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New year, new career? Don’t start with your resume!

Updated: Jan 15, 2022

The new year, for many, holds significance. Maybe it’s a time for a fresh start and a chance to do things differently? The changing of the decade and moving into the year 2020 seems particular so. For many of us, the concept of a new year, new career is a very common thought and for good reason.

The impact of the bushfires on so many lives has revealed the kindness of strangers far and wide; the beauty of community connections; and the emergence of leaders and role models with heart and compassion. For some of us, it has resulted in soul-searching, the recognition that life is unpredictable and that there is more to this lived experience than the daily grind.

For those who are now looking for a new purpose-driven direction and a new job, let’s add to that, a new approach to your job search when taking that first step (hint: getting your resume together isn’t the first step!)

Get to know YOU

Completing a self-assessment can be confronting for some and cathartic for others! If you find it challenging, a great friend or objective coach can really help you make the most of it. I can tell you from many years’ experience in this industry, it’s a huge benefit to your result.

Self-assessment benefits

You’ll achieve an objective reflection of yourself, including your marketable strengths, your true interests and preferred skills (this will lead to a well-focused resume and job search).

You may also identify career history patterns which can help you make better career decisions.

The exercise will help you determine the work environments & jobs in which you will thrive.

You’ll be more confident to commence your job search when you have taken the time to reflect on, and become aware of, your strengths and professional achievements.

Self-assessment strategies

Identify your skills

There are 3 categories:

  1. Personal traits (e.g. “creative” “detail-oriented”);

  2. Functional Skills that are transferable to other jobs (e.g. “analysing’ “implementing” “budgeting” “customer service”) and

  3. knowledge/technical skills that related to specialised knowledge often learned on the job or at school (e.g. “writing strategic marketing plan” “creating employee benefits package”)

Identify your strengths

This is one of THE BEST things to do – I’ve seen it result in absolute clarity for individuals and strengths-based resumes that target roles you will thrive in!

There are some great online tools to assist you with this, my favourite (paid) being: or the free Via strengths survey

Identify your Achievements

These are something that you know you’ve done well and are the best reflection of your top skills.

Once your achievements are identified:

  1. Describe the experience that you felt proudest to have achieved. What needed addressing that you responded to?

  2. What action did you take?

  3. Work out what the outcomes were. Why was this important to you?

Identify the environment

The environment in which you thrive – this is important. The more specific you are with yourself about the environment you do want to work in, the more you will know what roles are right or wrong for you to apply for.

For example:

  1. Do you like open office environments and large organisations, or smaller businesses?

  2. Are you task-driven or more autonomous? Do you want to manage people?

  3. Is it flexible work conditions you're after, or are you a 9 to 5 person?

  4. Are you willing to commute or is local work a must?

Read this great article on "Working mum guilt"

Flower diagram

A great tool to summarise your self-assessment is The Flower diagram from the book “What colour is your parachute” by Richard Nelson Bolles (diagram below). Summarising your information on one page will provide the clarity you need to speak with confidence when job searching.

Step one is now complete

Personal and client experiences attest that this exercise is never a waste of time. From the ease of writing your resume to confidence in networking and job interviews, it is undoubtedly a wise investment in yourself!

I wish you all the best in your quest for your new job.

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