As we enter the second week of the New Year, it’s easy to start slowly backtracking on our more ambitious career-related goals. But one entrepreneur stresses that everyone should still take the time to invest in their careers in 2015.
“I think the first thing is to be sure to make your goal really specific and really actionable,” says Kathryn Minshew, the CEO and founder of The Muse, a career site geared towards younger workers. “For example, instead of saying ‘I’m going to find a new job this year’ you can say ‘I’m going to apply to five jobs a week during January’ or ‘I’m going to add five LinkedIn connections a week.’”
We asked Minshew for her tips for anyone who feels like they need to shake up their careers.
Have a job search buddy: Everything is easier when you have someone to bounce ideas off of, says Minshew. “You can agree that you are both going to check in with each other at a specific time each week,” she suggests. Plus, it’s always good to have someone look over your cover letters and resumes before you send them out.
Start a new project: “Try to find a hobby or something outside of work where you can build your skills,” says Minshew. “Let’s say you are looking for a job in social media. You can suggest to a local nonprofit that you will volunteer to do their social media for a few months for free, so that you can learn those skills.”
Network more: “I think that networking gets such a bad rap,” says Minshew. “In reality, it’s all about getting to know people better.” A key to making successful connections, she says, is to practice talking about yourself and your work in a compelling way. “Instead of saying, ‘Oh, I’m a writer.’ You can say, “I’m a writer who really loves writing about history.’” That gives people something to latch on to,” she advises.
Follow up with your connections: Of course, meeting someone once at a corporate event isn’t enough to build a long-lasting relationship. “About 24 hours after meeting them, I’d send a follow up email and add them on LinkedIn,” says Minshew. “And then maybe two to four weeks later send that person a note saying hello with an interesting article so that you stay at the top of their mind.”
Follow Lakshmi Gandhi on Twitter @LakshmiGandhi.