Out with the old, in with the new! Whether you are just starting your job search, looking for a fresh beginning or, the time is right to bring new energy, strategy and tactics to your search. Here’s what is working in your favor:
- Hiring picks up in January
- The economy is showing signs of recovery and job creation
- The New Year often brings new optimism and excitement
Where to begin?
Start with the fundamentals. Since looking for a job is your job, you should set aside dedicated time and space.
- Create pleasant physical space for your job search activities. You need a comfortable desk, chair, and room to organize files and papers. Make your work area a place you enjoy being.
- Get the right tools for your search. These may include a computer, calendar (physical or virtual), bulletin board or other accessories to help you work efficiently. January sales are a great time to invest a little in your productivity.
- Go to work each day. Shower and dress each morning Consider keeping office hours. Ask family and friends to respect your work schedule. Eliminate distractions.
By having time and space set aside for your job search, you can also feel comfortable “leaving” each day. You don’t need to job search 24/7 and will be a more balanced person if you also plan for leisure when the time is right.
Where to focus?
Now that your time and space are set up, making smart use of your time is the next step. Invest in the job search activities that bring the greatest return. Measure return by results that matter, not short term sense of satisfaction.
- The majority of jobs are found through networking and insider connections, so focus your time on growing and interacting with your network.
- Applying to advertised jobs on job boards creates a false sense of productivity. It may feel satisfying to submit your resume to many postings. But without an insider introduction, you’re competing with many other people and do not have an edge. Limit the time you spend on this.
- Allow time regularly to learn more about job search best practices (the Jobfully blog is a good place to start) and to continually improve your job search materials, such as your resume and online profiles.
The next piece is adding new elements to your job search. Set goals to include some or all of the following:
- Joining professional organizations, attending conferences and gatherings, writing for the newsletter or offering to speak at an event.
- Mentoring someone in your field as a way of keeping your skills sharp, helping someone else professionally and networking
- Taking a class or working towards a certification. Continue to build skills in your field or consider a class that is a bit different, allowing you to become better rounded.
- Volunteering both as a way of helping others and as a way of building new successes for your resume. Look for a volunteer position at a level that lets you create resume-worth achievements.
- Growing your network through new channels such as alumni groups, social contacts, extended family, leaders and your field.
- Nurturing and developing your online presence as a way of establishing your expertise, networking and being discovered by recruiters.
A fresh and fabulous mindset
Nothing will move your job search forward more effectively than a great attitude. To bring a positive mindset to your search:
- Set aside past disappointments about jobs you didn’t get. Learn what you can from each attempt, and move on.
- Eliminate bitterness about why and how you are in this situation. Accept that job searching is a natural part of most people’s professional life.
- Embrace the opportunity to learn new skills, knowledge, trends, and about yourself.
- Enjoy the change of pace. Soon enough you are likely to be back in a regular gig. Take advantage of the “time off” and reward yourself with activities you don’t normally have time for.
- Find ways to help others. It’s a privilege to be able to give to others. Don’t do it hoping for payback. Do it because it feels good.
- Remind yourself regularly of your value and what you have to offer.
Confidence and optimism come through in your job search. As part of your fresh start, be sure you are exuding positivity as you meet people.
Celebrate your job search restart. It’s the beginning of a great new year and success is ahead.
- Creating a Job Search Strategy for 2011
- Goal Setting for 2011
- What is ahead for job seekers in 2011?
- Action items to start 2011