Part of time management is knowing your priorities, passions, and gifts so you know how to invest your life. Helen Coster wrote the following article for Forbes, which provides hints for examining your career satisfaction and productivity.
"You've sent your sweaters to summer storage, stashed away your snow boots and vacuumed up five months' worth of dust under your bed. Your career needs a spring-cleaning, too. Whether you're actively looking for a new job or just willing to jump if the right opportunity comes along, use this season as an occasion to make yourself a better job candidate.
Tackle the most intimidating chore first, by designating time to take stock of where you are professionally. Many of us get so caught up in our day-to-day duties that we lose sight of whether we're on the right path to begin with.
Do you enjoy going to work every day? Are you stimulated by what you do? Are you making enough to live the way you want and save for the future? Are you pursuing your professional dreams? If not, take steps.
"The most effective thing you can do to get to your next job is get a sense of where you should be going," says Win Sheffield, a career coach with the Five O'Clock Club, a career coaching organization. "Many people discount this question, because they assume they're at the whim of the market."
You don't need to figure out your life's purpose or have a laser-focused vision of the future before you can make a move, Sheffield says. "While that kind of focus is great, it's not in most of us." Instead, he recommends, have an open mind about different careers that might satisfy you.
Start by developing a sense of what naturally interests you now. What do you read about in your spare time? What are your hobbies? Consider careers that could develop out of those passions.
To get the most out of your current job, take on added responsibilities that will challenge you. In mastering new skills you may discover new things that excite you and give you ideas about what you want to do next.
Next, dust off your résumé. Sheffield says that employers look at a résumé for an average of 10 seconds, and that people who have worked for less than 10 years should keep theirs to one page. If you've been working longer than that, consider two pages. Replace hackneyed expressions like "strong team player" and "possess organizational skills" with strong, active verbs that demonstrate results.
"An employer hires you to solve his problems," Sheffield says. "The single best indicator that you're right for the job is an example of where you've solved other people's problems."
Whenever possible, use numbers to document your performance. Instead of saying, "Managed a team of three," say, "Managed a team of three employees who interacted with clients and had a 100% client-retention rate over two years." Include keywords related to your skills and background, since many big companies use computers to screen résumés for phrases, like "analyst" or "financial modeling." Have a friend double-check your résumé for spelling and grammatical errors, and always be honest.
Update your LinkedIn profile. Add links to any websites that showcase your work. Write a summary of your career, including as many keywords as possible. Enlist colleagues to write recommendations. Increase your volume of connections by reaching out to former colleagues. Send a brief personal note with each invitation to link. Flesh out the "Experience" section to include a description of every job you've had.
Clean up your online reputation, as well as your workspace. Either set your Facebook settings so prospective employers can't see your updates and photos or be very sure to post information that presents you in a positive, professional light.
Set aside an hour before or after work to declutter your desk. File business cards in some kind of searchable way, and file random documents.
Brush up on the latest skills in your profession. Work on your public speaking with an organization like Toastmasters International. Ask your office information-technology guru for a lesson in Excel or PowerPoint. Sign up for a continuing education class. If you have an area of expertise that you can share with others, gain visibility by starting a blog about it.
Network both inside and outside your organization. The best time to network is when you're not actively searching for a job. "When you're gainfully employed, you're in a position of strength when you meet new people," Sheffield says. "They're not worried that you're going to ask them for a job." Join an alumni organization, and network internally by meeting colleagues for lunch or coffee at least once a week.
Clean up your schedule by considering all the things that compete for your time, and decide what to keep and what to discard. If you volunteer with three nonprofit organizations, select the most meaningful one, focus on it and stop giving your divided attention to all three. Focus on the things that are important to you and ditch the extraneous.
Lastly, update your "bragalogue," a short, pithy story that incorporates a few bits of information about who you are and what you've done. Think of a few positive things you can say about your work, and be prepared to share them during fly-by encounters with your boss.
If you don't already have one, create a journal in which you keep track of your achievements. Every time you accomplish something, add an entry, noting what you did and why it was important. When possible, show how that achievement helped your company. The list will help you make your case for an internal promotion. Or, if you've stopped being excited about your accomplishments, it will indicate that it's time for something new."
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