Jump Start Your Career in 2018

I spent part of my winter break thinking about all aspects of my career. Although I’ve worked in communications for many years, the landscape continues to change. I want to stay current. I also aspire to be a published author and career coach.

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What  moves are you making to ensure career success? (Photo by Cynthia Price)

Here are 5 things I did to set my priorities and make changes to my career journey:

Paid my membership dues. Before I paid the dues, I considered each organization and whether I was benefiting. I elected not to renew one of my memberships because while the programming was strong it was geared toward individuals at a different place in their careers. Another group has been super encouraging, and I even received a handwritten note from one of the members encouraging me to stretch even further. I renewed that one.

Take a course (or two). I suspect I will always be a lifelong learner. Learning about new platforms, the latest apps and different management styles is important. I’m always looking for webinars, seminars, conferences and classes. I’ve signed up for a WordPress certificate course. I know the basics for my blog, but I’d like to improve my website and find out what I don’t know. For fun – and maybe to help with my mystery writing – I decided to take a course on the “FBI in Movies.” If nothing else, I think I will get to watch some good movies. Anyone for “The Untouchables?”

Network. We all know the value of networking but too often we think of it only in the context of a group setting. I try to have at least two networking lunches a month. One is with a colleague within my organization. I like learning about someone else’s position. An added bonus is that because I work in communications, I almost always also get a nugget for a story. I also network with someone monthly outside of my organization. It allows me to see how other companies and sectors operate.

Entered an awards competition. Each year I look to see if I have anything to enter in a communications contest. My colleague and I review our body of work. I’m reminded of some good work. I’m also reminded of some work I could have done better. And I get ideas for other projects. It’s a great process to prepare myself for the coming year.

Updated my resume and LinkedIn profile. It’s important to do this yearly to ensure everything is up-to-date. I note key projects I worked on in the past year and double check keywords. I also reached out to my references, updating them on my career and to find out what they had been focused on.

Are you ready to jump start your career?

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Communications Contests Add Value to Your Work

AFI002-award-awards -trophy-trophies-statue-beelden-motivatie-motivation-teamwork-oscar-oscarsAward season has kicked off for Hollywood. The same is true in the communications world. I have several opportunities to enter my work in communications contests and learn how I stack up.

Communications awards can provide validation. They may improve your work as you consider what to enter, and whether it is your best work. Judges’ feedback also is helpful. And, the recognition should make you feel good about the work you do.

What do I mean by validation? If you’ve worked hard on an article, a campaign or a project, when it’s finished you, your team and your boss may acknowledge for a moment, but you are usually already hard at work on the next thing. An award for the article, campaign or project validates that you did great work and that others recognize that effort.

When my colleague and I reviewed our work, we made a list of possible entries. A few days later, we reexamined the list. In one or two instances, we deleted the work from the list because while it was good, it wasn’t great. If we are going to enter a contest, we want to enter our best work. We discussed how we could have made the projects stronger and have noted it for future efforts.

I always appreciate the judges’ comments. I take the time to read them. Most often they offer suggestions that would have made the work I submitted even stronger if I had had their tips or advice in advance. I find that useful as I embark on the next project.

Winning an award and being recognized by one’s peers is always nice. Who doesn’t like to hear, “Job well done”?

I have a few more days to finish my entries. I’m already thinking ahead to next year and determining how I can do my best work this year.

Note: For tips on how to enter a contest, check out this post.

 

Unplugging and Doing Nothing

Capture_UnplugWe’re solidly into the new year, and I’ve yet to write about resolutions or what I plan to accomplish.

There’s a reason for that, and it’s nothing alarming.

I needed to unplug.

The quote from Annie Lamont really resonated with me. I’d been feeling overwhelmed and unsettled. I won’t bore you with the specifics because we’ve all felt that way for varying reasons. It’s what you do about it, though, that matters.

For me it was truly about unplugging and not doing anything. Another one of my epiphany quotes is from Lillian Hellman, who said,

“You do too much. Go and do nothing for a while. Nothing.”

— Lillian Hellman

I had about a 10-day winter break where I implemented the sage advice contained in both quotes. Much like a bear, I hibernated. I emerged occasionally to visit with friends, see a movie or enjoy a meal. But overall, I was hibernating at home in yoga pants, oversized comfy tops and thick socks. I was seldom on social media. I was slow to respond to emails. I didn’t even make a “To Do” list.

What I did was nap, watch the birds at the feeders, read a zillion (okay, ten) books and recharge.

I emerged from hibernation ready to embrace 2018. I look forward to continuing my blog this year and hearing what you have to say.

Cheers to 2018!