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Smart Career Investments

Regardless of whether you are building a career or a business, investing in yourself pays huge dividends.  

I regularly encounter professionals who are reluctant to spend money on the things that matter but don’t hesitate to fritter it away on high-priced coffee or other frivolities that have little long-term value.

Here are three things worth investing in when it comes to your career:

A great photo! Seriously, I can’t tell you the number of people who resist spending $150 on a professional photo.  

Like it or not, your customers and potential employers judge you on the basis of your looks.

You don’t need to look like a model; you do need to look friendly, approachable and professional.

Do you know that a LinkedIn profile with a great picture is 21 times more likely to be viewed then one without one? That alone is worth the price of your photo session.

Invest in a professional picture and use it on your LinkedIn profile, business bio, sales and marketing collateral and everything else.  Among other things, it will help you establish a consistent brand.

Need help creating a professional impression on LinkedIn? Let me help!

If you need a business bio, résumé, or LinkedIn profile  (and who doesn’t) but don’t know where to start and writing isn’t your strong suit, get professional assistance.  You may have fabulous credentials and your customers may love you, but if your marketing materials don’t look professional your business and career will suffer.  

A recent case in point: A gentleman came to me for coaching because he was regularly rejected for positions for which he was well qualified. He had a Ph.D. from a well-respected institution and excellent work experience.

Although he routinely submitted glowing and well-earned letters of recommendation along with his résumé, he consistently failed to get through the initial screening process for jobs for which he should have been a shoo-in.  

A professional résumé

Why? One look at his résumé told the story.  While he was bright, articulate and passionate in person, he had no idea how to share his expertise on paper. Instead of outlining his career successes, he buried his contributions in long-winded paragraphs that focused on the more pedantic aspects of his work.  Hiring managers took one look at his résumé and fell asleep.

When I started my business several years ago, people often asked if I was going to create my own website. Heck no! It would have taken me to years learn how and by then the technology would have changed and I would have been out of business. FYI, focus on what you do well and pay someone else to handle what you don’t. It will be money well spent.

Finally, invest in developing great communication skills

If you are uncomfortable speaking in public, join a Toastmasters club, take a public speaking class at a community college or enroll in a Dale Carnegie course.  If you are just embarking on your career or it has been years since you have interviewed, work with a coach to hone your interviewing skills.  You don’t want to blow the perfect opportunity because you are uncomfortable making a business presentation or don’t know how to present your credentials in a networking or interview conversation.

We all make decisions about where and how to spend our money.  When we make wise decisions the money we spend pays long-term dividends.

Are you, stuck or frustrated with a career or job search issue? Invest in a Career Action Planning session, in one focused session, we can get to the heart of any career issue and make a plan to solve it.

© 2015 Mary Jeanne Vincent.  All rights reserved.