Before you pass up on this article as just another summer improvement tome, please be aware – I am not discussing ways to fit into your bikini; I will leave the fitness tips to the Writers out there who truly know that a good breakfast should not include my favourite: iced cap and timbits… 

This article addresses another aspect of your life - your career fitness. Summer is a great time to slow down, take stock, and make a plan for the most rewarding future career.

As promised, here are five tips for taking stock of your skills, planning your next career move, and making it happen!

Step One: Create Your Skills Inventory:
You have heard the saying “if you don’t know where you’re going, you will never get there”.  Taking this first step ensures that you will “know where you are going”.
  • Build your inventory of skills – answer the question: “I am good at” with a list of 8-10 specific skills, strive for career-related skills such as technologies, industry knowledge, and functional tasks.
  • Build your inventory of achievements – answer the question: “I have made my company better by...”  Detail how you have helped make money, save costs, or improve productivity.
  • Consider your passion – Answer the question: “the things that excite me and make me tick are…” – These are the elements of your work or life that you truly enjoy.

Step Two: Create Your Career Plan:
Once you have a good idea of the skills, achievements and motivations that separate you from the competition, it’s time to make a plan.
  • Objective Statement – this answers the question – “what I want from my career?”
  • Positioning Statement – this answers the question – “what can I offer a prospective employer?”
  • Core Competencies – this answers the question – “the major competencies I offer include”
  • Identify employers who need your competencies – start with industries then narrow to companies in your desired target industry, location, and corporate culture. Check and

Step Three: Turn your Plan into Action:
By this step, you know two critical pieces of information: what you have to offer the market, and your ideal target companies. The next step is to make it happen by:
  • List of all companies and contacts with whom you wish to connect. Contact me at if you would like a sample spreadsheet to organize your search.
  • Plan one to two hours every day to research and make outbound calls to desired companies.
  • Follow-up. It may take many attempts to successfully reach an organization.

Step Four: Create a Perfect Resume:
Whereas there is no such thing as a perfect resume, you can ensure that your resume is effective with the following:
  • Keep it brief - one to two pages is ideal. Ensure there is lots of white space.
  • Do not include extraneous information – avoid personal data, addresses and info that is 20 years old.
  • Avoid resume errors such as gaps in employment or multiple short job hops.
  • Focus on specific quantified achievements.
  • Demonstrate what you have done that provides future value to a new employer.
  • Emphasize specific skills that separate you from the competition.
  • Let your personality shine through – avoid generic resume formats and content.
  • Include 20+ key words to ensure you match ATS searches.
  • Edit – typos can sink your search…

Step Five: Create Impactful Marketing Material:
In today’s digital age, a resume is not enough. Create supportive material such as a personalized, key-word rich, LinkedIn profile, and cover letters to match your skills to the position’s requirements.
  • LinkedIn can reach a huge market. Ensure that it is: perfect grammatically, creatively written, and parallel to your resume.
  • Your cover letter gives you a chance to demonstrate your understanding of a company and match skills to their needs. You need to answer the question: “I can help you by…”
  • Check out your on-line presence and set privacy settings on Facebook, twitter etc.
  • Get the message out. Contact as many prospective employers as possible.

About the author:

Linda has helped people at all levels, from students to managers, transition to satisfying careers. Her clients respond that the resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and career advice, have helped them open doors and attain desired positions!  You can reach Linda at: or online at

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