4 Ways You Can Take Advantage of the Holidays to Find a New Career

4 Ways You Can Take Advantage of the Holidays to Find a New Career

Published on SharpHeels: http://sharpheels.com/2016/11/holiday-job-hunting/

We often believe that hiring slows down prior to the new year. This is a myth! Hiring managers are still searching for applicants, but interviews and hiring decisions may be slower because of the difficulty in getting a team of coworkers together during the holiday season. The holidays are an excellent time to get in the pipeline for the first-quarter hiring wave when everyone returns to the office in January. Below are four tips to take advantage of this time of year to find a new job or change careers:

Do you ever feel like you need time away from your loved ones during the holidays? Keep in mind that you are not the only one who feels that way! That’s why the holidays are a great time to network. The reason networking meetings (also known as informational interviews) are so effective in helping you get a job is that companies are more likely to hire someone through referrals. When you first begin to network, your goal isn’t to ask for a job, but to build relationships. After you have connected with someone, you can ask him or her to pass along your résumé to a hiring manager or inquire about upcoming career opportunities within the company. There are many articles available that discuss effective ways to schedule a networking meeting. Below are a few quick tips to guide you.

  • First, reach out to an old colleague, coworker, or friend who is working at a job, company, or industry you are interested in. If there is a chance that the person may not remember you, remind him or her of who you are and when you met last. Include your headshot in the signature of your email. Share what you have been up to (employment, education, etc.), the reason you want to meet (do not ask for a job), and invite him or her to meet you for coffee.
  • During your meeting, ask questions about his or her career, company, or industry to obtain information that you cannot find on the internet.
  • Toward the end of your meeting, ask if he or she would be willing to introduce you to other people with whom you want to connect. Be specific about the individuals you are interested in, e.g., “Do you know of anyone who is in x role and x company? Would you be willing to make email introductions?” You are more likely to have a new contact agree to meet with you if you are introduced by a mutual contact.
  • Lastly, be sure to send a note thanking the person for his or her time, advice, and support.

You will be surprised how many people are willing and able to get together this time of year because work slows down. Take advantage of it!

Show Your Gratitude 
When you are looking to change careers, you are going to want others to share job leads, provide references if you are offered a position, and advise you along the way. That’s why relationships are so important for your career success. One of the best ways to foster your relationships is through gratitude. If you are still connected with people who have helped you in the past with your career, send them a holiday card, email, or even a gift, if it is appropriate. You will probably need their help again, so these small gestures show that you care and appreciate their support. If the people who have helped you in your past realize that you are grateful, they will most likely help you again in the future.

Update Your Cover Letter, Résumé, and LinkedIn Profile
Because the trends for cover letters, résumés, and LinkedIn profiles change every year, the holidays are a great time to update them, especially if you have not applied for a position in a while. Spend some time researching the most common trends from reputable career, recruiting, and business magazines. Compare your résumé with the job descriptions you want to target and make sure you are mirroring the roles and responsibilities, industry language, and keywords.  Also, research others on LinkedIn who are in similar careers, companies, and industries, and update your application materials as necessary. If you know someone with excellent editing skills, ask him or her to review your documents–you don’t want any mistakes on your application materials! Also, if you know of anyone in a job, industry, or company similar to the one you are applying for, have him or her provide feedback on your cover letter, résumé, and LinkedIn profile, as well.

Take on Side Projects
As New Year’s Eve quickly approaches, so do the resolutions. Many business owners want to reorganize their office, catch up with administrative work, or market their business. The new year is an opportunity to provide temporary support to a small business while building your portfolio. If you are highly organized, know how to use Microsoft Office, or have other applicable skills, offer to help a small business owner and see if he or she would be willing to compensate you. This is a great way to build your résumé, demonstrate your skills, and fill in any employment gaps. If you find it challenging to find paid work, then volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to build your skills, receive training in a new area, and network with a nonprofit or people who could potentially hire you.

Whatever you do, don’t slow your job search efforts this holiday season. Get yourself out there, touch up your application materials, and keep the job search going. Don’t let the holidays pass you by; take advantage of this time of year, when most people are in a generous mood and are happy to help others.

Having a Hard Time Being Productive Today?

productiveI have to admit, I’m having a hard time being productive today. How about you?

This election cycle has been unlike what many of us have ever seen. The use of fear-based messages about the past, present and future of our country during this campaign has been non-stop.

I’m upset and shaken to my core. I had a laundry list of items to get done today and I can’t seem to get through them.

So here’s what I’m doing instead. I’m reaching out and connecting. I’m emailing former clients to check in, calling colleagues to set meetings, and reaching out to friends to share my love.

We know that our relationships are instrumental to our career success. The more we cultivate them, the easier it is to tap the hidden job market and make transitions when we are ready to make a change. In a time in which our country is divided, there is no better time to reach out and connect.

I wanted to send positive thoughts your way. And if you can’t get anything done today, perhaps just reach out and connect.

3 Ways to Start a Conversation at a Networking Event

marketing-man-person-communicationFor most people, networking events can be extremely intimidating. As a career coach, the most common question I get about networking is, “How do I start a conversation?”

Here are 3 things you can say in order to start a conversation at a networking event:

    1. If there is someone you have been meaning to meet for a long time and never had a proper introduction. Here’s the BEST way to introduce yourself.I don’t believe we’ve ever met before. I’m (insert your name).
    2. If you are near the food line, an exhibitor’s table or by a sign, ask a question to start the conversation. Doesn’t that look delicious? Have you read any of her books? Which breakout session are you attending?
    3. If you prefer to be less direct, you can simply ask, “Hi. Do you mind if I introduce myself?” Most people will respond, “No, not at all. I’m…”

And if you want support in building your networking skills, join me for a free networking workshop ‘The ABC’s of networking so you can start connecting with confidence & conviction’ on Thursday, January 14th from 7-8:30 PM in Denver or Friday, January 15th from 10-11 AM online. To register, click here.

How to Overcome Impostor Syndrome While Networking

Many times I hear from clients that they feel they are faking it when going to networking events. I get it!

When I first started my business, I felt like an impostor. I still was trying to get my processes and systems in place and I didn’t have the confidence that everything was going to work out. I would meet people and feel I had to pretend that I was already successful and this didn’t feel good.

So what is impostor syndrome? It’s a term that was coined in the 1970’s by psychologists to describe people who are unable to internalize their accomplishments.

As a career changer, you may not feel good enough to warrant someone helping you with your transition. The good news? You have the ability to over come it!

Here’s how:

1. Own Your Greatness– Even though I didn’t have all my ducks in a row, I had to remind myself that I had so much to offer. Even though I was new to private practice, I still had experience in career development and helped many others before. When I would remind myself of all my strengths and accomplishments prior to going to a networking event, my body language subconsciously communicate my confidence.

You may not have direct experience in certain areas when making a career change, but you certainly have a ton to offer such as your personality, strengths, accomplishments, talents and transferable skills. Own them!

2. A.S.K. or Always Seek the Knowledge of Others- My friend Alyce Blum, business owner and networking coach, suggests that you should enter networking situations with the intention to get to know others and ask questions.

I love this advice because most people don’t care about what you do, they care about how you make the feel- asking questions is one of the best ways to do this. It also takes away the pressure for you to feel like you have to show off.

So next time you go to a networking event, know that you have the power to turn the conversation around and ask someone about their job.

3. Practice Til You Make It– I hate the saying, “Fake it til you make it”. For me, it means that I feel I have to be fake or inauthentic until I make some obscure goal. I like the idea of practicing because it allows for authenticity, vulnerability and mistakes in the moment.

I had to practice in several different ways to help me overcome my impostor syndrome. I had to test my process and systems on several people at no cost in order to have success stories under my belt. For me, sharing stories in which I honestly felt good about my work helped me feel confident and authentic without being cocky.

So next time you go to a networking event, look at it as practice whether it be your elevator pitch, how you answer questions, posture, body language and anything else you can think of.

If you’re feeling impostor syndrome coming on, take a moment to own your greatness, turn the conversation around and ask someone about themselves and know that this is practice, not perfection.

And if you want support in overcoming your impostor syndrome while networking, join us for a free networking workshop ‘The ABC’s of networking so you can start connecting with confidence & conviction’ on Thursday, January 14th from 7-8:30 PM in Denver or Friday, January 15th from 10-11 AM online. To register, click here.

My First Job Was a Total Bust. 3 Lessons I Learned from It.

When I graduated with my Master of Social Work, I left the University of Denver with few Lakeconnections and job prospects. I had three things going against me: I didn’t know what I wanted in a job, I didn’t know my value and work potential, and I didn’t have an established network.

I was lucky because I was applying for positions just before the economic downturn by randomly sending in resumes and cover letters. I had over 15 interviews as a result.

I’m embarrassed to admit, but I crashed and burned every time I interviewed. The only stories I could articulate were my past work experiences- I could not express where I could envision my career in five years nor the value I could bring to the company in which I was applying for.

I ended up taking the first job offered to me, a case management position coordinating Medicaid services for developmentally disabled adults.

I was terrible at my first job! The position highlighted all my weaknesses such as managing paperwork and writing reports. I missed every deadline and the paperwork stack on my desk outweighed my coworkers.

My self-esteem for that one year working as a case manager went down the drain. I dreaded going to work, took my misery out on my family, and went through the same cycle on a daily basis.

I had to spend a significant amount of time evaluating my experience to understand my career next steps. The good thing about this horrible experience is that I learned a lot from it.

Here are three lessons I gained from the mistakes of my first job.

  1. Get to know yourself– Reflect on your past jobs and hobbies and assess the tasks and activities that you’ve enjoyed. Explore your strengths, interests, passions, values and higher purpose. When you read job descriptions, ask yourself, “Do I see myself enjoying and thriving in this position because it speaks to my strengths and interests?”

Only seek positions that will capitalize on your talents. There is no such thing as a perfect job, but there are positions where your time is spent doing a majority of tasks that speak to your assets.

  1. Practice articulating your value– Hiring managers are seeking candidates that they know can go above and beyond to get the job done. They want someone who can communicate their qualifications with confidence, articulate that they are the best candidate for the position and demonstrate the value they will bring to the company.

Take an inventory of your past successes and write them down. Practice sharing these experiences and telling stories because your past experiences demonstrate your future potential to a hiring manager.

  1. Build relationships and establish a strong network– Hiring managers want to fill positions with candidates who they know, like and trust. Moreover, the people who know you can direct you to positions they think would be a good fit.

U.S. News and World Report has found that more than 70% of people land jobs through networking. You never know when you’re going to need to make a change, so having an established network is essential.

If you have been feeling defeated by the job search process, it’s never too late to go back and reevaluate. Your career path is an evolution and you have the ability to change it and make it meaningful to you.