New Year, new career?

Ryan Boyd
New Year, new career?

If your daily grind is getting you down, maybe now is a good time to take a step back and rethink your career path.

“Take control of your career,” says Grant Verhoeven, award-winning career development consultant, trainer, and Lead Consultant at Sparked Careers.

“It is estimated we are going to work 80,000 hours over our life, go through 14 different roles, and 4 major career shifts. So why wouldn’t you invest a small proportion on your career development so you can be doing what you enjoy, and can make the greatest difference in the world?

“It wasn’t until I had to go through redundancy in my 30s that I discovered that there was an easier, smarter way to accelerate my career progress with best-practice tools.”


But it’s a daunting prospect. Where should you start?

The first step is a simple one, says Grant.

“Sit down over a cup of coffee and get clear on what you want to do for the year.

“Do a quick snapshot on how you currently feel about your current role (1-10, 1 being not so great and 10 being great), your prospects, and what success would look like in 2019.”

From there, you can begin to get an idea of where you want to go, and how you will get there.


Work on your brand

If you’re going job hunting, you’ll need an updated CV that really pops, a targeted and personalised cover letter, and ask people to review both before sending them off.

“Get advice, in particular around CVs, cover letters and direction, off friends and family. They are a great sounding board.”

But don’t stop there. It’s safe to assume potential recruiters will be looking you up online as well.

“You need to take control of your Google search as people will use it.

“You need a great picture, a powerful headline, and a relevant personal summary on LinkedIn so you make the very best first impression.

Finally, and most crucially, you need to work on your interpersonal skills.

“Interviewing, cover letters, CVs, and job hunting are all part of the mix, but I am a big believer that they are just a representation of how you see yourself.”


Network, network, network

“Networking is essential, I can’t stress it enough,” says Grant.

“However, it needs to be done in a targeted, structured way with you having a clear idea of what you are aiming for, and the strengths you bring.

“How did you get your current or past roles? In my workshops the biggest source is through ‘who you know’, being head-hunted, or even approaching prospective employers directly (called ‘informational interviews’).

“An estimated 60% of roles are never advertised, so it is a case of being in the right place at the right time.”


No connections or contacts?

If you are worried you don’t know anyone that could help, Grant has a couple of suggestions.

“I ask people to do what I call a ‘people audit’, and often find that a) they are often surprised how many people they know, or b) that there are people, even if it’s a few, who are connectors and can introduce them to someone.

“But networks only help if you know what you are asking.

Grant suggests one of his LinkedIn for networking BLITZ sessions to help show people how they can double their professional networks.


About Grant Verhoeven

Grant is an award-winning career development consultant, trainer, and Lead Consultant at Sparked Careers.

He has coached and trained thousands of people on how to make the most of their current roles, identify what to do next and find new opportunities. He has worked with recent clients from Weta Digital, TradeMe, ANZ, AMP, IRD, Department of Corrections, Wellington City Council and many more.

To request a copy of his free Ebook ‘From Confusion to Clarity – The ultimate Guide to Choosing your Next Career Move in 4 Powerful Steps’, can visit his website and request a copy. Simply put ‘Westpac’ in the ‘How did you hear about us?’ box.

If you’re in Wellington, check out for upcoming workshops on how to use LinkedIn and Blitz your profile, networks, and how you use it professionally.

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