Thursday, January 19, 2012

Make 2012 an Even Better Year For Your Career!

More than half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions; what is your New Year’s resolution?

This year, I resolve to start a blog and write more consistently each month about college planning and career success.

Many times, our resolutions are about health – weight loss, exercise, or quitting some habit we wish we didn’t have.  How about making the best of 2012 by focusing on developing your career?
Making a New Year’s resolution for your career is a great idea for everyone, not just those looking to change careers or looking for a job.

Here are a two great tips to help you prepare you for career spectacular-ness in 2012!

1. Create or update your resume
We hate doing this, don’t we? It’s an administrative task that we have to do instead of something much more fun. And we worry we won’t look ‘good enough’ on it. What if you look at creating or updating your resume as the chance to write a commercial about yourself? Or to document how completely awesome you have been last year (or since your last resume!)?

There are lots of places to get help online to get you started with a resume. I recommend you start by looking at your calendar and writing down all the things you were involved in at work or school. You will be surprised by everything you got done and were involved in – and that will give you a confidence boost.

When you are working on your new and improved resume for 2012, don’t worry about format, just get it started, and it will start to flow (I can give myself this advice when it comes to blogging this year, right?)

2. Create or update your cover letter
Your resume is the most important document in your career materials, but don’t disregard the cover letter. It tells the reader about your writing style and a little bit about your personality. I have seen many young professionals make the mistake of submitting a cover letter that goes something like this: “I am applying for this job. Please find my resume attached.” Now, if you were hiring, what would you think when you saw that cover letter?  Yep, me too, circular file. So don’t do it! Draft a personalized, powerful cover letter; you will always have to customize it for the particular job you want, but having your own template makes writing a customized cover letter so much easier.

So what is your cover letter’s job? The cover letter is your 60 second commercial about YOU; and it provides the reader with more evidence to back up your resume! What are your skills? What makes you different from other people in the career field you are pursuing? Don’t write anything you don’t back up in the resume, or couldn’t answer a specific question about in an interview.  So, be specific and use evidence of how awesome you are. How is the employer or graduate school admissions office supposed to know that YOU are the best person out there for the job/program if you don’t tell them!

Your resume and cover letter are two of the most important tools in your career tool chest.  Set a goal to get them done by the end of January.  And if you need help getting started, or want some advice on your current resume, please feel free to contact AdviseU today.

 Check back in early February for more tips on making 2012 your best career year yet!

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