Start From Where You Are

Guest Author: Caroline Ceniza-Levine is co-founder of SixFigureStart, a career coaching firm that specializes in working with Gen Y young professionals. Formerly in corporate HR and retained search, Caroline most recently headed campus recruiting for Time Inc and has also recruited for Accenture, Citibank, Disney ABC, and others.

How do you get resolutions about better managing your career to stick?

Spring is a common kick-off time for all sorts of projects, including career-related. However, even for the same goal (e.g., getting a new job), different strategies will work for different people. For example, getting a job that you love means identifying what you love and getting hired to do that for a living. That equation doesn’t change. But the process for someone who knows what they want and is familiar with the job search process versus someone just starting out is very different. Therefore, whatever your goal, start from where you are.

If you are new to this goal, spend your first month just practicing discipline – maintaining a routine, keeping appointments. For example, make your first month about confirming what you love. If you think it’s writing, set a routine to write several times per week. Sign up for a class to keep yourself accountable. Schedule it in your planner. Even if you don’t produce great work, keep the appointment and just sit there. Step 1 is to faithfully commit to the routine. Once that’s down, you can worry about the next step.

If you are already good about sticking to a plan, make sure you have plans to stick to. It takes approximately 21 days to make a habit. What is your action step each 21-30 days? If month one is doing more of what you love outside the job, perhaps month two adds the job search to the equation. You might start reading about careers that involve writing. You might talk to people in these careers. Month three might be learning the job search process – resume writing, interviewing, research. Then plot months four, five, six, however long you envision to your target success date. You may have to adjust the plan if certain steps take longer or shorter than expected, but you should have some outline to follow.

If you are in the final stretch, your focus is to keep the momentum and avoid plateaus. If you have been eyeing this career change for a while, you might be on auto-pilot and not pushing yourself to the next level. Perhaps you went on a few interviews, got rejected and gave up. Perhaps you’re spooked by the market. Hire a coach for one or two sessions to troubleshoot where you’re stuck and give a fresh perspective. Try a different area within the goal – e.g., focus on a different industry or a new company. Perhaps you even switch your goal for a month – e.g., focus on a fitness or social goal – to shift your perspective and keep yourself fresh.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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