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12 bite-sized tasks to boost your career

Career advice  

career advice , getting ahead , resumes , cover letters , seek profile

‘Tis the season to review your career. No matter how happy you are in your job it’s essential to always stay open to opportunity as you never know what life might have in store for you.

With December downtime on its way, why not use the 12 Days of Christmas for an annual career check in, to reflect on what you’ve done over the past year and work out where you’re headed? 

If you can knock off one of these bite-sized tasks a day for each of the 12 Days of Christmas, you’ll enter the New Year ready for any opportunity that might cross your path

  • Day 1: Reflect. Reflect on where your career has taken you and where your future ambitions lie. Consider making a mind map to visually organise your thoughts. Write down your five biggest wins of the last year and identify your unique selling point (USP).
  • Day 2: Research. It’s a great time of year to do a check-up on what the opportunities are like in your industry. Questions you should think about trying to answer include; how much are similar roles paying? What new skills are required in your industry? What types of roles are currently being advertised? 
  • Day 3: Update your career plan. A written career plan helps you get ahead. It’s where you set out your goals and action points for the year ahead. A great way to kick-start this process is to write down three goals you hope to achieve in the year ahead – try for a salary goal, a learning goal and a task-focused goal.
  • Day 4: Collect credentials and documentation. This can include qualifications, references, asking for endorsements from colleagues and clients, examples of great work, clippings or whatever works in your industry. 
  • Day 5: Organise and store. Find the right repository to store the relevant content that you collected in yesterday’s task. Cloud storage such as Dropbox or Google drive are great options for keeping all your career assets together. They also make it really easy to share with prospective employers should an opportunity arise.
  • Day 6: Write or update your elevator pitch. You’ve reflected and written a career plan and USP and you understand “brand you”. Now write or update your killer 30 second elevator speech. This summarises why you’re an employer’s next hire.  
  • Day 7: Revamp your resume. Update your resume highlighting your latest achievements, the goals in your career plan, your USP and elevator pitch. Find out more about resume makeovers here.
  • Day 8: Update your cover letter. Write yourself a new cover letter that you can use as a template when you next apply for a job. Then it’s just a matter of adding building blocks when needed - such as your latest achievements and details tailored to each position applied for.
  • Day 9: Update your SEEK profile. Employers and head hunters search online profiles looking for passive candidates. If your profile is up-to-date you’ll attract more interest. There’s no harm in being noticed by recruiters and employers even if you’re not in the market for a job right now.
  • Day 10: Nurture your network. Find and reconnect with old colleagues and new acquaintances, send them an eCard or good old-fashioned paper one for Christmas.
  • Day 11: Get studying. Learning is life-long and if you have gaps in your knowledge or resume it might be time to look for courses to fill these gaps. That could be anything from a degree or a short course to an online webinar or a conference. Explore your options and make a note of the learning you hope to achieve for the year ahead. A great way to identify opportunities is to take a look at the job advertisements in your field to determine what new skills you might need.
  • Day 12: Your social media makeover. Start by Googling yourself, we’re talking images and search results and don’t just stop at page 1, sometimes you never know what might be lurking a couple of pages in. Make a note of everywhere you appear and be sure to remove any questionable tags or images. Potential employers will Google you, so make sure anything they find is portraying the image you want it to.   

Now you’re ready for whatever opportunity might find you. Make sure you put a note in your diary for next December to start your next annual career check.