Job Search: 5 Ways to Get Inspired in the New Year

Now that the confetti of the New Year has settled, how is your job search going? Are you stuck? Do you feel a lack of enthusiasm? Can you use some inspiration?

During the quieter end of December, I had some time to do a few things that had been tabled for way too long – things like webinars, outings with friends, and quiet time to read. After a few days of this gift of time to journey through these happenings, I honestly felt reinvigorated. Learning some new things, I also felt inspired with new ideas and approaches to business.

So, here are some ideas that I hope will inspire you, too. The key is taking time out to do something of your own choosing, which I think is truly energizing. And, I believe that it is important to plan time in your calendar to periodically do this.

Here are 5 ideas that may inspire you in the New Year:

  1. Industry Relevant – Listen to some webinars in your field. Search through your industry professional associations or use Google to help find 1 to 2-hour sessions that are practical and offer industry-relevant information or skills that are cutting edge.
  2. Social Media – Have you been hearing about twitter and Instagram but have no clue? Your smartphone has tons of apps that everyone is using and you don’t know which ones you should even have? Find classes or watch some YouTube videos on “how to.”
  3. Self Improvement – Whether it’s a consultation at your favorite salon, a new fitness program, or healthier approaches to eating, now is a great time to explore a change. Allow yourself to have fun in the process and make it manageable change so that you can stick with it.
  4. Career Experts – Do you find yourself overwhelmed in the search process? Perhaps it’s time to use an expert. If your old approach was not working, then you need to do something different. Investing money for an expert can pay off exponentially when you land a position sooner because you used help.
  5. Fun – Is there a hobby you have lost touch with? Sewing, carpentry, gardening, reading, tennis, running, swimming, mah jong….whatever it is for you. Making time for regular fun in your life is important for your mood and the attitude you project to others.

I hope these ideas will help you feel ready to pick up your job search with new energy, confidence, and a fresh outlook for success!

Stop, Breathe, Take a Fresh Look!

Job search is not static. All of the parts move and change ALL of the time. The question is, are you static? Maybe it’s time to stop, breathe, and take a fresh look at what you are doing and what your career documents are projecting about you. Are they interacting effectively in the job search market?

Here are some ideas to consider:

  1. Is your résumé projecting the right target?

Can the reader quickly see what type of position you are targeting? Do you have a summary section? Sounds obvious but many job seekers miss this opportunity to market themselves here. Your summary should include words that match job titles and the level of the position you seek. It must be a snapshot of what makes you a great candidate and showcase the value you bring to the table.

  1. Do you have a presence on LinkedIn?

This is a critical vehicle for your online presence and for business credibility. Recruiters are incredulous when a job seeker does not have a LinkedIn profile. It’s as if the person is antiquated because they are not using business social media. So, create a profile! Make it powerful, truthful, and concise. Showcase your highlights…not your résumé. Use your page to learn and share info on “Groups.” And build relationships – not just numbers – by connecting and engaging others.

  1. Are you live networking?

Are you face-to-face networking at professional association meetings? These groups are filled with colleagues who are in your profession! Go to meetings. Develop relationships with others in your field. Volunteer in the organization. Pay it forward. Listen to speakers to learn new things. Good things will happen from this. Remember to keep this up even AFTER you get your new job. It is part of a life-long career management strategy, not just when you are in need of a new job.

Hope these ideas will help you take a fresh look at what you can do to jump start your search in 2016. Happy New Year!

How to Stay Positive in a Tough Market

It can be hard to stay motivated in a job search when we all know what the current job market is like. Plus, so many others we know are worried about their job security or maybe even recently downsized…which makes us feel worried, too! There are industries with no jobs, companies shutting down, and bills piling up. So, how can you stay positive and keep on searching during a difficult economy?

Sometimes it helps to vent, to complain, and yes, to whine……to “let it out” and get it out of the way. So – go ahead and commiserate with your friends…..and then MOVE ON! Sitting around brooding is not going to get you a new job. In fact, continuing to focus on the negative will affect your mood, your efforts, and the way you come across to others. I recommend you consider the following steps to help you feel more POSITIVE which will help with your search in the long run:

  • Be sure you are realistic in your search – Are you targeting positions that you are qualified for? If not, explore your options.
  • Enjoy a hobby or fitness activities – It may help to have a release for any negative energy and will probably put you in a happier, healthier frame of mind when you meet others.
  • Enlist the support of friends and family – Let them know how they can help you. Be frank if they are pressuring you unreasonably. Include them in what steps you are taking to reach your goals.
  • Learn something new – Learning new things can motivate you to feel excited about yourself, and could potentially help you in some way.
  • Be interested in others – Listen to what is going on for them and see how you can help in any way.
  • Consider a part-time position – Perhaps there is something part-time or flexible that would bring in some money to help with the bills in the meantime.
  • Check out job transition groups – These can be a wonderful support to you during these times, and most likely can help with effective, productive strategies for your search.

 

I hope these tips help you in some way! Best of success in your search!

Are you thinking of making a Career Change?

Many job seekers are exploring new careers right now because they need a change or the economy is forcing that change. This is a scary thought for most people. What are your options? What else are you good at? Where do you start?

Why is change so scary? Well, change means going into the unknown. You know your job, your expertise, your contacts, processes, and more. Now you will have to be the “newbie” and that’s always stressful. It also means rocking the boat – staying where you are is much more comfortable than delving into new waters. On the other hand, change can be exhilarating and can lift you out of a stagnant situation. When we have many years left in the workplace, there’s no reason to remain stuck in a job or industry that is personally unrewarding.

So, take a deep breath! Before undertaking any ambitious goal, it’s a good idea to do some research, some exploration, and some reflection to help fine-tune a goal that you will be comfortable going after. Be realistic about whether the goal is attainable for you and what the financial impact of any change might be.

Assessment – If you have absolutely no idea, you might want to start with a skills / career assessment. Some are available online but I recommend working with a trusted career counselor to guide you in the use and interpretation of these tools. Assessments should be viewed only as a starting point to do further research on the careers suggested. Another idea is to be creative about turning a hobby or other passion into a possible career.

Research – Look up information on sites such as www.online.onetcenter.org, www.careeroverview.com, or www.careers.org. Look at current job boards such as monster, careerbuilder, indeed, and linkedin to see if there is hiring going on in those careers. Use www.salary.com to help you ballpark compensation ranges. Find people who do these careers to see what they think of their chosen field – do they like it? What is a typical day / week like for them? What is the potential for growth? What type of training or education do you need to succeed in this field?

Action – Now it’s time to make a decision about direction. Be realistic about your choice. Would enjoy doing this job? Is it attainable? Do you have the appropriate credentials? If needed, check out programs that offer these. Perhaps you can work a part-time or in a temporary position while you earn these credentials. Maybe you can find a position that will give you some entry level experience in your new field of interest. Perhaps you can volunteer somewhere to gain insight and experience. Once you are prepared, the final step will be to begin an active job search in your new field.

Success – Network with people in your new chosen field to develop relationships and to learn everything you can about your new area. Create a resume that repositions you for the new career. You must highlight the skills, experience, and any credentials that relate to the new career. Write a cover letter that gives a compelling reason for employers to consider you as a great candidate. Above all, be sure that everything you state is honest. Then be sure to be persistent and positive. I’ve seen enough successful career transitions to know that it can be done. Wishing you the best of success in your search!

Job Hunting in a Tight Market

As you can imagine, I speak to a lot of people these days who are out of work. The challenges of job searching have multiplied in this economy – the high rate of unemployment is causing steeper competition for fewer jobs; many over 40 workers are being told they are “overqualified” (translation: the employer does not want to pay too much); and it’s easy to spend time feeling depressed or commiserating with others. The reality is that the employment scene is likely to be tough for a while. So, is there any hope? Yes, there are things that you can do to increase your odds of getting to the top of the pile. They require being realistic, knowing your budget, keeping an open mind, and having a positive attitude…even if that is a challenge. Wishing you all the best of success!

  • Enlist support – if you are depressed, angry, or distraught, be sure to get the help and support that you need from your family, friends, or a professional. Let them know how you are feeling and what would be helpful for you to go forward. Sometimes taking a little break from your search can help you to reenergize and provide the confidence you need. Do something fun to reward yourself with each step in your search.
  • Be flexible – the work is just not there in all fields. You may need to consider a change in the type of work that you do or in the level of the position. Or, perhaps you may want to do the same type of work but for a different type of company.
  • Be creative – keep an eye out for opportunities and how you can be helpful. Read the local business journal to learn of new businesses, new services, or something different in an existing company that may relate to your area of expertise.
  • Target your résumé – today’s times call for a résumé that is very focused at your target. For example, if you are a senior teacher applying for a Director position in a small day camp, be sure your resume does not just reflect your teaching abilities. It must also show how you have coordinated programs, hired staff, worked at a camp, and managed a budget. And of course, it must all be true.
  • Network – reach out to recruiters, to friends and family, and to professional associations. Establish relationships and get involved to demonstrate your skills and talent.
  • Positive Attitude – employers want employees who exhibit an open, friendly attitude with troubles left at home. Use breaks, rewards, friends, exercise, and healthy eating to help keep up a good attitude. Be sure you are conveying that when you network with others and when you interview.
  • Are you accused of being overqualified? Practice saying the following: “I am FULLY qualified; I want to contribute to your company.  I am looking to be productive in your organization and willing to be flexible with my compensation package.” Focus on the value that you can add to the company in a short amount of time.
  • Persistence – it may take more effort to get an interview or an offer when there are less jobs out there.  Remember to follow up after an interview with a thank you note. Emphasize how you can contribute to the firm.  See if you can get any feedback as to how you did. Network and see how you can help others so that they remember you. Volunteer to add to your experience and your connections.
  • Read – keep up with professional journals in your field. Here are some free sites to check out: www.HighBeam.com and  www.thefreelibrary.com/Professional+journals-s17657

Free Services – there are many free career services available thorough the Department of Labor. To locate the nearest Career One-Stop, visit http://www.servicelocator.org/