Ah, spring: It’s a time of renewal and new beginnings, and just as that means scrubbing up your home and boxing up all those winter clothes you no longer wear, it’s a great opportunity to “make yourself a better job candidate.” So says Forbes writer Susan Adams, and in a helpful post titled “10 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Career,” she offers tips for doing just that. Read on for a summary of her advice.
1. Take Stock — It’s the obvious first step, and it’s also pretty difficult. Sit down and take a hard look at your career. Do you like going to work every day? Are you satisfied? Stimulated? Are you pursuing your professional dreams?
2. Look Forward — If you answered “no” to the questions in No. 1, it’s time to start thinking about your next move. “The most effective thing you can do to get to your next job is get a sense of where you should be going,” says Five O’Clock Club career coach Win Sheffield. You don’t have to figure everything out, but this is a chance to think about what interests you and perhaps figure out ways to make your current job more stimulating.
3. Spruce Up That Resume — Get rid of tired phrases, use numbers to showcase your achievements, and include some keywords, as companies sometimes use computers to vet candidates.
4. Update LinkedIn, Too — Write a strong summary, get endorsements from colleagues, and compose detailed (but short) descriptions of your past jobs.
5. Tidy Up Social Media While You’re At It — Make sure your privacy settings on social-media sites protect you from sharing photos you don’t want potential employers to see, and take pains to present yourself in the most professional manner possible.
6. Oh, and Clean Your Desk — De-clutter, and you’ll feel better. Consolidate info from that pesky stack of paper business cards into an online database.
7. Boost Your Skills — By taking a continuing-education class and boning up on, say, computer skills or public speaking, you’ll make yourself more marketable.
8. Network, Network, Network — As Adams writes, the best time to network is when you already have a job, since people you meet won’t fear that you’re going to hit them up for work. You should network internally (meet colleagues for coffee or lunch once a week) and externally (join alumni organizations).
9. Streamline Your Schedule — We all have a tendency to take on too much. If there are things occupying your time that are extraneous or not important to you, it’s time for them to go.
10. Bolster Your “Bragalogue” — What’s a “bragalogue?” It’s a short story that showcases who you are and what you can offer a company, and you should have one ready for interviews and interactions with people that might be able to help you. It’ll be easier to formulate one if you keep a journal of your accomplishments, which is a handy tool when it comes to asking for raises, too.