Happy first week of Spring! It’s so nice to see the bright sunshine again, streaming through my windows. If you’re like many folks, you’ve already started on your home cleaning checklist. You’ve paid extra attention to your baseboards, and your ceiling fans, but what about yourself?
Spring is also the perfect time to get your career goals in order. You’ve made it past the hiring freezes over the winter, and jobs are popping up every day. Even if you’re not looking to quit your job tomorrow, now’s the time to work on yourself for three very important reasons:
- The best jobs are often found by chance. If a recruiter called you out of the blue tomorrow, would you be prepared?
- When you wait to polish up your personal brand (and your LinkedIn profile) all at one time when a job does come around, you raise suspicions at your current employer.
- You never know when you might be unexpectedly looking for a job. Even top performers are at risk when a corporation goes through a layoff.
The question is, what should you polish up? Below is my career spring cleaning checklist for you.
- Your resume – Dust off your resume. Ensure it’s up to date with your latest positions. Include numbers that show your success. For example, if you exceeded your sales goal by 20%, include it. If you managed a multimillion dollar budget, include it. Once you leave your current position, you often won’t have access to this information anymore. Get these facts while you can.
- Your LinkedIn profile – Make sure your LinkedIn profile contains your current position, and latest accomplishments. Include a photo, and your current contact information. Remove positions that are very outdated and no longer relevant.
- Your photo – When including a profile photo on LinkedIn or other social media sites, you need something recent and appropriate. It doesn’t have to be a professional head shot, but your face should be clearly visible. Your clothes should be professional, and you should be the only person in the photo. Do not use a photo that shows your entire body, and makes it impossible to see your face. Your connections won’t recognize you on LinkedIn. Stay away from party photos, group photos, and very outdated photos.
- Your cover letter – Cover letters often take many hours to produce. We shift over every word, and worry about every piece of punctuation. Although cover letters should be custom for each position, it’s good to have a template to work from. Update yours, so if a recruiter calls, you’ll have something to provide quickly.
- Your bio – I’ve noticed a few companies are requesting a copy of a candidate’s bio. They pass it around their office for easy reading, and to share highlights about you. If you don’t have one, at least consider making one. If you do, update it, so it’s current.
- Your contacts – If you were laid off tomorrow for some unforeseen reason, I’m certain there are a number of contacts at your current job you would want to stay in touch with. Start regularly connecting with these people on LinkedIn to ensure you never lose contact.
Keeping your career assets like your resume and LinkedIn profile up to date should be a part of your normal routine. But, if you’ve fallen behind over the holidays, Spring is a perfect time to polish them up. It will help to ensure you’re prepared with the next big opportunity comes along.
I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search.
Author: Angela Copeland
Angela Copeland is Founder and Coach for Copeland Coaching, a great way to jump start your job search. Follow her on Twitter @CopelandCoach for tips on finding the perfect job for you.