Dare we say it? It can even be fun, if you do it right. This doesn’t have to be an expensive, laborious, months-long process: Everything can be completed in a lively eight hours, the equivalent of one normal work day. Recently, Kristen went from looking like a fun mom to a fund raiser in a matter of hours. This recently divorced mother of three needed to re-enter the working world fast, and in only one day she was ready.
“I hadn’t had a full time job outside the home in years–I was busy at home raising my kids,” she said. “Everything had changed 180 degrees since last time I looked for work. It’s overwhelming trying to figure out even where to start. This immediately got me going in the right direction.”
Kristen’s small son had recently battled cancer, and she decided she would like to work for a non-profit organization to help raise funds and comfort families. She needed to know how to incorporate her invaluable personal experience in her professional resume, how to use social networking to reach out to potential donors and sponsors and how to dress professionally to approach them in person. She was able to accomplish all of this and more in just one day.
Even if you already have a job, you might be worried about hanging onto it. Why not set aside a Saturday to give yourself this one-day career makeover, so you’ll be ready to start a job search if, god forbid, you get laid off. It never hurts to reconnect with old (and possibly influential friends) This is also a helpful exercise if you’re happily employed and seeking a promotion.
“Once I started suddenly dressing better for work and sharpening my image,” said Anne, who prefers not to give her full name so as not to tip her hand, “people thought I was going on interviews for other jobs. Within two weeks my bossed called me in, asked me if I was happy, and offered me a raise and a promotion even in this economy! It was great!”
Who knows? Once you complete these steps, you just might wake up the next morning and find, waiting patiently in your e-mail box, a few job opportunities from employers who are looking for you!
Here’s your agenda:
8-10AM: Spend two hours producing a killer resume, highlighting your special skills and eliminating work experience that is irrelevant to the types of positions you’re currently seeking. You might want to create a few different resumes, if you’re applying for diverse jobs in different fields. See emurse.com for answers to all your resume questions, as well as resume templates and useful examples and tips.
10AM: Start the physical process. If you’re feeling flush, go for a blow dry if you’re a woman or a haircut and/or shave if you’re a man, at your favorite (budget) salon. If you’re watching your pennies, wash, dry and style your hair at home so you look your best
11AM: Women: Have your makeup done for free at the makeup counter in your favorite department store. You might want to at least buy a lip-gloss to thank them. If you’re doing the home-version of this makeover, carefully do your makeup in-house, as if you were going to an important event. Men: Take this time to shave and trim any unruly facial hair.
Noon: Select a fresh, hip, outfit from your closet. Make sure there are pops of color in it — no plain white shirts, or a boring cream shirt and black jacket combos. Feel free to use the news anchor’s trick of wearing a colorful shirt/top and/or tie with jeans or sweats underneath — you’re only going to be shooting head and shoulders. No big prints, and no busy backgrounds. It’s best to stand against a plain colored or brick wall, so no one will be able to tell where you are. Once you look your absolute best, have a friend, spouse, neighbor, whomever, snap several digital photos and download the best on your home computer.
1PM: Serve your photographer lunch — it’s the least you can do for his or her services. While you’re eating, have your photographer proof your resume. You should NEVER send it out without having at least one other person proof it.
2PM: Select an elegant business card template from one of the many free online providers like Vistaprint.com or Bizcard.com. Some sites will print the cards for you free — all you have to do is pay postage. You’ll want these cards to have your name, your e-mail address, and your phone number. No street address, and only include your profession or the position you’re seeking if you have something very specific in mind. Otherwise, leave it open.
3PM: Start your own blog so it will be easy for employers to find you online. Post that fabulous digital photo you just took and a professional profile using information from your new resume. Also, provide snippets, tips and teases from any online articles about your profession that you’ve read recently. Make sure you provide a link to the original article. A few sites that offer free blogs include blog.com, blogger.com and blogster.com.
4PM: Begin your social networking campaign. Post that flattering photo on LinkedIn.com, and fill in all the professional information that site allows you to. Remember to use the job title you’re seeking quite a few times, so that recruiters who are searching for people in your field can find you easily. Send connection requests to people who work for companies you admire. You can do the same thing on a professional Facebook page. If you already have a personal Facebook page, start a professional one that has no pix of your kids, pets or any references to Farmville or Mafia Wars, etc. Find connections and friends in alumni groups, former employer groups and special professional interest groups on these sites, and any other networking sites that pertain to your profession. Search old yearbooks and company directories for ideas about connections.
5PM-on: Step away from the computer. Relax on the couch, kick your shoes off, pour yourself a glass of your favorite beverage and indulge yourself with some mindless TV, reveling in the knowledge that even while you’re sleeping, prospective employers could be searching for you, finding you, and praying that you’ll take the job they’re offering.
“It was a lot of work, and it was tiring, but it was actually a lot of fun,” says Kristen. “When you look good, you feel good. I wasn’t at all ready to go out and find a job before, but now, it’s definitely time! I feel really confident!”
By Lisa Johnson Mandell