Three Career Reality Checks

As a pro résumé writer, I am constantly working with people in various stages of career transition. They range from the employed who are just starting to consider making a change to the long-term unemployed, people who have been out of work for a year or more and with few to no prospects for a new job. In every case, these people are in a reflective posture, considering their careers and how to make the next step. Here are a few common discussion points.

Career Velocity. Those doing the same work for years at a time, showing no advancement in their roles and responsibilities, are understandably nervous. They are concerned that the field may be passing them, and they are often right.

The Fix: Step forward and ask for new assignments. Take a class or earn a certification that will make you more valuable to your current and future employers. If employed, explore tuition reimbursement programs. You will still have to do the time and the work, but at least someone else can write the check.

Professional Network. Is your LinkedIn account a reflection of your real network, or is it just a bunch of names and faces, people you don’t really know? Here is a good test: If you called these people on the phone, how many would speak with you? If the number is smaller than you would like, get to work!

The Fix: Start contacting the people in your network. Reach out and say, “Hi!” Share something of value. Let them know what you are working on. Ask them what they are doing. Revitalize the network and make it more valuable.

Your Résumé. Is it current? You should view your résumé as a living document, something that is always current and ready to go in case of emergency. Are you an active job seeker? Are you getting calls for interviews? If not, a poorly written résumé could be hurting you.

The Fix: Invest your time and/or money into this critical piece of your career management strategy. If you don’t have the time or interest in writing it yourself, pay for help. If you do it yourself, review it quarterly and keep it fresh. If you don’t have anything new to add, ask yourself, “Why?”

Spend some time this week reviewing these points and how you are doing. I small investment in time actively managing your career could make a big difference in your long-term success.