"Reach for the stars!"
"Achieve your dreams!"
"Live your passion!"
...Sound familiar? Hey, we're down with inspirational cat posters, but in a super demanding, extremely competitive career market, spouting off unspecific advice like "reach for the stars" won't help much (and also, could result in you burning up in the atmosphere.)
Instead, we're all about the actionable goal: Something that you can put on your to-do list and achieve to help get you where you want to go. Reaching for the stars and following your passion is great, but you'll need actual steps to get you there. Here are a few super-actionable goals that you can start today for a better shot at your dream career tomorrow.
Set Up Coffee Talks
Coffee talks are informal interviews that let you pick the brains (no, not actually; this isn't The Walking Dead) of people that you respect. Maybe it's the parent of a friend, a social media contact, or a friend of a friend who has a really cool job. The purpose is to help you get tips to getting a similar career, all while strengthening your networking prospects so that when the right job comes along, you know the people who can help you snag it.
Create a goal for two or three coffee talks each month and you'll see that it's a great way to help you "achieve your dreams!"
Check Your Online Presence
Do us a favor: Sign out of all of your social media accounts and then Google yourself. Like what you see? Depending on your privacy settings, prospective employers might not be getting the right picture of what you're all about. Take the time to update your social media accounts, remove anything that you don't want employers to see, and open accounts for more serious platforms like LinkedIn or an online profile. One afternoon cleaning up your online presence could make all the difference.
Commit to a Course
If you really want to "reach for the stars!" you're going to need to do more than hope a spaceship passes by. Instead, make sure you're ready for any opportunity by increasing your knowledge bank and making yourself more employable. Just one free course each month on a topic that interests you and plays into your career goals can help you round out a weak resume and give you a little more edge. There are plenty of free courses through learning websites, local schools, and even global universities to help you get there.
Polish Your Interview Skills
If you feel like you spend a lot of time almost getting the job, you might want to brush up on your interview skills. You might not realize that your tone of voice and body language is saying something, and working on perfecting the way you come across is a super actionable to get where you want to be.
Ask a friend or parent to ask you some questions, or record yourself in a mock interview. Watch the video back and you might be able to pinpoint possible issues that could be slowing your roll when it comes to interview progress. Practice makes perfect, and a you might only be a perfect interview away from your unicorn job.
So, while you should definitely reach for the stars and live your passion, you need to lay the groundwork first. Don't wait around hoping that your dreams will achieve themselves: start today to take the first steps to get yourself on track.