Building Your Career
In today's business environment, now, more than ever, people are responsible for building their own careers. Whether you're just starting out or have several years of experience, here are a few tips to help you advance your career.
Focus on your goals
What do you want to do? What do you do best? A career needs consistency, especially when the world around you is changing so fast. You won't get ahead jumping from fad to fad. Instead, choose an overall career theme such as "project management" or "computer consulting" and stick with it.
Typically, an employer will spend only 15 to 20 seconds reading
your resume. To ensure your resume gets results:
- Market your skills. Emphasize your accomplishments and contributions. Include specific, measurable results if possible.
- Toot your horn. List awards you've won and organizations you belong to.
- Keep it brief. Your resume should be no more than two pages.
- Choose a format. Employers prefer chronological over functional.
- Include keywords. This ensures you'll be found in a database search.
- Proofread. Errors could cost you the chance for an interview. (Perhaps suggest having a friend or colleague review the res.)
A powerful cover letter can make the difference between being invited to an interview or not. Here are a few guidelines to help you write an impressive letter.
- Tailor your letter to the job. A "one-size-fits-all" approach doesn't show genuine interest in the position.
- Make this your sales pitch. Demonstrate why your skills and background are a perfect match for the job requirements.
- Avoid comparisons and clichés. Phrases like "I am a people person" or "Teamwork is my middle name" lack a professional tone.
- Use appropriate stationery. White or ivory with matching envelopes is the accepted standard.
Finding the perfect job
Landing your dream job takes time and effort, but knowing where to look is half the battle.
- Networking. Friends, family and business acquaintances can be valuable job resources throughout your career. Create new networks by attending seminars and roundtables.
- Recruiters. Many specialize in particular industries or job types.
- The Internet. There are new job listings on career sites and individual employer's web sites posted every day.
- Classified ads and job fairs. A good source of information about job qualifications, who's hiring, and what positions are in demand.