Jump Start Your Career in the New Year

The New Year is a good time to make resolutions, and if you are like many of us, career resolution tops the list.  Whether you are seeking to revitalize and enhance your position within the company, looking for an entirely new job, or aiming to take your career to the next level, proper planning can make a big difference.

Assuming that you are ready for a change, the next step would be to obtain the tools and information required to set things in motion and lead you towards obtaining the best possible outcome.  These tools include a top-notch resume and impressive cover letters that target the job opportunities you are seeking.

Ideally, your resume should be composed using a results-oriented mindset.  Using this approach you must deviate from the typical process of regurgitating the details of your work record or following typical job descriptions/templates to prepare your resume.  Instead, you should use the more beneficial process of focusing on getting results; one that let you market your background.  However this approach requires a lot of preparation, including gaining a good understanding of the types of jobs you are targeting, the trends of the industry sector in which those types of jobs are found, the use of proper terminologies, and sound knowledge of the expectations of employers seeking to hire for those job openings.  This type of information can be obtained by reading industry publications, checking the websites of companies within that sector, and researching job requirements posted in newspapers and the internet.  In so doing, you should pay careful attention to those requirements that are company specific and the others that are reoccurring in various job ads.  This will give you insights into what particular companies are seeking as well as the broader skills and knowledge that are widely marketable within your chosen career.  The next stage is to reflect upon your own experiences, both hands-on (through employment, volunteer and membership activities as well as class projects and experiments) and theory based (coursework, research activities, interviewing employees, and general interest reading).  Upon reflecting, determine how these experiences and knowledge have helped you to be ready for the targeted types of job(s) and express these findings in your resume.  Remember, your objective is not to just list what you have done but to convey your information in an impressive manner.  You need to demonstrate how skilled, knowledgeable, and prepared you are to work in your chosen field.  Also, you my selectively, use the details of your own background to add depth and credibility to your resume and to illustrate your knowledge of the key areas identified in your research.

Unlike your resume, your letter is usually not as comprehensive. However, it should be prepared with the aim of stimulating an interest in your candidacy.  To get attention, it is best to avoid typical opening sentences.  Instead, start your letter very differently.  In the first few sentences, let the hiring manager know that you understand the industry, their company and/or the job requirements while trying to connect with and grab his/her attention.  You may also want to show insights into the job and an understanding of the full scope of the job function within the overall scheme of things.  Such an approach will help you to stand out from other applicants by creating a positive and lasting first impression.

Enhance your chances of ranking among the top candidates who are selected for interviews by being innovative in creating your resume and letters.  You owe it to yourself to convey the full impact of your capabilities when seeking to boost your career.  Whether your targeted company is using a computerized or a manual system to screen applicants, the preparation guidelines that are outlined in this article will help you to optimize your selection advantage.  Using the right approach, you can find compelling ways to convince an employer that you are the perfect candidate for the job, and jump-start your career to take advantage of the many exciting career opportunities in the New Year.

Joseph Jagmohan is a Senior Professional Resume Writer and Career Strategist at Resume World Inc.  Through his 17 years tenure, he has assisted thousands of clients (from graduate students to senior executives) to find great jobs and advance their careers through the development of strategic resumes, cover letters, portfolios and other marketing documents.  He is an author, speaker and thought leader on career management and resume writing and can be reached at 416.438.3606 or joseph@ResumeWorld.ca.