I moved from Montana to Seattle 3 years ago to find a job after college. I’ve always been very career driven and have loved building my network and growing my career in Seattle. I’ve bounced around from retail to event planning and now marketing to find that I’ve learned how to advance my career forward and across industries. Maybe you’re looking for a new job, a promotion, to widen your network, or to build a new skill to move your career forward…well you’re in luck! Today I’m giving you a crash course in 7 ways you can advance your career in 7 days!
Day 1: Make a Goal List
As you begin your 7 day career challenge, it’s good to make a list of what you want to achieve. Your goal should be specific and also realistic for the timeframe you’re given. While it’s nearly impossible to find a new job or be given a promotion in a week, it is possible to expand your network or dive deeper into a skill that will help you get a promotion. Make your goal realistic and measurable.
Day 2: Update your LinkedIn
Your LinkedIn is your public resumé, so it’s crucial that it is updated and well written. Use action words like execute, manage, built, or analyzed to quantify your accomplishments. For instance, instead of saying “I was responsible for planning events” say, “I executed 8 events annually and increased overall partner sign ups by 15% from 2016-2017. Giving strong numerical results helps others know the results you can drive. If you don’t know where to start, look up other’s LinkedIn profiles and be inspired by how they phrase their work experience.
Day 3: Send emails and book 2-3 coffee meet ups
So you have your goal and your updated LinkedIn. Next, it’s time to reach out to people inside or even outside your network to grab coffee and talk. Set a goal of having 2-3 confirmed coffee dates by the end of the week. Seek out people who have insight on how you can achieve your goal. Remember that meeting for coffee is about building a relationship, not stripping someone for their advice, paying for their latté and leaving. Contact people that you respect, want to learn more about, and possibly to help them too.
Send a brief email about why you admire them, what your goal is, and specifically what you’d like to learn more about. My only caution is that even if you’re looking for a job, don’t ask them to get you a job where they’re working. If you’re interested in where they work you can say, “I’m interested in learning more about Company X and would love your insight about what I can work on to become a better fit for a role there.” Finally, always buy their coffee and meet where they want to meet, even if it means getting on a 7am bus across town. Here’s some etiquette for you!
Day 4: RSVP to a career development event and have a plan!
Find an event that will get you closer to your goal. That could mean a workshop learning a new skill or purely a networking event. But the key is, to have a goal before you RSVP and attend. The goal could be saving one person’s information with the intent to get coffee or finding permanent classes about the subject being taught. Setting a goal will hold yourself accountable to have a productive event. My go to for career development classes, events or workshops is Meetup.com and Eventbrite!
Day 5: Refine your elevator pitch
So you’re going to events and coffee meetings and someone is bound to say, “Tell me about yourself” or “So, what do you do?” Oftentimes, we stumble over our words, over complicate our current job, or just start blabbing. Prepare your “elevator pitch” or your 20-30 second explanation of yourself, your skills, and your goal. This article is really helpful and will detail how to craft your elevator pitch.
Day 6: Sign up to volunteer
Volunteering helps others, feels good, boosts your resumé and helps expand your network. Find a non-profit or organization you like and ask what you can do to help. If you’re still unsure where to start, ask the organizers of the event you’re going to about how you can help.
Day 7: Listen to a podcast or do industry research once a week and take notes
I find I listen to a lot of podcasts during the week and I can recall a few key points from several, but not necessary in depth information. Instead of passively listening to endless podcasts on the bus, find one or two and listen to them closely. Take notes while you’re listening to help you remember more and to reference later. And if you’re not a podcast person, just do some weekly industry research and keep a record of what you learn!
I hope you enjoyed today’s post! If you have further questions or suggestions email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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