How to spring-clean your career

Don’t use a duster when spring-cleaning your career. Use an industrial strength ride-on scrubber instead. Why tinker? A comprehensive revamp is usually necessary if you’re serious about revitalising your prospects.

The problem is that career spring-cleaning usually peters out after a few weeks and no one even notices you tried to blow away the cobwebs.

Going deeper and scrubbing harder creates a sense of mission. Colleagues, reports and superiors notice the change. This gives you the motivation to stick with it. This is important as tangible results – like promotion – take time.

Just think. If you’re worried your career needs a refurb, other aspects of your life probably need care and attention as well. Do you need to re-brand yourself?

First step is a personal audit. Reflect. Ask yourself ‘what needs to change?’ Then jot down action points. You might consider …

Dated data: update your social media profile, LinkedIn details, CV and your contacts.

De-clutter, reorder and delete: this is especially important with a CV. Delete old computer skills that are now taken as a given, cut out references to student jobs, reduce to one line all reference to entry-level posts.

Brag better: achievers develop a ‘bragalogue’, a catalogue of achievements for the CV or social media profile. Make sure yours is up to date and strikes the right tone. The secret is to brag without seeming to.

Free up time: review how your time is spent. Re-look work schedules. Cut out activities that clutter your day, week and month. Establish new priorities and delete distractions – at work and outside work.

Renew you: develop new talents, start studying again, take up new hobbies, make community commitments. Companies increasingly look for well-rounded performers when advertising a post or promoting from within.

Join the conversation:go on Twitter. Follow the blogs of edgy ‘opinionistas’. What’s trending keeps you abreast of current affairs. New opinions and perspectives freshen your thinking.

Refocus your finances: review debit orders. Simplify. What do you really need? Where’s your money going? Get on top of your finances and you will feel on top of so many other things as well.

Re-engage: develop new networks and revisit existing ones. What relationships have you neglected? What new contacts might help your career or foster fresh interests?

Smarten up: what sort of shape are you in? Proper diet, exercise and sports keep you healthy. They also keep you mentally alert. You perform stronger for longer.

Negate the negatives: scrutinise activities and contacts that sour you, waste time or demotivate you. Are you the problem or are they? Do you need to change? If the other party creates friction and frustration, look for ways to minimise the contact or walk away entirely.

Check expiry dates: sometimes nagging negatives are a legacy issue. Politely distance yourself from past problems. Move on.

After you reflect, select appropriate actions, institute an action plan and follow through.

Don’t wait till tomorrow. Don’t wait for the rains to come. Do it :and spring ahead with your career and perhaps your life as well!

* By Annelize van Rensburg, director of Talent Africa, a leading executive search and Talent Company and an alliance of Korn Ferry, the world’s largest executive search business.
Find out more: www.talent-africa.co.za

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