4 Ways to Give Your 2015 a Career Boost

By now it's all become very familiar to you.  You start off the year with a strong set of New Year's Resolutions.  This is the year you're going to lose those extra pounds.  This is the year you're going to take that overseas vacation.  This is the year you're going to start your own business.  But shortly into February your 2014 routine starts resurfacing and gnawing away at your 2015 resolutions and goals.  

This isn't necessarily due to a lack of discipline or dedication, but to the foremost killer of change: Routine!  Interestingly enough the best way to break up routine is to make bigger changes, and the biggest change you can make is to your professional career.

Here are the top 4 ways you can give your 2015 a much needed Career Boost and keep those other resolutions intact:

1.Revamp Your Professional Portfolio.

Whether you are actively in the job market or just beginning to consider making a new career change, you are going to have a hard time getting recruiters interested in you with an old, outdated résumé.  If you haven't had your résumé professionally reviewed in the last few years, now is the time to seriously consider it. Résumés have undergone a facelift in recent years and to catch recruiter's eyes, and to ensure that Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) pass your résumé on to the next round, you'll want to ensure that you are staying in touch with current trends while standing out from the crowd (For example, if your résumé has "Objective" at the top, you need an update).

 
Also, recruiters are looking at online profiles more and more now. An overwhelming 91% of recruiters report using social media to screen candidates for positions, with 49% using it upon receiving the candidate’s application.
 

What this means is that candidates today need to look at upgrading their entire professional package before diving into their job search.

2.KNOW YOUR WORTH

Unfortunately most people in the workforce don't start getting their professional package together until they are actively looking for a new job. While this is especially dangerous for folks that have been terminated from their positions (often adding weeks or months to their job search), it also puts current workers at a disadvantage.

 
Staying active in the job market is the best way to know your competitive value.
 

Even if your are perfectly happy and comfortable in your current role, entertaining offers from other employers can do wonders when it comes to knowing if you are getting paid enough and also gives you context to negotiate raises.  Some employment sites can provide valuable data on salaries in your industry, role, location, and even specific companies.

3. BECOME AN EXPERT.

Whether you're currently in the jobforce or looking to rejoin it, you must be able to prove your area of expertise in order to get to the next level.  To make sure you consistently bring that value make sure you aren't just an expert in your specific role at your specific job.  

 
Become aware of your entire industry and what current trends are transforming it.
 

This won't only help you become a winner with your employer (or your prospective employer) but it will also help you build strong relationships with other experts in your field when you are out networking.  Industry journals and magazines are good sources of up to date expert information.  Also, apps like Flipboard allow you to create and follow customized topic feeds pulling great content together at the swipe of a finger.

4. GET A CAREER MENTOR.

 Having a Career Mentor can help you make the hard career choices that only someone in your field can provide.  Long gone are the days of having one all-purpose mentor.  The world has become too complex and multi-faceted for one person to be able to advise you in most life decisions. For your career you want to make sure you seek someone that has excelled to a position that you want to reach.  They can provide valuable insight for you at each point of your career and help keep you on track when you start to stray away from those goals you set.  It's also important that this be a person that will open doors for you into their network. 

 
But don’t forget, mentorship is never productive as a one-way street. Provide value to your mentor as well and you will form a relationship way more productive than either of you could do alone.
 

Often with a mentor/mentee relationship between generations, younger mentees will find that their connections to a younger network as well as trendy software or social media skills can add much value to mentors that may not be as familiar with using these channels.

Implement these points into your New Year and you'll be sure to give your 2015 a much needed boost.  To get you started Generation-Next can provide you with a complete professional package upgrade including revamping your résumé and social media presence.

~Brandon M.