to identify 2-3 ways you added value to your employer this year—and quantify it. Add those new achievements to your resume.
• Review your LinkedIn Profile. If it doesn’t include your current job, add it. If you haven’t customized your LinkedIn URL, do so (see: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/87/customize-your-public-profile-url?lang=en); it will make your profile more professional—and your new LinkedIn URL to your resume. Make sure that you have a professional photo, you have key words for your industry in the About section, and your headline (the words under your name) are other than the default which lists your job title. Doing these things will likely take you less than 30 minutes.
• Assess your gaps. Are you missing a critical skill? Certification? Something else? Write down what you’re missing and make a plan to address it. For best success, take specific action: sign up for a class, find a buddy to hold you accountable, schedule time to practice what needs improvement.
• Unhappy in your job? First, try to figure out why. Next, assess your strengths, weaknesses, and be honest—take an assessment if you need to. Identify what you want to do and whether you have the existing skills and experience to do so. If not, make a written plan to close those gaps and implement it.
• Practice interviewing. Ask a friend or a colleague to give you a practice interview and record it. Spend 45 minutes (or longer) on your practice interview. You can use Zoom, Skype, or another platform—the platform doesn’t matter but the practice does. And when you watch your “interview,” do so critically and write down what you could do better—and practice again.
• Identify what you wish you had done this year. And resolve to do it next year.
• Prepare your answer to, “what do you do?” Everyone needs a good answer to this question. Make your answer interesting and engaging. Think about using this formula to craft your answer: what do you do/what you want to do + why you’re good at it + value you add.
Wishing you and your loved ones a safe, healthy, and joyous holiday season!