This post is a follow up to “Be Your Best Self – Tips For Any Employee” that I wrote back in March 2018. I didn’t write the post with the intention of doing a part two, but afterwards, I had a few items that came to mind and started jotting them down. Part one was centered around your current job or position and how to perform your best. But what if you’re not happy in your current position or, for any number of reasons, you need to start looking for a new job?
No job is guaranteed. Ever. Budget cuts, outsourcing, and the economy are just a few reasons you might find yourself left out in the cold. It’s not ideal, but sometimes companies simply need to let people go in order to keep the rest of the company running. In extreme circumstances, legal issues or sale of a company can yield undesirable results for employees. Know what’s going on in your company, both internally as well as what’s being reported publicly. If the rumor mill is churning, it might not be a bad idea to make sure you have everything in order, in case the rumors turn out to be true.
Plan ahead and be ready when the time arises. You should always have an up to date resume. We always seem to pull it out and dust if off when we decide to start looking for a job, but what if you don’t get the luxury of a warning? At a minimum, make it an annual task that you perform. Doesn’t matter when, new year, spring cleaning, national resume update month (no, really, it’s September, look it up), just make sure you do it. Another time that may not seem as obvious, but is actually a great time is when you change positions/titles or get a promotion. This also helps so later on you don’t have to dig back and try and figure out the correct dates.
So you’ve updated your resume and you’re ready to start looking for a new job. Now what? Make sure you take a look at your social media profiles. If you don’t want prospective employers or recruiters seeing the photos you posted 5 years ago of the party where you were doing a keg stand half naked, you should either lock down the privacy or start cleaning things up. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are common places that hiring managers and recruiters look at during the hiring process. Let them see only what you want them to see, nothing more. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a professional looking profile photo on LinkedIn along with updated information.
If you want to really market yourself, you could start working on your personal brand. You could quickly and easily do this on LinkedIn. Like all other social media platforms, you can post quick messages, links, photos, etc. You can also now use LinkedIn Publishing that allows you to write article/blog style posts. To take things to another level, for less than $20 a year, you can purchase your own domain name and point it to a free or cheap website or blog. Use the website or blog as your canvas to share with the world. No matter which platform you chose, tell your story. No one knows you better than, well, you. Be descriptive, but be real. Don’t try to oversell it.
One thing that hiring managers and recruiters love to see is training. Knowledge is power. Taking training or getting certified in a specific software or discipline can really help you stand out in the crowd. Many people think that you have to attend lengthy training or purchase expensive courses. The truth is, there are more free resources than you think. You just have to do some research. Cybrary.it and Edx.org are just two of the many that are available. One place that people have problems is following through. If you start a course, complete it. Also, if you have the chance, certify where you can. The certifications can help boost your credibility and might just be the one thing that sets you apart from another candidate.
Things don’t always happen the way we expect, want or plan them to. You need to have a contingency plan in place if things do go south. Once you’ve started building your brand, keep it fresh. Add posts, articles, ideas, thoughts, suggestions, or whatever else to your LinkedIn, website or blog. Continue investing in yourself with training or certifications and follow through. The more you do, the more you’ll better yourself. And when the time comes, you’ll be ready to show your best self.