5 Actions to Take to Be Your Best Self and Enhance Your Career
Navigating the job search process can feel overwhelming, especially for young women who are just starting out in the professional world. How do you score your dream job, or even decide what you want to do? The first thing you must ask yourself in this process is “What are you jumpstarting?” Are you switching to a new career field or perhaps exploring an opportunity to use the degree you earned? Define your goal, and then use the tools at your disposal to get where you want to go. Here are my five must-dos for jumpstarting your career.
Improve Your Social
Before you ever put out a resume or meet with a potential supervisor, clean up your social media. While it’s acceptable, even encouraged, to live your life on the Internet in full view of strangers, selfies from your hard-partying college years don’t do much to inspire an employer’s confidence in your abilities. If a simple Google or Facebook search of your name turns up photos filled with drinking or suggestive dress or behavior, ask yourself, would you hire you? Begin to portray the right image for the industry you are entering. Use your account to build your professional network, and be sure to enable appropriate privacy settings. You can still have fun — just keep your social life off social media.
Do Your Research
Compile all the information you can about your chosen job or career field. Cast a wide net with networking events, local professional organizations, friends of friends, and volunteer opportunities. Schedule informational interviews with people who hold positions you covet at companies you admire. Be curious, make a personal connection, and use these opportunities to ask questions, not to sell yourself — unless they ask specifically about your qualifications, of course! What you ask depends largely upon the field you are researching, but it might be helpful to know how this person got where he or she is today. What type of training or study did the person need? What are some best practices for working in this industry? If you connect with someone you interview, approach the person about becoming a mentor!
Act the Part
Are you familiar with the expression “Be, Do, Have”? It is a principle that helps you create the life you want. Instead of using the things you already “Have” (time and money, for example) to grow into the person you wish to be, start with the “Be”—embody the qualities of loving and caring, for example. Act from that state of being (the “Do”), and then you will wind up having what you’ve always wanted. How do you put this into practice? Ask your mentor! He or she can share best practices, standards, and expectations for the role you are seeking.
Be open and honest about your skill level and experience and the opportunities you see for growth. No employer expects you to know everything — in fact, the best mentors and managers invest in hiring, training, and building employees up! If you are new to an industry, be prepared to discuss two or three examples of how skills developed in a previous job, your education, or life experience have prepared you for this new opportunity. Be upfront (and enthusiastic!) about your current skills and what you would like to learn in the future. Don’t box yourself into a job that isn’t a great fit or exaggerate what you are capable of. Having these realistic conversations early on prevents disappointment and misunderstanding later — and potentially opens the door to great learning experiences!
Take Care of Your Wellbeing
Boost your confidence by looking after your mind and body. Eat well. Exercise regularly. Prioritize self-care, whether that’s a monthly massage or a weekly yoga class with a friend or a hot bath on Sunday evenings. Invest in a trainer or coach or therapist. Get ample sleep. Ask for support when you need it. The very best thing you can do to prepare for a new job or a big career move is to look and feel your best, especially when you begin to feel stress or anxiety about the process.
No matter where you are in your career, let your light shine through! You can do and be anything you want. You are inherently capable and empowered to reach all of your goals. The most important action you can take is to be authentically YOU — your best self. If the specific job or career path you aspire to is the right fit, this will come naturally. Enjoy the ride!8