A new year has come, and for many employees and job seekers, it’s the perfect time to step back and consider their career paths and plans. As many will look to make 2017 a great work year or even make concrete resolutions to get a new job, earn a promotion or start training for an in-demand career, the staff at Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail offers the following strategies to help strengthen your 2017 career outlook.
Research the job market
Take some time to learn about in-demand careers in your area. Consider how your skills are applicable to growing industry sectors and what new skills you can develop to make yourself more marketable in the year ahead.
At Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail, career counselors can provide information about what skills are in demand, which industries are growing and the steps a job seeker can take to remain relevant in today’s workforce. Our team of experts also can provide information about training and education programs throughout the region that can help take your career to the next level, from soft skills training to industry certifications to post-secondary degree programs. We also help job seekers navigate resources that may cover costs of training for an in-demand career.
Know what you want, know what you offer
You really never know when you will have an opportunity to tell someone about your job search. It’s important to be ready to confidently deliver what’s commonly called an “elevator speech.” In about 30 seconds, describe your skills and experience and explain what types of career opportunities interest you.
Whether you are actively seeking a new job or simply thinking about your career progression, having a fine-tuned elevator speech helps others remember what you offer.
The career center staff provides custom, one-on-one services to job seekers and is available to help you review your experience and goals and develop a high-impact elevator speech. Similarly, job seekers also look to the career center team for one-on-one resume consultation and job interview coaching.
Make a focused effort to network
Your elevator speech will be a vital tool in networking – a must-do in today’s job market. It’s no secret most jobs are filled by candidates who are referred or have an existing connection to the employer. This year, make a commitment to professional networking, strengthening your connections and creating new ones.
There are multiple ways to get started. Take advantage of LinkedIn and Facebook to reconnect with former coworkers, classmates and educators. Let your friends and acquaintances know about your skills and career aspirations. Attend a professional seminar or chamber of commerce lunch. Request an informational interview with a local employer or someone who works in the field that interests you.
No matter how you get started, remember that networking is about building relationships, and that means helping others. Be open to those who ask for your help. And when you start a conversation, look for ways you can offer assistance.
Target specific employers
Often, for whom we work matters as much as the work we do, and employees who are a good fit with a company’s culture are among the most satisfied. As you consider what type of career opportunities interest you, consider which employers interest you, too. For example, is it important that you work for an expanding employer? Or perhaps it’s important that your next employer supports professional development or is known for innovation?
Today, it’s easier than ever to learn about a company’s culture as well as any developments that indicate what sort of talent the company needs. Browse corporate websites, read industry news and keep up with local companies on social media including LinkedIn.
Your professional network – as well as the career center staff, which works hand-in-hand with a multitude of our region’s employers – also can provide valuable information about whether a particular employer is a good fit for you.
Whether or not you participate in the tradition of New Year’s resolutions, it’s important to reflect on how you’re nurturing your job search or career path. And while these four strategies are a great start, you may take additional steps depending on your field or industry. The Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail is here to help. To learn more, contact our locations in Bardstown, Elizabethtown, Lebanon or Leitchfield.
Terri Thomas is a Client Services Manager for Kentucky Career Center – Lincoln Trail in Lebanon. She can be reached at (270) 692-6870 or firstname.lastname@example.org.