Your Career Action Plan for the New Year


People make New Yearís resolutions with the best intentions, but they often fail for lack of a solid action plan.  If youíve resolved for 2006 to move your career forward into a new industry, occupation or level of responsibility, increase your chances of success with this three-part action plan focused on results.


1.    Know your career objective

2.    Update your resume and cover letters

3.    Update your network and networking skills


  1. Know your career objective


Knowing your career objective may sound obvious and easy.  If, however, you are dissatisfied with your current position, it can be difficult to sort out the good from the bad.  You may not fully understand the target of your dissatisfaction:  Is it your job or your employer; your companyís culture or your supervisor? Analyzing what you want in a job is a good start in determining the best new job for you.


If you are uncertain what type of position to focus on, start by identifying the transferable skills you enjoy(ed) using in your current or past positions.  A professional career coach can be helpful in sorting out what you want to keep and, more importantly, what you want to avoid in your next position.


  1. Update your resume and cover letters


If it has been a while since your last job search, your resume may no longer reflect your current career direction.  Donít forget the most important elements of a strong resume:  solid achievements that illustrate your transferable skills, and key words and phrases to capture employersí attention and interest.


Cover letters can make the difference between a warm reception or a cold shoulder.  While itís true that not all resume screeners read cover letters, those who do are never impressedóand are often put off by cover letters that sound phony or mass-produced.  If you are uncertain of your resume writing skills, a professional resume writer can transform your so-so resume & cover letters into true selling tools.


3.  Update your network and networking skills


A good job-search network consists of all those persons who can provide information about future or current career opportunities.  You say you donít have a network?  You probably do, but you just havenít thought about people who could fit this category.  Start by identifying groups of people that you are in contact with on a regular basis, such as professional associations, church, college alumni groups, and neighborhood associations.  Then identify the individuals within those groups with whom you feel comfortable and who could help you learn of job leads.   


Many of my resume and coaching clients lament their poor networking skills.  I always tell them not to worry; they are in good company because most people feel inadequate when it comes to networking.  Before you dismiss the value of a strong network, remember:  In securing all-important job interviews, itís very often not what you know but who you know.  There are many resources available for learning how to build and utilize a network to your job-search advantage:  books, online articles, workshops, and career coaches trained in the most effective networking techniques.


Once youíve put your job-search action plan into practice, youíll be on your way to a better job and a better life.


Deborah Walker, CCMC

Career Coach ~ Resume Writer

Read more job-search tips and resume samples at: