Sunday, December 26, 2010
Your Career and You: "Five End-of-Year To-Dos for Your Future"
We're in the final countdown now to the tottering end of 2010 and the teetering start of a brand-new year.
But before you send this first decade of the new millennium packing, though, here are five things you should do to ensure that 2011 truly is a winner.
1. Cover Letter and Resume
By now, the eggnog-induced euphoria of the Yuletide season should be drifting gently away. Pull these two puppies up on your computer screen and give them the icy glare of Father Time being booted into the closet.
Is what you see what you want to say and would like to be remembered as? Not only from the content aspect but from the appearance as well?
Format organized and professional? Font readable (minimum 11-point; maximum 12-point)? Your name/address/contact info the same for both pieces? Margins even (1 inch for the sides)?
It's the start of a new year, and you're actually allowed to reach out to folks who you may not have been in contact with in a while as well as to recent contacts to wish them good fortune in the coming year (and remind them you're still around...hint...hint).
Short email is best. ("Dear X - As we prepare to enter the new decade, I wanted to send you my best wishes for a success-filled 2011. My own resolution for the coming year is to find a/an new opportunity/entry-level position that will allow me to fully use my communication skills (etc., etc.). Wishing you a Happy New Year! - (you)")
'Tis the party season. Take advantage of the many opportunities to gather with friends, family, casual acquaintances.
You never know. Uncle Fred, who you haven't seen in dog years, may know "someone you can talk to." As I noted in a recent guest-post I did for Sidney Maxwell Public Relations, talk to "family, friends of family, family of friends." You never know where the connection might lie.
As I sit watching what has been billed by eager-voiced weather-prognosticators as "THE BLIZZARD OF 2010!!!", I'm finding myself thinking about my own skills and abilities and mentally making note of places that could use a little touch-up. You should do the same!
Do some prioritizing. Looking back on the past year, what have you done that you're really, really proud of?
Make a list. It might be one or two accomplishments; it might have been a remarkable year, and you have four or five! Whatever the number, take note of what you've done...they're "previews of coming attractions"!
5. Be Proud of Who You Are
As a college freshman, I had a summer job working in a woolen mill in my hometown. I remember meeting and becoming friendly with a fellow whose job it was to operate a cloth-folding machine. He pushed a button to start the machine. When the container into which the cloth was being folded was full, he pushed a button to stop the machine and get another container. Then he pushed the button again...
What has stuck with me in the ensuing 46 years was the visible pride that this fellow took in his work. He was the maestro of this machine and had a mission of producing containers filled with immaculately-folded cloth.
Where I saw "mundane," he saw a masterpiece. Where I saw blinding boredom, he saw beautiful bundles. He was...rightfully so...proud of who he was...a professional in his field.
The year's coming to an end, and a new beginning is right around the corner. If you follow these five simple pieces of advice, you'll be prepared to dive in and make a difference...to yourself, and to the lucky organization that recognizes your enthusiasm and potential.
"'Twixt the optimist and pessimist
The difference is droll:
The optimist sees the doughnut
But the pessimist sees the hole."
McLandburgh Wilson, "Optimist and Pessimist"