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“STOP COASTING – DRIVE YOUR CAREER”

Yep, even if you hate driving, put on your big girl panties and jump in the driver’s seat! Be ready for your next great career opportunity at all times. That’s right, even if you LOVE your current gig, you always need to be ready for your next role. And honestly, companies typically take employees by surprise with layoffs. Attention drivers, here’s what you need in order to always be prepared:

Ass-kicking Resume

First on my list is an amazing resume that has been edited for recruiter search optimization. Take an initial stab, then hire a professional. I’m a tightwad and I hemmed and hawed for awhile but once I did hire a professional resume writer…WOW, I’m an amazing #OG on paper!

Bang-up Headshot

Take my word, you need it. Not one where you look hot and sexy or certainly not your work ID or your passport photo (really!). One that works for you professionally and that you can use on your LinkedIn profile. There are so many gifted and affordable photographers now. The look you are going after is the next level up in your career – hair, make-up, clothes and pose. I’m pretty good at styling myself but I still used Glam Squad for my last headshot and it was worth it. Psssst…upscale major department stores have clothing stylists that are free to use too.

Envy-Worthy LinkedIn Profile

Third on my list is a strong LinkedIn profile with the recruiter notification turned on. Your resume writer can help here too. LinkedIn profiles need SEO so that you show up as a candidate in search results for the type of positions you may be interested in…EVEN if you are not actively looking. It is always strategic to know how much you are worth in today’s market!

30 Seconds of Me

Your next requirement is your elevator pitch. Think of this as your 30-second personal sales pitch -who you are and what you are looking for in your next role. You don’t need the title or the job description, instead talk about the responsibilities you are ready to take on and the contributions you can deliver. You need to nail it on demand at any time or place so practice your pitch and be ready.

Database…damnit!

And last on my list is a database of your network, or as your parents would say, your Rolodex. You can create your database of contacts using an excel spreadsheet or google sheets. Think names, titles, companies, email addresses, phone #s, a brief reminder of who they are and how you met them AND a date of your last contact with them. You will continue to build this database over your career. Most important though…you have to actively manage it! That’s right – reach out at least once each year to everyone on your list. Depending upon the relationship with the contact, you can share your personal and professional highlights in an email, a call or over a coffee/drink. Think of the number and quality of the contacts you will have in only a few years. I know it is hard to imagine now, but these contacts will become one of your most valuable assets and can lead to substantial career opportunities!! 

Kim Martin

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