Ready, Set, Go! Time to Work Your Career Game Plan for Success
Now it’s time to put all the valuable information you’ve gathered together and develop your career game plan for success. This will give you the confidence to help get you where you want to go.
1. Determine your professional goal. Start by performing a gap analysis of sorts, comparing your self-inventory with the research you’ve performed.
- Right fit for the job — Do you have the skills, strengths, knowledge, or experience required? Or do you need to acquire and build these?
- Interest in the Profession/Career Path — Does a typical day, week, month, or lifetime of this career still interest you after you’ve learned?
- Consider and weigh alternatives and select your career of choice.
- Set your needed steps and associated goals — Make sure to include both short- and long-term goals.
2. Build the skills and knowledge required to qualify for your chosen profession and perhaps provide an edge over your competition.
- Identify the knowledge, skills and educational qualifications you’ll need to acquire or strengthen.
- Research universities and degree programs that will help you acquire the knowledge and skills. Research you’ve performed on the role, profession and industry can help you ask the right questions to ensure the institution you select has the faculty expertise, support system, and services required to help you succeed and achieve your career goals.
- Select the institution and pursue your educational goals. Get to know them and have them get to know you. Build relationships with those in your support system. Other students and faculty can be a great source of support. Share your personal inventory, career goals, and plans. If your school offers career services, be sure to take advantage of them.
- Gain experience. Volunteering and internships can help you gain valuable strengths and experience that can be applied to your resume.
3. Equip your toolbox with resources.
- Develop your resume.
- Some jobs or employers require a portfolio of past work. Package a portfolio of past work if needed.
- Draft a template cover letter; however, your cover letter should be customized for each job you apply for.
- Identify a variety of references you would like to use and contact them to ensure they are aware of your job search and are willing to provide a recommendation.
- Build or update your LinkedIn profile.
- Prepare your elevator speech: You should have a a 30-second pitch about yourself. If a potential employer were to say, “So tell me a little bit about you…” this would be your response.
- Practice your elevator speech as well as answering potential interview questions. You can’t be over prepared.
- Acquire a professional look. Depending on the job you want, you need to dress accordingly.
- Formal business attire or business casual may be required for an interview. Do your homework and dress for success.
4. Execute and begin your job search.
- This last step is where some of your original research will come into play. While you may have to refresh some of the content, you should have the basics.
- Search in the markets/cities that you’ve decided you want to work in.
- Leverage your network. Reach out to your family, friends, and acquaintances and those connected on LinkedIn to you. Make sure to communicate your plans and your active job search.
- Check your campus career center.
- Search job boards. Remember that there are several out there and they don’t necessarily have duplicate job postings. Remember to search industry-specific boards when available.
- Industry associations/organizations. While you will want to check their sites for job postings, go ahead and give these a call. Introduce yourself and state what job(s) you are interested in. They may have the contacts and resources to help.
- Identify and reach out to professional recruiters
- Reach out to large and local employers and send them a letter inquiring about opportunities that may not be posted or that may potentially be available in the future.
- Develop a job search plan and work it. Give yourself a goal for each week on a number of calls, searches, LinkedIn contacts, interviews, etc. that you want to make, and be honest and accountable.
Following the advice and steps outlined above does not guarantee you will land your dream job. Sometimes luck, circumstance, and being in the right place at the right time can land you the job you desire. However, success often follows those who are best prepared to embrace it. So if you’re thinking about launching your career, or you’re currently in the process of changing your career, you can significantly increase your chances of success by following the advice and steps outlined above.
View All Articles in This Series
Perform a Self-Inventory
Research Profession and Industry
Leverage Resources and Networks
Execute Your Career Game Plan