Is your 9 to 5 in need of a bit of shake up? Whether you’re looking to change jobs or even swap careers, it’s never too early to start laying down the foundations.
“I think doing groundwork is always a good idea. For instance, before the summer I always spend some time thinking about what I want my September to look like and then putting a few plans into place,” says Careers Coach Anna Percy-Davis and Get The Gloss Expert .
“There is always a break of sorts over the summer, so I need to make sure I have things lined up for September so I can hit the ground running as the month starts. Otherwise, September can disappear without having achieved much which is very demotivating!”
From ways to make your CV stand out from the crowd to advice for expanding your skill set, here are Anna’s words of wisdom and recruitment recommendations for an effective action plan to help you climb the corporate ladder and make your job work for you in the New Year.
Step 1: Network your way to the top
It is about what you know, there's no doubt about it, but nowadays it’s also all about who you know too and networking will certainly help in making valuable contacts and finding possible vacancies before they hit the job boards. “Who do you know who could give you good advice, could introduce you to someone or could offer you your next job?” says Anna. Word of mouth is a powerful tool and personal recommendations could be the paramount factor that gets your foot in the door first before anyone else can beat you to it.
Step 2: Update your CV
“Work on your CV - start compiling it so it is ready and waiting for your January kick-off,” recommends Anna. Keep updating it as you go along so that you don’t forget those projects or one-off assignments that showcase your full repertoire of transferable skills. Feeling overwhelmed? Just diarise a small amount of time each week dedicated to catching up and make it a non-negotiable part of your routine.
Step 3: Supersize your skills set
“Do a few things that might make your CV a bit more interesting - a project/charity work/anything that might help you distinguish yourself,” suggests Anna. Whether that’s volunteering or demonstrating teamwork and leadership skills as a part of your local sports team, the more varied the activities, the better as it’ll make for a great talking point at your next interview. Try joining a league for example - check out www.onenetball.com for netball, www.powerleague.co.uk for football or www.gomammoth.co.uk for a selection of other sports too. Plus, you’ll be getting fitter in the process too. Two birds, one stone - you might as well add ‘multitasker’ to your growing list of talents too.
Step 4: Research
“If you are looking at a career change, work out if you need to do any re-training and start looking at the course available to you so you are ready to sign up or commit to it”, suggests Anna. Often application processes can start earlier than expected, so be prepared by thinking long-term and start working on the bare bones of your two year plan now.
Step 5: Modify your action plan to your key aims
If you want to make strides in your existing career, tailor your action plan to what you’re hoping to achieve. “If someone wants to make strides in their career in 2015, my advice would be very similar [to the above] in terms of what they can usefully do now but it would start with helping the individual to work out what making strides means to them,” says Anna. To keep you focused and to help you realise your career goals, Anna recommends this useful checklist of tasks to act as a starting point:
1. Who do you need to talk to in order to help you work out what those strides would be?
2. Spend some time really working out what the strides need to look like.
2. Start formulating a plan as to how to make the strides happen.
3. Do you need to do some extra training and if so, work out where and how to do this.
4. What should I be getting involved in and committing to if I am going to be in line for a promotion?
5. Get some coaching - having some non-judgmental support and someone who is holding you accountable can be very motivating (and a good coach will champion you which will help you feel more confident and therefore easier able to make any changes).