Presenting the Best Version of Yourself
Continuous self-improvement – inside and outside – is an important factor during your job transition. The recommendations in this Tip are resume enhancements that can improve your interview performance.
When we talk about the “inside,” we are referring to activities and improvements that elevate your confidence and upgrade your skill set. These improvements can make your resume unique.
When we refer to updating the “outside,” we are speaking of your external packaging, that is, what you wear and the image you present. Outside updates create that positive first impression so highly important when meeting new people.
Upgrades and Updates
Clients have said “I don’t have the time to join a gym,” or “I don’t have the money to take a college class.” These statements often reflect a person’s quest to remain within his comfort zone. They also reflect a lack of understanding about the difference between costs to be avoided and wise investments that should be built into a budget. Neither option is always a productive choice. Following is how The Job Dog looks at each decision at a deeper level.
- Exercise – Joining a gym or committing to a regular exercise program, even hiring a personal trainer, is likely to improve your appearance and self-image. Exercise improves both inner confidence and external appearance. A fit, energetic look will make you even more competitive in today’s job market.
- Continued Learning – Taking a college class to upgrade your computer skills, learning a new language, or improving your writing or speaking skills are always resume enhancers. These actions present you as a continuous learner who is open to new ideas.
You may ask, “Are you recommending I spend money on ‘extras’ when I am without an income?” Of course, you should avoid non-productive costs. At the same time, you should invest in yourself. Small investments that develop contemporary skills and a great self-image will inevitably improve your marketability. Upgrades and updates are the most productive career-transition behaviors you can take today to win job offers tomorrow.
A Cautionary Note
It is common for a skilled interviewer to ask “What have you done recently to enhance your professional development?” or, “How have you used your time during the last several months of unemployment?” It is okay to say, “I’ve been diligently looking for a job.” It is far better to say, “I’ve been diligently looking for a job and, in addition, I have upgraded and updated myself by…”
In the following list, check the box next to each statement that renews your energy, results in greater confidence, and promotes the best – new and improved – version of yourself to a new employer.Take a skill-broadening class at a local college. Take an online skill enhancement course: see www.Lynda.com or www.KhanAcademy.org Consider the value of an additional or advanced degree. Register for a professional seminar. Acquire a professional skills certification. Join Toastmasters (www.ToastMasters.org) or upgrade your professional speaking skills through other means. Acquire a certification in a software program common to your industry. Update your general Microsoft Office software skills. Write a blog or a website applicable to your profession. Attend an evening workshop on optimizing your LinkedIn profile; learn how to conduct research through the upgraded versions of LinkedIn. Identify and study a series of YouTube videos that are skill-enhancing. Spend time at a college library reading technical or business journals to learn about industry trends. Join a professional organization. Visit your local professional organization’s website to learn about upcoming events, networking meetings, and workshops. Read one or more technical or business books that you could reference in an interview. Read a motivational or inspirational book about self-management or leadership. Join a book club. Attend a weekend retreat or self-improvement workshop. Schedule a brief trip to explore a city to which you may consider relocating. Schedule a physical exam with your physician. Join a gym or hire an exercise coach. Take a nutrition or healthy eating/foods class or workshop. Treat yourself to a high quality haircut or restyling. Upgrade and update your wardrobe; if how to dress for networking or interview success is a concern, talk to someone you know who dresses better than most of your friends, or locate a personal shopper at an upscale clothing store. Update your eyewear to a current style. Join or become a one-time volunteer at a community service organization. Take on a leadership role in an organization in which you are involved. Find a part-time job that would be fun or career-enhancing. Begin a new hobby or find more depth in your current hobby. Join a new place of worship and get involved in some aspect of community service. Take a course in a foreign language. Enroll in a business writing skills course. Subscribe to a hobby or travel magazine. Begin a small building or remodeling project that you find motivational and fun. Take golf or tennis lessons. Plant a garden. Walk or run a 5K or 10K race; get involved as an organizer.
Now, take a second look at this list. If one of these upgrade or update activities resulted in an improved or best version of you – inside or outside – would the investment be worthwhile? If you received a job offer that might have gone to someone else, would the investment be worthwhile? How will you know unless you try?