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Spring-clean your career

Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Overhaul your career. Image: Getty
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By Hannah Nicholas
MSN NZ Money writer

The warmer weather always helps to put a spring in your step, so why not inject some of that sunny enthusiasm into your career? Follow our top tips and give your career an overhaul.

Update your CV
While you may not be actively looking for a new job, you never know when a great opportunity will come your way. Take out your CV and dust off the cobwebs, update all your personal information and add your recent career achievements.

Your résumé should highlight your key skills, strengths and experience, and be no more than three pages in length.

Test the market
If you feel it's time to change jobs, why not test the waters? Once your CV's been updated, start researching the market to see where new opportunities might lie. Visit job websites, contact recruiters who specialise in your field and put your industry contacts to work. You never know, the ideal position may be just around the corner.

Remember to take time to consider what you're looking for in a new role and the type of companies/employers you'd like to work for.

Learn something new
Feel as though you're stuck in a rut? Celebrate the change of season by improving your skills or learning some new ones. Further study is a great way to boost your career as well as your mind. There's something on offer for everyone, from short day courses to university degrees.

Ditch the clutter — spring-clean your desk
Clean desk, clean mind! Whether you're going for a complete desk overhaul or simply want to bring a little more order to the chaos on your desktop, there are a few fundamental guidelines to follow. According to About.com Management, an online community of business experts, here's how to tame the messy desk monster, once and for all.

  • Want to improve. Any attempt to make your desk less cluttered and more efficient depends on you making a serious effort.
  • Keep, toss, or move. Find three containers. Label the smallest "keep". Label the largest "toss". Have another container labelled "move". The really vital stuff will go into your keep container to be sorted later. Anything you want to take home or give away goes into the move container. Everything else goes to toss. Start with the oldest pile on your desk and evaluate each item only once. Be ruthless!
  • Manage the issue. Your desktop doesn't have to be sterile and completely devoid of paper, although it can be if that helps. Your goal is to organise your workspace so that it maximises your efficiency. If that means a few more piles on your desk than the person next to you, that's okay — as long as everything you keep helps you meet your goal of increased efficiency.

    And now you've gone to all that effort, be sure to work hard to keep your workspace in order.

Improve your image
Lastly, a very simple way to boost your confidence in the workplace is to give your professional image a makeover. Do you really want that promotion? Do you want to dress with a bit more style and edge? Then perhaps it's time to overhaul your wardrobe.

Grab some fashion magazines and take note of the key investment pieces for this spring. All fashion experts agree that it's best to spend what you can on quality basics as the investment will always pay off. You can adapt basics to suit the season with clever accessories such as statement jewellery, handbags and shoes. Go for shades and styles that suit your shape and colouring. Lastly, book an appointment with your hairdresser and go for a new stylish cut and/or colour.