For many job searchers, new year celebrations are a bittersweet reminder that, despite all their hopes and efforts, they have not yet achieved their employment goal. So, other than trying to ignore that nagging feeling that you could have done better and resolving to do better, what could you do to make sure that this is the year you find that next great job?
All of us who is make resolutions for the new year remember the unused gym memberships and unfulfilled promises of last years’ resolutions. We all know that the likelihood of a resolution turning into meaningful change is low. But there is hope: research has shown that while most people do not keep their promises, those who are successful tend to be those who are more realistic, ready to change and prepared with detailed plans and identified strategies to support their plan.
Bottom line: old habits are hard to break, and if you really want to change, you have to plan for action and act as if you mean it. I surveyed my employment colleagues at JVS for tips and here are some of their suggestions for such a realistic plan:
1. Structure your job search like a job
- Plan your job search day: chose a start and end time for your job search activities, set up a job search space at home (or even better, use a resource centre/library), and allow yourself some “down time” for lunch/weekends and evenings. Some clients report using an online tool such as Jibber Jobber helps them stay better organised.
- Create an email address that is only for job search purposes to avoid the distractions of replying to personal messages while job searching, as well as reduce the risk of losing important emails among all your personal messages.
- Use a day timer/calendar (paper OR electronic; Google and others offer excellent online calendar systems which can be synced with a smartphone).
- Plan ahead: write in all appointments, job search and personal in your calendar, and plan blocks of time dedicated to job search.
2. Get professional support to re-evaluate your choices and job search approach
Are you sure you are doing the best possible job search? Are you applying for the jobs for which you are best qualified?
Research has shown that most most people overestimate their own competence; sometimes you think that you are better at your job or your job search than you really are. You might find that working with an employment professional, who can offer you objective feedback about your skills, as well as job search methods, can make a huge difference to your success.
- Consider rewriting your resume, developing a new cover letter format and re-thinking your interview answers. Create a check-list of items to remember to take to an interview, including items as simple (but important) as your glasses!
- Are you the best possible candidate for the jobs for which you are applying? Perhaps you need to consider whether you need to rethink your career choices. A JVS colleague expressed this well: think SKILLS, not job titles. If you don’t have the best skills possible, consider the possibility of retraining or upgrading your skills
3. Network, network, network!
- Make an effort to go out and meet people, even just socially. You never know who knows something that may be of help.
- Check out local volunteering opportunities, advertised online (e.g. Volunteer Toronto), a local community service or hospital, where you can meet people and expand your network.
- Complete your LinkedIn profile and most importantly, make sure to build relationships with people you meet and not just collect lists of useless connections on LinkedIn.
Bottom line: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry). If you want your new year wishes to come true, it’s time to make a plan and put it into action!
Best wishes for the new year to all our readers. Please keep reading and sharing. If there is anything you would like to read about, please write and propose topics. We would love to hear from you!