This article is part of a 4-part series on goal-setting for 2012.
Thanksgiving seems to be that holiday that, regardless of how many digital and paper calendars you own, still manages to sneak up on you, as if the transition from late summer to mid fall happened seamlessly overnight. It’s right about now that we find ourselves scurrying around to get our November/December To-Do lists in order, and subsequently we find ourselves in a time crunch to prioritize our goals for the remainder of the year. Before you know it, the year is over, and the resolutions are half-set, and January 1 has come and gone.
The passing of one year and beginning of a new is a symbolic time that many of us utilize as a ground marker for setting new goals for the upcoming year. We recognize what we achieved on our To-Do list for 2011, where perhaps we fell short of our expectations, and where we want to go next in 2012. As it relates to career and business, many of us will find ourselves jotting down plans for new jobs, for career change, to start a business, or to grow the business we already have. We’ll examine each one of those in the next couple posts in terms of what it means for you, and what you can do in the coming weeks to position yourself for success in the New Year, without having to sacrifice your time at the dessert and dinner table.
Your Goal for 2012: Find a New Job
You’ve been looking at new gigs in the recent weeks or months, but either nothing has struck your fancy, you haven’t gotten your materials and resources together, or you’re simply turned off by the lack of response to the efforts you have put out there. “Forget the job search. I want to enjoy the holidays. I’ll pick it back up in January.” Passive thinking like that yields passive results. So what can you do in the coming weeks to fully fuel your job search without losing your own steam?
Start a Fresh Phase: Job Search 2.0!
Even if you’ve been looking for a new job with little success since June, you need to understand this: November is not June. Or July. Or August. Or even September. While you may have been actively looking for work for 5 months, keep in mind that you’ve been looking for work during the slowest 5 months on the calendar. That’s not to say you should avoid job searching during the middle of the calendar year, but rather look at now as the starting point of a new phase: This is job search 2.0! So often folks wrongly assume that all hiring comes to a standstill during the 6 or 7 weeks around the Holiday season. In reality, more hiring happens in November and December because in many cases companies have remaining funds in their hiring budgets, or they simply want to get all of their hiring needs in before the close of the year so they can start the new year with a full workforce. So when you’re tempted to slow down because you think everyone else is too, remember: don’t give up, ramp up!
Give Yourself the Gift of a Professional Resume & LinkedIN Profile
This is hardly the most exciting gift, I realize that. But having a new job to start come January would be better than most things money can buy, no? Unless you’ve gotten your resume evaluated and edited by an expert in the last 3-4 months, I highly advise you to spend some time and money (some services won’t break the bank) to make sure your resume and online presence are optimized, professional, and really tell the “story” of your career. If a resume service quotes you $400 for a basic resume rewrite, then keep walking. Unless you’re a C-Level executive with different needs, you can expect to spend anywhere from $150-250 within reason. The reality is, you will continue to have competition in your search, and perhaps even more so right now, so why risk going into battle with mediocre tools? I’d rather have a tank than be riding horseback. Speaking of horses…
Jockey Your Job Search
Think of your job search in the same way you envision a jockey and horse bursting out the gate in a race: you want to have that same POW!, that same momentum out of the gate as you start the new year. Maybe you have obligations in the coming weeks and spending hours upon hours in a job search isn’t realistic for you. Dedicate even a small amount of time each week or each day to prospecting- research companies you want to work for, any relative news or projects they were involved in in 2011, find people at the company with whom you can network or hit up for advice, network at holiday gatherings, and then go full speed ahead in getting your materials over to them in the New Year. It’s not about speed, and it’s not a race, but it’s about positioning yourself with a sack full of exciting and viable leads that you can work, so that come January you’re pounding the pavement instead of feeling like you’re starting from square one.
Kill Two Birds With One Drink
Most likely you are going to pencil time in your calendar for some type of holiday gathering, whether it’s a holiday part thrown by an industry organization or networking group, or a gathering put on by friends of friends. Get the most out of your already-scheduled obligations by having fun and also doing a little shameless self-promomtion. Now these aren’t all necessarily networking events, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be creative and come up with a great introduction to give someone when they ask who you are and how your holidays are going. What many people don’t realize is that networking can happen in any number of social and professional settings. The key thing to remember here is that every person you meet has a story, knows people, and is a potential strategic connection. Everyone potentially works somewhere awesome that you want to get into. Don’t be afraid to tell people you’re looking for work, whether it’s freelance or full time. So long as you do it tactfully and aren’t simply pushing your own agenda, seize the opportunity to tell other people your story. The best way to start is to simply listen and learn, and then see where you have potential commonality and overlap to build upon that new connection.
Enjoy Yourself. Period.
One of the biggest complaints I hear from job seekers of all levels, industries and employment statuses is that they’re simply burned out. Throw dealing with the holidays on top of that, and you have a recipe for career disaster come New Years. No matter what time of the year it is, when you’re fully engaged in a job search or career change, it’s important to take care of yourself. Taking on too much at once, or too much too soon leads to burnout, loss of motivation, and it affects your productivity and work ethic. When you’re looking for a job, it’s still a sales process, and your product is YOU: so present it at its best, in mint condition. Your goal is to start off 2012 rested, renewed, and ready to go, whether you’re starting a new job, or setting new goals to find one.
To all to plan to celebrate this week, Happy Thanksgiving!