By Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck, Crosswalk.com
COVID-19 has impacted everyone’s career in one way or another across the globe during 2020 and continues to in 2021.
More people are working remotely than ever before. Zoom meetings have become commonplace for staff meetings and classrooms. A large number of people have lost their jobs as employers struggle to survive.
Many people have been forced to change careers as their industry has been especially hard hit. Those seeking new employment candidates have underestimated how hard it is to secure a new job as employers use Applicant Tracking Systems and Zoom interviews.
In spite of COVID-19 or even because of COVID-19, these nine keys can help you to make 2021 the year that you find work that fits your God-given design, work that you love.
1. Give Yourself a Career Checkup
While it is wise to get a checkup annually from your doctor, it can be equally important to do the same for your career. Doing so can lead to being a healthier, more joyful worker in your current job or a new one.
How is your work-life going? Are there any changes that you would like to make? For example, an increase in salary by requesting a raise; a request for working from home; or perhaps searching for a brand-new career.)
Start by assessing where you are today. Ask yourself the following:
- Dissatisfied with my job or at a career crossroads?
- Uncertain whether to continue in the same job or make a change to a new job or career?
- Concerned that I will be downsized and feeling confused about what to do?
- Between jobs due to COVID-19 and having difficulty securing employment?
- In school, and unsure about how to choose a career that I will find interesting and fulfilling?
- Grappling with knowing what God wants me to do with my career and life?
- Feeling an emerging desire to serve God in new ways through my work, but I’m unclear as to what I should do next?
If any of the above describes you, you are not alone! Studies by Gallup report that only 35% of workers are engaged in their work. The other 65% of workers see their work as just a job to produce income or are actively disengaged and miserable in their work.
To live is to grow and change, and nowhere is that more evident these days than in the world of work. We are living in a time of transition and change. In our book, Live Your Calling, we write:
“Most of us experience times when we feel lost or as though we are just surviving in life. Sometimes we feel disoriented by the circumstances and decisions we face. As young adults, we have to choose a career direction for the first time.
Later in life, we may have to do so again as the result of midlife changes, job loss, the empty nest, divorce, a spiritual awakening, or retirement. What should I do? Which way should I go? we wonder.
Other times we may look at the familiar routine of our days, weeks, and years and be struck by a sense of purposelessness. We fear that we are experiencing but a shadow of the life we were meant to live. In the quiet places of our soul, we hear whispered, "There's got to be more to life than this."
In conducting a checkup, you may also want to use our free career fit checkup.
2. Identify Your Accomplishments in 2020
Whether your work is a good fit or not, writing down your top accomplishments and all the ways that God has blessed you within your work will help you to appreciate what happened in 2020 and prepare you for success in 2021. For example, your accomplishments can be included in your resume and LinkedIn portfolio.
3. Assess Your God-Given Design
Assessing your design should be an annual event as each year you will develop and grow. Who am I? What is my God-given design? What gifts and abilities has God given to me to use in this world?
God has created you to be a unique individual, with a specific design of abilities and interests. His desire is for you to work out of your design; that is, find work that utilizes what you love to do. He wants you to experience the joy and satisfaction that comes from doing the work He created you to do.
In so doing, you glorify Him. To work out of your design, however, you must know what it is.
One of the most effective way to discover and/or reassess your understanding of your design is through an assessment process which can include career tests, exercises, etc. You can do this through the Christian Career Center’s professional career testing or on your own using tools like the Career Fit Test.
4. Assess the Needs in the World You Are Enthusiastic about Addressing
What needs, issues and/or causes do I find compelling and desire to address in my work? What am I enthusiastic about learning that can help other people?
The term enthusiasm is derived from the Greek words, en and theos, with means God in us. God can shoulder all the needs in the world, but He chooses to parcel out to each of us enthusiasms for meeting particular needs in the world.
So, ask yourself, what are needs in the world that I might like to help meet? For deep-felt needs in the world there will always be people who are making a living by meeting those needs.
As you identify your God-given design and the needs in the world that you are enthusiastic about meeting, you will find your calling in the world.
5. Expand Your Vision
You can only choose from opportunities that you are aware of. Knowing your God-given design can help you to explore new options through using tools like the ONET, OOH, LinkedIn and informational interviewing which involves talking to people that are in careers that could be of interest to you. Find people that are meeting needs in the world that you are enthusiastic about and ask what steps will be good for you to take if you decide to pursue the work they do.
6. Seek out the Needed Training, Development and Education for Your New Career and/or to Be More Effective in Your Current Job
Your research in the previous step can help you to identify the new skills, in-demand certificates, graduate degrees or other education that is needed to transition into new careers and jobs.
For 2021 what do you need to learn to better do your current job or for a new opportunity?
Education can be formal or informal depending on what your goals are. Spend some time researching the different options that will help you in changing jobs and/or excelling in your current career area. Here is a great article on how to learn anything faster and better.
Associations can also be a part of your training and development. Many associations have websites that include resources for learning new skills. By Googling the name of the career area that you are pursuing followed by the work “association” you should be able to find some of the best associations to get involved with. Once you find an association’s website, take time to explore if they have a local chapter you could get involved with and if they have resources for growing in your career field.
7. Update Your “Big Six” Marketing Materials
The “big six” marketing tools will help you connect with employers, get interviews and ultimately receive job offers and promotions. These “big six” marketing tools will prepare you to conduct an effective job search and/or market yourself to your clients and customers. The “big six” marketing tools are:
1. Targeted resume: According to The Ladders research, recruiters spend an average of “six seconds before they make the initial ‘fit or no fit’ decision” on candidates. Make sure your resume is updated and targeted for your career path.
2. Targeted cover letter: According to a survey by the professional staffing service, Robert Half, 91% of executives polled said cover letters are valuable when evaluating job candidates. Having your cover letter up to date will allow you to be ready to apply for any jobs of interest.
3. LinkedIn profile: Also, known as Resume 2.0. LinkedIn can be your online resume as well as being a vital tool in your job search process which we will look at in a later step. 94% of recruiters, according to top recruiting research company Jobvite, use LinkedIn to find qualified candidates. Tend to your LinkedIn profile by adding connections, being active in groups and requesting endorsements.
4. Strengths summary, a.k.a., “elevator pitch: Many employers make decisions about job candidates within the first 30 seconds to two minutes of having met them. One of the most strategic things that you can do for yourself in making a good first impression is to develop a “commercial,” about 30 seconds in length, about what you can do for an employer. Develop and practice using your strength summary as you network with those around you who can help you with your career advancement.
5. Personal contact letter: (William Frank, the author of 200 Letters For Job Hunters, says that, “Fifty to seventy-five percent of good jobs come from friends and acquaintances—and from their friends and acquaintances—by word of mouth. The higher the level of the job, the more that rule applies.
At the senior executive and professional level, for example, as many as 90 percent of good jobs come through personal friends.” The personal contact letter is a cover letter that allows your friends and acquaintances to become involved in your job search. Develop a personal contact cover letter that you can use with friends and acquaintances.)
6. Direct employer contact letter: (A direct employer contact letter is used to tap into the hidden, or unadvertised, job market where up to 85% of jobs are found. This type of cover letter is written to the hiring manager of a company for a job that has not been advertised and/or may not currently be available. Start to identify the companies in your area that you would be motivated to be a part of their team. Then send a letter along with your resume inquiring about opportunities for someone with your skills and experience.)
8. Invest Time in Updating Your Online Brand
Ninety percent of employers will google your name. What will they find? Does your LinkedIn profile, Facebook and any other online presence represent you well? Take action to polish you’re your online presence to present your best professional self.
9. Evaluate the Challenge and Support in Your Life
Challenge within your work life needs to be balanced by support for you to have growth in your career. Too much challenge and not enough support and you will probably be stressed and anxious. Low amounts of challenge with lots of support and you will probably be bored. Do you need to add more support or challenge or both?
Your network can be one of your best support tools if you take time to nurture it. This can be as simple as sending a colleague an article that they may find helpful or asking a friend to go out for coffee. Do this with the mindset of not what is in it for you but rather what you can do for someone else.
Zig Ziglar was known for saying, "You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want."
These nine action steps can help you to find and land a job you will love in 2021.
© Article copyright by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck, National Certified Career Counselors, ChristianCareerCenter.com, ChurchJobsOnline.com and ChristianJobFair.com. All rights reserved. The above information is intended for personal use only. No commercial use of this information is authorized without written permission.
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