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Have a New Year's Resolution to Relaunch? Do This First.

This is your year! You've decided that this year, you're going to restart your career, either in an industry where you've previously worked or in a new one. You're raring to go!

By Carroll Welch

Carroll Welch is the Founder and Principal of Carroll Welch Consulting, LLC. A career, executive and leadership coach, Carroll supports professionals in all industries on issues involving career and leadership development, transition and reentry. Carroll has extensive experience and expertise supporting relaunchers in planning job searches and anticipating obstacles as they seek to return to the paid workforce after a career break. Carroll is a frequent contributor to the iRelaunch blog and "3, 2, 1, iRelaunch" podcast series.

To make your relaunch happen this year, what is the first, most important thing that you should do now? Revise your dusty, old resume? No. Arrange as many informational interviews as possible? No. Find a volunteer position that allows a prospective employer to test drive your work? No.

While all of the activities above are effective steps in the relaunch process, your first activity should be to conduct a thorough inventory of who you are, and what your skills, values, interests and goals are. Getting your arms around these topics is an important foundational step for an efficient and successful relaunch. Relaunchers often want to dive into the reentry process at 90 mph and attack 'To Do' lists involving resumes, Linked In profiles, and cover letters. Instead, your first step should be to take stock of yourself by thinking about these questions:

What skills and strengths do you enjoy using that can add value for a prospective employer? Can you research, design, organize, raise money or negotiate? Are you creative, adaptable or energetic? Be ready to discuss what you bring to the table and give examples.

Why are you relaunching and what about work is important for you? Consider what your work-related values and relaunch drivers are. Some values include being part of a team, being intellectually challenged, working for a socially driven mission, or financial compensation. Spend time thinking about your values and developing clarity about which ones are non-negotiable and which you're willing to trade off.

You can seek support in your self-assessment process through many resources, including books, standardized assessments, career coaches, your alma mater's career services professionals and accountability partners or groups. No matter what, though, this step cannot be skipped. Knowing yourself, what's important to you and what you have to offer will enable you to show up in your relaunch process as a more grounded, confident and compelling candidate.

Don't relaunch alone!

Join our growing relauncher communities on Facebook and LinkedIn. For more great guidance on your relaunch and updates on when return to work programs are accepting applications, events for relaunchers and more, be sure to sign up for our Return to Work Report and follow us on social media to stay informed!

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