Life is full of pleasant and unpleasant surprises, and each day when we wake up and head out the door, we don’t know what kinds of changes and exciting events will come our way before we arrive home in the evening. Sometimes the day ends the way it began. But sometimes, before the sun sets, we find ourselves standing on the brink of an amazing new job opportunity that can change our lives and take our careers to the next level.
This can happen whether we’re officially on the job market or not. Those who are actively looking for new opportunities aren’t the only ones who find them. And when job opportunities come our way, it’s a good idea to be ready. Here are a few tips to consider. Think about the ones that relate to your own set of circumstances.
If you’re working steadily and your situation feels satisfying and stable, congratulations! There’s no greater feeling than spending each day immersed in a job you love. The best advice anyone can give you is simple: appreciate what you have and try to live in the present. But meanwhile, keep one eye on your resume. Whenever you accomplish something that makes you especially proud, make a note of it. That means, physically write it down. You may think you’ll remember your glorious moment forever, but it doesn’t always work out that way.
A record of your accomplishments can help you make a case for promotions and salary raises during your yearly reviews. But just as important, a written record can make it easy to put together a polished resume on the spur of the moment. No matter how happy you are right now, you may be interested in new changes and challenges sometime in the future. Your wildest, most out-of-reach career dreams may have yet to be fulfilled.
You have a job. And that’s more than many people can say these days. But things could definitely be better. You may not be ready to make the leap and officially declare yourself on the market, and you may be somewhat confined by your circumstances—sometimes to trying to find a new job while holding onto your current one can feel risky or socially awkward. But if a chance meeting points you toward a new situation, or a window of opportunity opens for just a moment, you need to be ready to climb through that window and get the heck out of here.
If this describes your situation, don’t just keep a written record of your accomplishments in case you need to write a resume later. Actually write one, polish it, edit it, and keep it updated. You’ll also want to keep it accessible. If a serendipitous contact asks you for a resume, don’t just say “I can send it to you later.” Be ready to take out your mobile device and drop your document in the person’s inbox before the conversation is over.
You’ll also want to make sure your online presence is cleaned up and your profiles shine like the profiles of somebody who’s looking for work. And try to nurture relationships with those who might be able to provide recommendations and guidance when your moment arrives.
If you’re already on the market, then there’s no need to tell you it’s time to polish your resume. And there’s no need to send you off in search of recommendations and references. But you still need to be prepared every day for an unexpected proposal, offer, or interview invitation. Avoid making vacation plans that can’t be altered or cancelled on a moment’s notice. And think ahead. Keep your interview suit clean and pressed, and if you apply for a dream job that lies outside your geographic area, spend at least a few minutes thinking about what you’ll do if you receive an offer.
Unexpected opportunities can be stressful if we aren’t ready. But if we are, they can mark some of the best days of our entire lives. Stay flexible and enjoy the adventure!
Author Credit: LiveCareer (www.livecareer.com), home to America’s #1 Resume Builder, connects job seekers of all experience levels and career categories to all the tools, resources and insider tips needed to win the job.
Image Credit: gailjadehamilton
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