Rip off the band-aid, make a clean break, and dump the old you – it’s 2020! It’s time to give your career the fresh new style it deserves. Today, we’re going to share the tactics you need to put in place to help you revitalize your career! There’s a lot of benefit to doing a “complete makeover” when it comes to the job hunt. Whether you’re just looking for a new role or promotion or pivoting into a whole new career field, you want to do more than just what you did last time.
Things change, and the job market is a dynamic place. The job you want now might not have existed five years ago. The job market has trends that ebb and flow just like anything, and you don’t want your profile to look like the equivalent of a 1980’s prom picture. You want to demonstrate that you’ve kept up with new skills, workplace trends, and relevant information.
So how do you do all that and revitalize your career?
My clients will tell you that I’m fond of dating and relationship analogies in career coaching. I think there are a lot of informative parallels to be drawn between an interview and a first date, for example. And I think leaving a job to find a better one shares a lot of similarities with a post-breakup power surge.
Have you or someone you know ever gotten out of a long relationship and realized that it was time to totally upgrade? New haircut, new wardrobe, new profile picture on your social media accounts. Rearrange the furniture in your apartment, or even get a new one! And use those things as inspiration to really re-examine what you truly want.
The job hunt is just like that. If you’ve been away from the job market for a while, there are definitely changes you want to make in order to be a commodity again. Even if you’ve kept your job-relevant skills sharp and updated while working, you probably haven’t been paying much attention to your job-seeking skills. When was the last time you dusted off that resume? Went on an interview? Used LinkedIn?
A quick pass over your resume to add your most recent job isn’t enough. That’s what you did last time, and if there is a saying I truly believe in, it’s this:
“The things you did to get you to this step won’t be the things you need to get you to the next one.”
If you want more, you’ll have to do more!
So what does it look like to revitalize your career, or give yourself a “career makeover”? Like any rebranding effort, it has to be a complete and concerted effort. A new resume that points to the same old LinkedIn profile with work histories that don’t match won’t win you any points. Trendy buzzwords appearing only on the most recent role on your resume won’t help while the second page still lists “MS Word” as a core competency. And the way you communicate verbally has to match what you’ve written. In other words, the message across all channels must be consistent. Whether a potential employer first learns about you via LinkedIn networking, receiving a formal application, or meeting you in a coffee shop, they have to get the same impression.
Just like with a company, consistent messaging is important. In a way, you are a company! Think of potential employers like they’re your potential customers, and you want to make sure all the marketing for “You, Inc.” sends the message you want it to send.
Step 1: Your Resume
What is a resume? It seems like a silly question to ask, and yet I talk to a surprising number of people who have no idea what a resume is for. Many people fall into the trap of thinking that a resume is meant to be an autobiography. That it’s supposed to tell the “complete history of you” and be so compelling that it gets you a job.
It’s neither of those things. It can’t be an autobiography and it can’t get you a job.
However, it can be a fantastic marketing flyer and it can get you a phone call. It should do both, in fact!
A resume’s function is to give an overview of you; an impression. In the same way that the commercial for Cheerios doesn’t list their ingredients but tells you about how good you’ll feel eating them – that’s what you want a resume to do. You want your resume to be like a flyer or advertisement, telling people you’re the right person for them and inviting them to learn more in order to see why.
This is tougher than it seems, and that’s why it can’t be done by simply adding a new line for your most recent job title. Each role you add increases the complexity of your resume, and more complex resumes are less effective. Conveying the total impression of you in a simple and effective manner is an art form.
Step 2: Your Online Presence
We live in an age of information. There was a time when a company received your resume, perhaps called your references, and that was all they had. Now, potential employers have a vast wealth of information about you at their disposal. Some people are afraid of that, but you shouldn’t be – you should love it!
Remember, you’re a company advertising to customers. What company says to themselves, “Gee, I hope there’s no information about us online for people to find”?
Companies want there to be an absolute flood of information about them online, and so do you! You just want that information to all be carrying the proper message, which is “Hire Me!”
That means doing a thorough assessment of all of your publicly-facing social media, aligning the branding, and adding more. Each person’s exact needs are different, so no single guide will be right for everyone. Most people need an active LinkedIn profile – that means more than just the same information that’s on your resume! It means constructive posts, community engagement, networking. And some people will want a personal website. Others will want a YouTube channel. Do you want a professional Twitter or Instagram? Every need is different, and assessing that as part of your personal marketing campaign is a big part of the makeover.
Step 3: Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk
Taken all together, your branding is now selling a specific thing, and you need to deliver. That means you need to be able to convey in person the same message your resume and online profiles are delivering. It does no good to hire someone to write a resume for you with no input from you and then you’re not familiar with why it’s written the way it is during the interview. Hiring a professional that knows about these things is great, but it’s not “fire and forget.” You have to be an active participant in the process, making sure that the message is one that reflects the real you while still being up-to-date and engaging. The ideal process leaves you confident, not confused!
Step 4: Waste Not, Want Not
I see it too often. A client comes to us upset because they hired a “resume service” to re-do their resume cheaply, thinking that all they needed was a few buzzwords and their whole career would turn around. And that’s what they got back – buzzwords. Their same resume, but with a new font and some new meaningless but trendy phrases thrown in. Then nothing changes and they stare at the same rejection emails before coming to us.
To go back to the original analogy, that’s like breaking up with a terrible partner, then buying a different belt and going back to the same bar where you met them and expecting a different result. If you want big changes, you need to make big changes!
So break up with your bad career and never look back. Become the best possible you and launch that new campaign.