Energizing Your Spring Job Search

Spring is not just the time for cleaning your house and yard.  It can also be the perfect time to refocus and re-energize your job search.   This early in the year there is typically hiring activity going on and those calendar year companies don’t have budget freezes in place just yet.  Many companies are preparing for the college grad hiring process and that often brings some internal movement and opportunities.

Spring can be an extremely busy time for successful job searchers, so here are a few tips for making the most of this time.

Networking

The single most important thing any job searcher can do is networking.  The weather will be slowly improving so people are more willing to get out of the office for a cup of coffee and conversation.   Identify the target companies on your list.  Use your alumni database, Linked In, former colleagues, etc. to identify contacts in those target companies.  Request an informational interview to learn more about the company, but do not ask for a job.  Rather, ask how the company hires, what skills are required for success, and how the function you are interested in fits in that organization.

Set specific networking goals for the spring and hold yourself accountable.  Meet people for coffee, lunch, a quick meeting or even a walk outside.  Take advantage of this time of year to make as many connections as possible.  Always ask your networking contact who else they think you should be talking to, given your career interests.  Ask what professional association meetings you should be attending.  Take advantage of these opportunities to meet others in your chosen field.

Have a Plan

You wouldn’t plan your vacation without a destination in mind and at least a rough plan of how you are going to get there.  Your job search deserves at least that much attention – if not more.  It is hard to get where you want to be without a clear sense of where you are going, so create and follow a specific job search plan.

Identify the type of position you seek and the target companies where you most want to work.  Develop a networking strategy and list of contacts for each company.  Have a plan to make new networking contacts every week.  Always thank your networking contacts for their time, preferably in person and follow it up with a written note.  Thank them again if they refer you to a valuable connection.  Keep your network posted on your progress.

Stay Positive

No one wants to hire a complainer or a “Negative Nellie.”  Stay positive and stay focused.  Enjoy the networking along the way; you may just surprise yourself with how rewarding it is to make new connections, learn new things and expand your personal and professional networks!

Reflect on the interesting people you meet and draw inspiration from their career journeys.  Be positive about yourself and the skills you bring to the table.  Demonstrate that you have a vision for what you want to do in your career.  Show appreciation for their time and enthusiasm for additional contacts or activities they recommend.  It is hard to sell yourself to others if you are not confident in your own abilities.

Also, be open and accepting of feedback.  You may not want to hear it but, you need to hear it in order to grow and get to the next level.  Learn from others who have more experience.  At least seriously consider the advice they offer.  Be willing to learn and to try new things.  Remember, you can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s broken.

Use that burst of spring energy to ramp up your job search and to increase your likelihood of success.

 

Advertisements

Is it Time for a Career Change

I was asked earlier this week for insights on how to know it is time to make a career change – either within your current organization to a new department or role or a switch to a completely new organization.  While there are many personal factors to consider, here are some key considerations to help you determine if this is the time for you to leap forward.

How do you know it is time to change careers?

  • You have trouble getting yourself out of bed in the morning and motivating yourself to go to work
  • You dread going to work, just the thought of it makes you anxious
  • You get depressed on Sunday night knowing you have to go back to work in the morning
  • You are constantly thinking that this isn’t what you want to do when you grow up
  • The thought of doing this for the rest of your working career depresses you
  • You are frustrated that you are not using certain talents and abilities or not pursuing key interests or passions
  • You have that nagging feeling in your gut that just won’t go away

Is it real or a passing phase?

  • Do some self-assessment exercises to clarify your interests and abilities
  • Get input from colleagues and friends about your strengths and your possible fit in your desired role
  • Ask your mentor for honest feedback

Learn more about the career you aspire to before making a final decision

  • Conduct informational interviews with people who are doing the job you think you want, find out what it is really like
  • Is there any opportunity to test what you think you want to do by doing it part time or in a volunteer situation while you keep your day job?
  • Identify what education or certification may be required and determine what you need to do to meet those criteria
  • If you aren’t qualified to take your dream job now, identify what you need to do to quality, what job now would lead to the job you desire?
  • What companies offer the type of job you desire? Who do you know at those companies for networking?

If you decide it is time for a change, have a plan.

  • Identify target companies and research those companies
  • Identify networking contacts within those companies
  • Conduct informational interviews with contacts in your target companies
  • Prepare your resume and cover letter to focus on your transferrable skills
  • Prepare your pitch of how you will present yourself in networking events and in interviews, explain your motivation for the change and your transferrable skills
  • Identify opportunities to gain needed training or experience while you are searching
  • Use your passion to motivate you throughout the process

We all spend too much time working to be miserable doing it.  Find work that you love and do it well but go into your career change with a specific action plan for success.

 

Energizing Your Summer Job Search

As you anticipate the lazy, hazy days of summer, that usual discipline and focus with which you approach your job search may begin to wax and wane.  But despite the mellower mood, resist the urge to play hooky from your job search this season.  Take a prolonged vacation from it, and you’ll miss out on what could be one of the most productive time of the year to take the next step in your career.

Just because business slows down and people go on vacation doesn’t mean that all will be quiet on the job front over the summer.  In reality, these next few months can be an extremely busy time for successful job searchers, so here are a few tips for making the most of this time.

Networking

The single most important thing any job searcher can do is networking.  This can be easier to do in the summer when people have a bit more flexibility in their schedules or a least a more relaxed attitude.  Identify the target companies on your list.  Use your alumni database, Linked In, former colleagues, etc. to identify contacts in those target companies.  Request an informational interview to learn more about the company, but do not ask for a job.  Rather, ask how the company hires, what skills are required for success, and how the function you are interested in fits in that organization.

Set specific networking goals for the summer and hold yourself accountable.  Meet people for coffee, lunch, a quick meeting or even a walk outside.  Take advantage of this time of year to make as many connections as possible.  Always ask your networking contact who else they think you should be talking to, given your career interests.  Ask what professional association meetings you should be attending.  Many professional associations continue to meet over the summer but often have less formal meetings.  Take advantage of these opportunities to meet others in your chosen field.

Have a Plan

You wouldn’t plan your vacation without a destination in mind and at least a rough plan of how you are going to get there.  Your job search deserves at least that much attention – if not more.  It is hard to get where you want to be without a clear sense of where you are going, so create and follow a specific job search plan.

Identify the type of position you seek and the target companies where you most want to work.  Develop a networking strategy and list of contacts for each company.  Have a plan to make new networking contacts every week.  Always thank your networking contacts for their time, preferably in person and follow it up with a written note.  Thank them again if they refer you to a valuable connection.  Keep your network posted on your progress.

Stay Positive

No one wants to hire a complainer or a “Negative Nellie.”  Stay positive and stay focused.  Enjoy the networking along the way; you may just surprise yourself with how rewarding it is to make new connections, learn new things and expand your personal and professional networks!

Reflect on the interesting people you meet and draw inspiration from their career journeys.  Be positive about yourself and the skills you bring to the table.  Demonstrate that you have a vision for what you want to do in your career.  Show appreciation for their time and enthusiasm for additional contacts or activities they recommend.

Also, be open and accepting of feedback.  You may not want to hear it but, you need to hear it in order to grow and get to the next level.  Learn from others who have more experience.  At least seriously consider the advice they offer.  Be willing to learn and to try new things.  Remember, you can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s broken.

It may be summer, but companies definitely don’t take a “school’s out” attitude, and neither should you. They still have business needs to be met, positions to be filled and some hiring managers have more time to focus on hiring at this time of year, so take advantage of it. Don’t take a vacation from your job search – instead, step up your efforts and set a goal of getting your network in good shape for fall.