New Year, New Career: The six-step power plan

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If it’s time to find a new and more satisfying career, you might want to consider the six-step “Power Plan” designed by career consultant Ford R. Myers. “People make all kinds of New Year’s resolutions but you never hear anyone say ‘I want to improve my career status,’ whether it includes finding a new job or fixing the current one,” says Myers, president of Career Potential, based in Haverford, Pa. Career Potential’s Web site, www.careerpotential.net, cites the following steps for implementing the plan:

1. Internal audit. The eight points in this step detail the personal preparation you need to undertake to get your career on track, including:

l Accepting the fact that you are fully responsible for your career.
l Creating a detailed picture of your ideal career.
l Identifying clear, principle-centered goals based on your own definition of success.

2. The job seeker’s “tool kit.” Most job seekers use only their resume as the cornerstone of their search because their other tools are weak or nonexistent. But the resume should actually be one of your least used job-seeking tools. This 10-point outline examines the specific tools that you’ll need and how to use them—not just to land the next job, but also to master the job search process and maximize your long-term career success. Examples include:

l Writing five or six stories about achievements you feel proud of.
l Preparing and practicing a verbal presentation in the form of a “15-second commercial.”
l Developing a detailed system to keep track of your job search activities.

3. Networking: the core of your search. One of the keys to managing your career effectively is to build and maintain a strong and varied network.

4. Interviewing for success: Better interviews get better offers. This information-packed step takes the mystery—and the anxiety—out of job interviewing, from first contact to job offer. Examples include:

l Learning how to effectively answer tough questions.
l Maintaining a proper attitude.
l Implementing appropriate follow-up strategies.

5. Salary negotiations: the rules of the game. Why is it that people have such a difficult time successfully negotiating their compensation? The reason we can’t or won’t negotiate is not because we’re incapable of doing this, but because we just don’t know how! This very practical, “real world” step focuses on mastering the rules of the negotiation game.

6. Who’s managing your career? A guide for perpetual career management. In the old days, companies used to manage their employees’ careers by planning succession, offering security and guaranteeing promotions. Not anymore! In today’s workplace, if you’re not managing your career, no one is! This step focuses on concrete, practical steps to manage your career effectively over the long term, including:

l Keeping all your success documents up to date.
l Putting time aside every week for active networking.
l Researching and being aware of the competition.
l Offering to help people in your network.