Want To Get Ahead? Do Your Homework!

86548415_eedab32136_oDid the mention of homework just send a shiver down your spine reminding you of 10th grade geometry class?

Sorry, can’t be helped. If you don’t put in the work you are not going to succeed, no matter what the goal. Whether you are looking for a new job or are looking for a promotion in your current one, you need to put in the time.

Let’s take the example of looking for a new job and spell out exactly what we are talking about here. If you are currently looking for a new job, or career, here is what you should be doing.

Consider this your homework assignment.

1. Make an elevator speech. This should be something you can say in less than 30 seconds that sums up who you are and what you do. The elevator speech is important because it forces you to really zero in on what you want to do. (I wouldn’t suggest actually accosting people in an elevator with it though.)

2. Make a target list. Find a handful of companies you’d like to work for and do some basic research. Read their “about” information, follow their social media accounts, sign up for any available newsletters. Even if you don’t end up working for one of your target companies, the work getting to know your industry will prove invaluable later on.

3. Network. Spend time on LinkedIn and checking in with target companies on social media. Make sure your profile shows you as one of the four types of employees people look for on LinkedIn and then engage where you can. Do you have friends or acquaintances working at any of your target companies? Then keep in touch. Again, social media has made this so easy, just don’t forget to keep your correspondence appropriate.

4. Rewrite you resume. Then do it again. And again. Every time you send out your resume for a new job opening it needs to be customized for that exact position. Read the job posting and the company’s profile carefully and make sure you use as much of the same language as you can. Make sure you know what a resume isn’t.

5. Read. A Lot. Get your hands on as much quality material about your target profession as you can. Read it all and keep learning. You never know when something you gleaned from a book or article will be the one piece of information that will help you in an interview. Speaking of interviewing…

6. Practice your interviewing technique. Research common interview questions- they are all over the internet. Practice in front of the mirror or ask a friend to mock interview you. Any practice will help make you feel more comfortable when the time comes to do it for real.

The best part about this homework? You may not get an A, but you could very well end up in your dream job sooner than you thought possible.

Now do the work!

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