A new year is a great time to assess where you’re at professionally. Is it time for you to make a job change? Or a career change? This 21-day challenge is designed to help!
During this challenge, you’ll take 30 days of consistent action in five different areas:
- Where Are You Now?
- Where Are You Going?
- What Sets You Apart?
- What’s Your Plan?
- Let’s Do This!
Take action each day in one of these areas (see the list below for ideas). This challenge will reward effort,not results.But results will come when you take consistent action, day after day, in meeting your goal!
For best results, enlist an accountability partner to help you complete the challenge. Ideally, it will be someone who is looking to make a job or career change too, so you can keep each other accountable and on track. For best results, check in with each other daily.
There are three ways to conduct the challenge:
- Do one action item each day for 21 days straight
- Take action for five days each week (no weekends) for four weeks (plus one day)
- Take actions for three days each week for seven weeks (for example, Monday-Wednesday-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday)
It’s up to you!
At the end of each week during the challenge, reward yourself for good performance. Enjoy a special outing or anything else that will encourage you to keep going!
Here are some suggested actions within each of the areas. Next week, I will offer more actions for each area
Where Are You Now?
- Find the most recent version of your résumé and/or cover letter and locate the most recent copy of your job description.
- Google yourself. What comes up when you put your name in Google? Evaluate your social media presence.
- Brainstorm a list of everything you need to add to your résumé: recent work experience and accomplishments, education, training, certifications or licenses, etc.
- Identify and review your most recent performance evaluation or annual review. What were you commended for?
Where Are You Going?
- Why do you want to make a change? Take 15 minutes and sit down and make a list of the things you doand do notlike about your current job/career.
- Instead of asking yourself, “What do I want to be when I grow up,” sit down and take a few minutes to ask yourself the question, “What problem(s) do I want to solve?”
- Brainstorm what are the 10 most likely job titles for the position you want.
- Research and identify three job postings for the type of position you’d like (even if these aren’t actually job postings you actually end up applying for).
- Spend some time thinking about your dream job. Make a list of the types of things you’d be doing each day if you were working your dream job.
What Sets You Apart?
- What value would you bring to your next employer? Can you help the company make money? Save money or save time? Make work easier, or solve a specific problem? Expand their business and attract or retain customers? Identify what you can do in each of these areas.
- Outline five accomplishments using the C-A-R strategy. (What was the Challenge? What Actions did you take? What Results did you achieve?)
- Make a list of new skills and education you’ve achieved. Have you attended any conferences? Achieved a certification?
- Also consider non-traditional education/training. Assemble a list of online courses, boot camps, and tutorials you’ve completed that are relevant to your job/career target.
What’s Your Plan?
- Take a few minutes to organize your job search. Create a weekly list of activities you’ll engage in.
- Identify the skills, training, and/or education you need for success in your next job or career. Research how to obtain one of these.
- Take a skills test or skills interest inventory to assess your strengths and skills.
- Research your target job salary.
- Reach out to someone who works for the company you want to work for, or in the industry you want to work for. Ask them if they will meet you for lunch or dinner.
Let’s Do This!
- Research one of the companies that you’re interested in. Look at their website. Do a Google search on them. Look at what current and former employees have to say about them on sites like Glassdoor.
- Go through your network and contact anyone you know (or a friend-of-a-friend) who works for each of the companies you your target company list.
- Reach out to one person in your network and let them know you are looking for a new opportunity.
- Identify a hiring manager at one of your target companies and see if you can find someone in your network who knows him or her and can make an introduction to that person.
- Join a professional association and examine how you can get more involved.
Completing the 21-Day Challenge
At the end of the 21 days, review your progress. Do you have any leads on unadvertised openings? Any interviews or job offers yet? If not, don’t worry. The majority of this 21-day challenge is focused on preparing yourself for the job search, not conducting the job search.
Even if you’re not yet in your new job, celebrate your completion of the 21-day challenge! By sticking with the challenge, you’ve set yourself up for success in the new year.