I don’t know about you, but my New Year resolutions are often long forgotten by February (OK, by mid-January – shhhh…). So I want to help you with some simple, easy to achieve, resolutions and actions for finding your next job.
I promise absolutely no Lycra, weighing in or detoxing is involved. And sofa dwelling is actively encouraged. If that sounds like the kind of New Year resolution you might enjoy, read on!
Whether you’re hoping to return to work, or are searching for your next role, here are some simple tips to help you get closer to the job you want.
Firstly, start now, not in January.
People often think of job searching as something that starts on a certain day in the future, and it’s easy to let this slip.
You may start with the resolution ‘I will begin actively looking for my next role when my baby starts nursery’ and this becomes ‘I will look for a job after the kids are back in school next term’ and then morphs into ‘I’m going to get through the house renovation and then I’ll really focus on getting a job’.
Sound familiar? These are all things I hear regularly.
Let’s be honest: job searching is not fun and we put it off. We think about it like a finite project to be commenced once the coast is clearer and when we might be able to manage it in our already busy schedules.
But the reality is that job searching is just a series of small tasks, and you could be job searching today – even if your baby isn’t yet sleeping through, the kids are on school holidays, and the house is being renovated – maybe all at the same time!
Even if you don’t plan to return to work or move from your current role quite yet, you can take tiny steps towards finding your new job now.
You can take some of them after your kids are in bed, without leaving the comfort of your sofa. Wine is optional. How hard does that sound?
What could you do today to put yourself closer to your goals?
- Set up a professional-sounding email address. Not firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com but the boring old firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Create a LinkedIn profile if you don’t have one – just add your name and most recent job title as a bare minimum to get you started. From a careers perspective, you may know that LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, so it is important to have a profile on LinkedIn to help people know that you exist in the working world. But it is also very well indexed by Google, meaning that your LinkedIn profile will probably be the first thing someone sees when they Google your name. This may be the most productive 15 minutes you ever spend on your career.
- Update your profile picture on LinkedIn. Everyone needs a better LinkedIn photo. It takes just a few seconds to change the photo on LinkedIn but you may decide you need to have a new photo taken.
- Start introducing yourself to new contacts by explaining what you think you might want to do next, rather than what you used to do. Even if someone specifically asks you what you used to do, start by describing your next role and, if they are still interested, you can easily follow on to explain what you used to do. Especially in social situations, with attention-grabbing children, you may never get an opportunity to talk about the future role if you don’t start with it.
- Meet a friendly ex-colleague for a coffee and chat about what’s happening in your industry. Even if you want to move industries, having this type of conversation can help you to sound up-to-date when explaining your old role during an interview for your next position. And often, by chatting with old colleagues, our confidence gets a boost – as we are reminded how good we are.
- Arrange to have a quick coffee with one person who works in the type of role or company that you want to work in next.
- Read an article or blog post written by someone working in the area you want to be in, or written about that industry/role. You will be learning and preparing yourself for meetings and interviews and, hopefully, getting inspired about the role that awaits you.
The good news is you can do one of these, or all of them, as and when it suits you. And they are all completely free.
Even better news, you now have the perfect excuse to grab the iPad and a glass of wine and hand the bedtime battles over to your partner. You simply need to say: ‘I’m busy job searching…’
If you would like some expert help with your job search, or with deciding what you want to do next, please get in touch. I am an experienced career coach and I offer workshops, bootcamps and one-to-one coaching sessions. We can find the best option for you. I also regularly help people to start their own businesses.
I have been working as an adviser and coach for entrepreneurs and professionals for more than ten years, and I now specialise in helping women create fulfilling work lives.
To give working mums a place to chat, I have also created a friendly Facebook group. We post family-friendly jobs and returnship opportunities, and the latest careers research. Group members help each other and share the journey of being a modern working mum.
You are very welcome in our group if you are currently working or hoping to return to work. Click here to join: www.facebook.com/groups/runnethmums
By Kath Sloggett, Founder of Runneth http://www.runnethlondon.com