After all your hard work, applying for job after job and networking like crazy, you’ve landed that great career opportunity! Take a moment and savor this time. You’re about to enter the honeymoon phase. You know that time. It starts when you accept the offer and typically runs for 3 -6 months. During that time, you’re in heaven: learning a new job, learning a new culture and coworkers, getting comfortable with what’s expected of you. It’s both exhilarating and exhausting. You arrive home each night happy and tired from everything being so new. Enjoy this time! It’s sweet. But for many, it passes far too quickly. Sometimes, and all too quickly, some of the same things that drove you from your old job crop up, or the new environment isn’t quite what you’d hoped it would be. Worse yet, the culture isn’t how it was represented to you. So, what do you do?
After 20 years of being an employee myself, and now as a career coach, I see many different scenarios play out. The following are the three most common, and I spend much of my time coaching clients who have successfully landed a new job, but recognize there is continuing work they need to do.
My leadership development career has always been on the school cycle, rather than the calendar year. So to me, September is the start of a new year. So, it’s only natural to see September as the beginning of new things.
We’re in the last month of Summer 2017. While most of us are still enjoying some needed down time, vacationing with family or friends, or in my case, getting away alone to regroup, that nagging thought about how to grow our career in the coming year also starts to filter into our minds. Admit it, you’ve heard that little voice all Summer long, but have been pushing it aside so you can just enjoy yourself. Well, September is less than a month away now. It’s time to start putting some thought and effort into planning how you’re going to achieve your goals in the coming year.
Here are some questions to ask to see how ready you are:
All of these are typical questions people come to me with as they seek guidance in advancing their careers. And they are good questions; questions you SHOULD be asking yourself. There are many places to go for help.
So, as you continue to enjoy your last days of Summer and your mind begins to occasionally look ahead, start planning. Don’t wait. Fall is a great time to land new work. Everyone’s back from Summer vacation, the kids are back in school, and recruiters are eager to fill those open positions before the end of October and the busy Winter holiday season. My advice is to start now, even if you start slowly, so you can have all the prep work done before the hiring starts. So, go out now. Buy a book, find online resources, or contact a career coach to see how they can help. And yes, enjoy the rest of your Summer! It only comes once a year.
The people I work with often come to me after trying and failing to land a new job. Sometimes it’s just been a few months, sometimes it’s been years. And more often than not, this one step helps them succeed where they could not before.
Like so many, these folks are qualified, experienced and make excellent employees. They apply and apply and occasionally get a phone screening. The lucky few may even have had an interview. But all end up in the same situation – frustrated, alone, and feeling like a failure. Sound familiar? Well, you’re not a failure and you’re not alone. You’re most likely making the same mistake many people make.
Here’s the mistake and the one thing you can do to greatly improve your search, make it less frustrating, one big thing I work with my clients on. Here’s how and why.
Why is focus going to make the big difference? Well, there are a lot of jobs out there. And people tend to just sift through the listings, applying for everything that remotely sounds like something they can do. They forget all the other elements of a job: like company culture, work/life balance, company mission, vision and values, and so much more. And it takes time to apply for all those jobs; at least an hour for each one. That’s a lot of your time spent applying for jobs that may not even be a good fit for you. Even if you do get an interview, or better yet, a job offer, is this where you want to spend 40 + hours a week?
Here’s how I help my clients avoid these pitfalls, focus their search, and land something they really love in less time. Yes, focus. In doing this, there are a few important steps.
1.Know the work you want to do. Be specific. What is the work you are passionate about, that fulfills you, that you are good at? One of the best ways to figure this out is to search by key words rather than titles.
2.Understand the kind of industry you want to work for. Each industry has its own unique culture, pace, work ethic. What works for you? Do you want something face paced with long hours? Something stable, safe without overtime? Identify the one(s) that suit you. I’ve worked in government, non-profit and tech and can confirm that each has its very own unique culture from the rest.
3.Identify what values are important to you. Understanding your values will help you match them to each industry. The more closely aligned your values are to where you work, the happier you will be.
4.Research the companies you’re thinking of applying to. There are many tools to help you conduct your research. Do this and learn what people say about the companies you think you want to work at. Look at their website. Look on glassdoor.com. Talk to people who have worked there. It’s so esy these days to find out what a company is really like.
5.Make a short list of the most compatible companies and target those companies. Once you’ve done your research, you’ll be left with a short list of the top companies. Shoot for 10.
It’s summertime. I get it. Time for vacations, lazy days hanging around, maybe even getting projects done around the house. Sure, that’s all very true. But, if you are thinking of changing jobs before the end of the year, THERE IS NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW to get started on your job search. You don’t want next Summer to roll around and still be stuck in that same job.
There are some great reasons why you should start brushing up your resume and LinkedIn profile, network and do some interview prep NOW. Here are some of my favorites:
1. Yes, work slows down a little for most people. And, that means things are a bit relaxed and that hiring manager you wanted to meet with for an informational interview might just be more available, and more willing to spend time with you.
2. If there is a necessary vacant position, the company will continue to seek to fill it. Many jobs don't go on Summer hiatus and the need to fill it remains high.
3. Things are a little quieter at your job, lots of people are away on vacation, making it a little easier for you to get away from the job to conduct your search.
4. Plenty of people take the Summer off from job hunting. Take advantage of the fact there is less competition, and stand out in a smaller crowd.
5. And don't forget all those parties and bbqs that are so plentiful in the Summer. Use those opportunities to network. You never know who's going to show up that might be a great connection to a new job.
6. Companies are eager to fill open positions in September and early October to ensure they are filled before the Winter holiday season starts. I’ve seen so many jobs filled in September. If you wait until September to start the job search, you’ll miss this very short window of opportunity.
So, yes, by all means, take advantage of the sun and fun of summertime, but keep the job search active. You'll stand out from a much smaller crowd, and come fall when the weather turns, you might just find yourself in a new job that you love!
In my years of coaching individuals through the job search, I have worked with a wide variety of individuals. Some eagerly engage in networking, some try to avoid it. Eventually though, everyone learns of the importance of creating, maintaining and nurturing a network in order to grow their careers.
Whether you are currently in the job search or happily employed, keeping that network healthy and active is critical. I’ve worked with too many people who’ve ignored their network but suddenly find themselves laid off and looking for a new job. They feel so uncomfortable about reaching out to people when it’s time to ask for help. My advice is always to keep your network active, continue to help others and karma will reward you when it’s your turn.
I’ve identified the 5 top mistakes people make and share them with you here.
If you’re stuck and unsure how to begin networking, Andrea offers a 2-meeting package to help you establish a networking strategy with tips on where to find those connections and how best to engage. Schedule a complimentary 30 minute call with her to explore the options by clicking HERE.
Whether teaching a class about the job search, or working with a client individually, I frequently compare the job search to finding that right relationship. People laugh initially, but start to pay attention as I continue to explain.
Interview prep is one of the favorite aspects of my work as a career development coach. Few things make me happier than having a client reach out after an interview that we’ve prepped for and tell me how well it went, especially when they’ve been offered the job!
So what does it take to prepare well? The following is my recipe for interview success.
It’s well known that January and February are THE best months of the year to land a new job. After all, new budgets are freshly minted and everyone is coming back after the holidays. Common belief is that April and May are the second best, but I believe the second best time of year is September. Hiring managers and recruiters alike are back from Summer vacations and eager to get all those open slots filled so work can get back to normal. And that hiring window is short! It’s not long before the holidays arrive and things come to a crushing halt again.
You can find all sorts of data about how long a job search takes, but in honesty, how long your search takes depends on so many factors that are unique to you. Things like your profession, where you live, how the economy is doing, and so much more. But, from the hundreds of people I’ve worked with over the years, unless you are in a specific and in-high-demand position (like software developers), you can expect your search to take anywhere from 3 – 6 months.
So, given the time that you’re going to invest in your job search, don’t you want to do the best job preparing? Like anything, the more you prepare and the more you practice, the better you will perform. And ‘performing’ in the job search means landing that job.
Preparing means far more than brushing up your resume. It may mean rewriting your resume entirely as resumes have changed over the years. It DOES include your LinkedIn profile, a networking strategy to seek out those people who can help accelerate your search, and most assuredly, it includes interview prep. I know many people think they ace all their interviews. Well, the truth is, some do. But like everything else, interviews have changed over the years and you need to learn the new rules and how to master the experience.
All of this prep takes time to do it properly. The most popular program I offer to those who know the job they seek, is 3 months. Yes, 3 months of research, self-exploration, documentation of your unique value on the job, networking and interview practice. SO WHY ARE YOU WAITING? September is just 4 months away. If you want a new job before the end of the year, now is the time to start that preparation.
To entice those who are still holding back, I’ve been offering a Summer special throughout the month of May. Sign up for my Job Search Strategy or my Career Discovery program by May 31, 2017, and receive a deep discount on my regular program rate. You’ll save money, invest in your career AND be ready to say yes when you receive an offer in September! Just click HERE to schedule a complimentary 30 minute call with me to discuss your career goals.
I write often, providing tips about career strategy, be it seeking a new job, or developing your career so you’re ready for the next step. With so many successful stories in my coaching career, I thought I’d start sharing case studies that represent what many people experience throughout their careers in the hopes that you’ll see yourself in one of the stories and be inspired to take action for yourself. Today, I share the story of Sarah, a client from several years ago who is now flourishing in her new role.
Sarah had been at the same small, local business since the start of her career. With changes in the organization, and a somewhat toxic new boss, she decided it was time to seek new opportunities.
Sarah sought me out based on a recommendation from a friend and former client of mine. When we began working together, she had her sights set high, on large, international companies in the Seattle area.
She worked through my program diligently. We revamped her resume into a strong document that spoke boldly of her experience and accomplishments. We refreshed her LinkedIn profile to present a brand that accurately described her value. She did a great job of networking, getting out and meeting people.
And yet, this bright, skilled leader failed to succeed in her search....initially. As I watched her struggle, and get disheartened as so many job seekers do, I suggested to her that perhaps setting her sights on such large companies after a career at a small, local company was a bit of a stretch in their eyes. There was no question in my mind that she could succeed there, but one always has to be aware of the hiring organization’s perceptions. In many cases, there is an assumption that a long period of time working in a small organization doesn’t prepare you for the larger corporate experience.
So, we adjusted her strategy. Sarah began identifying mid-size companies that needed her skill set and would recognize her value. In no time, Sarah landed a great job. One year later, she was thrilled with her work and had even succeeded in earning a promotion.
There is much more to the job search than just a good resume. A resume will get you in the door, but targeting the right companies, and developing a strategy for your search will land you in your new job sooner. This week is International Coaching Week. If you want to learn more about coaching and how a career coach can help you reach the next level in your career, be it a new job or a promotion, contact me today for a complimentary 30 minute consultation. I’d love to help you reach YOUR next level!
I’ve seen an increased amount of activity from far away staffing agencies recently among my job search strategy clients. Several have reported receiving a high volume of random staffing agencies from all over the country approaching them for placement. Most report less than satisfactory interactions. So, when is it a good idea to work with a staffing agency and when is it NOT a good idea?
My rule of thumb for everything in the job search is to own control of your search. This goes for posting your resume to every possible site that asks for it (don’t do that), to working with random staffing agencies you’ve never heard of.
Being proactive in your job search is paramount, and this applies to working with agencies too. Seek out reputable agencies that have been referred to you and approach them, especially those local to where you seek employment. Chances are these agencies know the local landscape and have been sought out by the hiring employer, raising your chances of a good connection.
Once you’ve connected with an agency, you’ll meet with them and gain an understanding of what they offer and how they work. In turn, they’ll get to know you, your strengths and preferences, along with your experience and you will have a better experience. I’ve seen the agencies here in Seattle help people get into jobs they couldn’t land on their own.
Beware of agencies that are miles and miles away, even across the country. While I’ve heard of a few that worked out, this is not common. Check them out, perhaps even ask for some references of people they’ve previously worked with. Do your due diligence. Most will ask you to sign an agreement with them very early on, and this could have a negative impact on your search. In some cases, once you sign, you cannot apply directly to that employer. Imagine being contacted by an agency about a job with your dream company and signing the agreement, only to have that person disappear. Yes, it has happened! Then you see that perfect job posted at the dream employer and boom! You can’t apply because you signed that agreement. Own your search!
So, what do you do? First, if you haven’t heard it already. Take control of your job search and own it. Seek out agencies and recruiters who have good reputations and with whom people have had good experiences and results. Approach them. Meet with them. Ask questions. Find out any restrictions that might arise from signing agreements. Work with more than one vetted agency to raise your chances.
Recruiters and staffing agencies can be your best friend in your search for employment, but do it wisely and choose carefully. For more tips on working with staffing agencies, click HERE.
Own your search, be curious and you will land your next great role.
Andrea's passion is to see you achieve your dreams. Whether you are a corporate leader seeking leadership development for your employees or an individual seeking life and career changes, she will coach you to success.