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Roundup! | Last Year's Best Advice for This Year's Career Goals

A man in a business suit meditates in a chair.

Now that we’re a few months into the year, we thought this would be a good time to remind you to check back in on those career resolutions and to help you stay on track.

Today, we're rounding up our most popular posts from the last year to help you stay committed—or recommit you—to your career goals.


A Little Bit of Everything on Your Resume?

If you’ve had a bunch of different jobs, take another read through this piece and learn how to make your varied experience work to your advantage.

The takeaways:

  • Identify the common threads in the jobs you’ve held, either through mission or skillset, to highlight the strengths you’ll bring to a new organization.
  • A versatile resume shows that you’re flexible and can be adapted to meet the needs of a variety of employers.
  • Your experience may help you to identify a need and pitch a project to address the issue. If you can connect the dots between what the organization needs and how you can fulfill that need, you'll help the hiring manager to better understand why you're a good fit.

Cover letters

5 Cover Letter Tips to Get You Noticed by Your Dream Organization

Cover letters give employers their first glimpse into who you are and why they might want to hire you. Read this piece for tips on what to include in your cover letter, why you should include these key items, and how these tips help to move your cover letter to the top of the pile.

The takeaways:

  • Utilize your cover letter real estate to elaborate on the bullets listed in your resume, but don't be repetitive!
  • When drafting your cover letter, pay close attention to the organization’s mission. Share any experience you have working on the same issues. If you can’t find the common thread, consider whether you have worked toward similar or applicable solutions in a previous job.
  • Offer creative solutions for any pain points that the organization may be dealing with.


The Reason You're Not Getting Interviews

It’s not you! While many jobs simply go to candidates with whom a hiring organization is already familiar (think current staff, board, interns, etc.), the jobs you want are still within reach if you take a targeted approach to your search by getting clear on your goals and building relationships.

The takeaways:

  • Create a spreadsheet to track everything from resume submission details to notes about projects of interest for the organizations you’re interested in.
  • Think about what you want—geographic location, size of the organization, mission of the program—so you can use your cover letter to make a strong case for why you want to work for a particular organization.
  • Make connections and build relationships with people connected to the organizations you're interested in so that the next time a position opens up, they'll know who you are and what you could bring to the organization.


Use Networking to Land a New Job

If networking isn’t your absolute favorite part of professional development and job searching, you’re not alone. Read how one social-impact job searcher learned to battle his dislike for networking and found ways to connect that felt genuine and authentic.

The takeaways:

  • There are places to network with people that aren't big, impersonal events. Start with mutual friends, low-key social gatherings, and even reaching out to former mentors, professors, or colleagues.
  • Networking can be specific—it’s not just for collecting business cards. Look for collaborators to help you work through a problem you’re tackling. This gives you a chance to broaden your network by finding areas of overlap, and you may find your collaborator reaching out to you for help or with a new position in the future.
  • Reach out to people you’d like to work with by crafting an email that is specific, defines a clear request, and allows room for the recipient to decline.
  • When you volunteer on a project, event, or in the office of an organization you’re interested in, you let them see your skills and strengths in action.


What to Do When It's Time to Find a New Job

Before making a decision to move on to a new job, consider the following questions to find out what’s necessary for you to feel engaged at work. If, after answering these questions, you discover it’s time to move on, this piece reminds you to stay committed to the job you are in until you leave.

The takeaways:

  • Are you doing the job you thought you were being hired for?
  • Are you being challenged in your position, or stretched to grow?
  • When was the last time in the past six months that you felt really good about something you did at work?
  • Are you emotionally exhausted and finding your normal routes to self-care aren’t working?
  • Are you getting clear feedback that things aren’t going well?


Online Tools to Help With Productivity

This article presents four solutions to help long-distance teamwork run smoothly and efficiently. Even if you’re not a remote professional, these tools will be useful to anyone looking for a little help with productivity and collaboration.

The takeaways:

  • Slack: Slack allows everyone on your team to communicate by creating a shared digital workspace where conversations can be organized and archived. You can also upload and exchange files and access across multiple devices.
  • Trello: Trello is an online project management platform that lets you set deadlines, assign tasks, and track conversations with collaborators.
  • Google Hangouts: Google Hangouts is a free option for video conferencing. Use it for messaging, voice, and video calls.
  • Microsoft OneDrive: If you prefer Microsoft products, OneDrive allows you to share files remotely and is easily accessible on multiple devices.

Over 50

Reinventing Your Career Over 50

More and more Americans are working past the age of 65, and many are doing it by reinventing their professional persona. By following the tips in this piece, you may discover that the best stretch of your work life is still ahead of you.

The takeaways:

  • Most people no longer spend their entire career in one place. Knowing how to take the skills you’ve learned and apply them to a new role is the first step of a successful reinvention.
  • Next, think beyond what you’ve done and think about the kind of future you want. Which jobs would give you a sense of purpose? What new skills would you like to learn?
  • It’s possible to plan for a career change while in your current role. Think about the level of responsibility you want to have, what financial considerations you should be making, and even where you might want to retire.
  • Be open to new ways for testing the waters: volunteer, combine work and travel, search for part-time work, and consider seasonal employment.

Professional development

10 Social-Impact Podcasts

Podcasts are a great professional development solution when you don’t have as much time (or as much money) as you’d like to attend a conference or take a class. They deliver advice on social-change issues from a wide range of speakers, offer practical tips you can use right away, and help you to discover practices to keep you engaged and excited about social-impact work.

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About the Author | For nearly two decades, Jeannette Eaton has been working for nonprofits and helping people identify their strengths. She has experience as an advocate for women and girls in crisis, a volunteer coordinator for adult literacy, and a family literacy instructor.

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