Happy New Year! If your 2019 resolution includes finding a new job, sharpening your skills, or deepening your knowledge, read on! Amanda Panarese, Director of Alumni Career Services, The University of Virginia Alumni Association, gives valuable resources for career and personal growth.
Ah, January. A new year, a fresh start, and a time to take stock and determine our resolutions (or intentions) for 2019. One of the top resolutions people set each year is to find a new job or learn a new skill; below I have outlined a few evergreen career resolutions that can help you get closer to that goal.
Learn something new. Whether you decide to take a course to sharpen or learn new skills for work, enter a certificate program that will lead to new opportunities, or just want to learn something new for fun, January is a great time to check out different learning options. Companies like Udacity, Coursera, and Udemy tend to offer deals on courses and certificate programs in January. Codeacademy and Khan Academy offer free courses; if you choose to simply audit courses on other sites, you can also usually participate free of charge. If you’re a LinkedIn Premium member, you get access to courses via Lynda.com. UVA’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers a slate of programs that can help you enhance your current career or make a switch. For ways to connect with the University and explore a range of topics through faculty-led events and online resources, take advantage of opportunities offered through the UVA Office of Engagement’s Lifetime Learning program.
Refresh your professional materials. How long has it been since you updated your resume? Your LinkedIn profile? When was the last time you looked back at the good work you’ve done and found a way to promote your achievements? Reviewing your materials not only allows you to update your general information; it’s also a great way to take stock and give yourself credit for achievements, new skills development, or professional certifications. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to check in with your career: Are you seeing a trend in your work/role that may lead you to a different career? Are you positioning yourself in the right way for the job/career you want? If you need help, UVA Alumni Career Services is here: our website offers a variety of resources related to resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn, including our robust Webinar Library. For a more customized experience, we also offer one-on-one career advising, including resume and cover letter reviews, career planning, self-assessments, mock interviews, and more.
Meet new people (and reconnect with contacts). Now, it’s time to focus on networking (or, since many people dislike that word, “talking to people”). Whether you’re a social extrovert or an introvert who thinks meet-and-greets are torture, everyone can successfully network! Think about your career goals—new job, new company, a career switch—and let those be your guide for finding contacts. Consider building your current network by using tools like the LinkedIn University Insights Dashboard, where you can find fellow UVA alumni using a variety of filters. You can connect in ways most comfortable for you: a brief phone call, coffee, or meeting up at a UVA alumni event. Remember to also reconnect with contacts in your current network. Alumni Career Services is building our Alumni Professional Networks program, featuring programming and services for alumni by industry or workplace. Our first network is the Sustainability Alumni Network in partnership with the UVA Office for Sustainability. As we build more networks, we will keep you updated so you may join our networks and begin connecting with fellow alumni. You can also make social (and professional) connections by joining one of the UVA Clubs (Office of Engagement program) or an Alumni Interest Group. However you choose to connect, networking pays great dividends in your job search and career development.
As you pursue your career goals for 2019, I offer one more suggested resolution: Be flexible and resilient. Don’t let small setbacks throw you off course, don’t let rejection cancel out the good work you’re doing, and if a plan isn’t working, don’t be afraid to take a different path or use a creative method to pursue your goals. Most importantly, don’t hesitate to ask for help! Alumni Career Services is here for all of your career needs; contact us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy New Year!