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.
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.
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.