December 6, 2013
Want a new job in 2014? Start planning now
If you’re planning to look for a job in 2014, you’ll be in good company. A resounding 83 percent of people said in a recent Right Management online poll that they “will actively seek a new position next year.”
In order to give you a head start on the job-seeking competition, we consulted local career coaches for advice on laying the groundwork now for landing a job next year. Here are a few of their tips.
Reach out to connections
People become more social during the holidays, says Sherri Edwards, of Seattle’s Resource Maximizer, making now a great time to nurture your network. But don’t make the contact all about you and what you want, she says. Instead, ask your friends and connections what they are doing and what may be needed in their workplaces.
“Find out what they are working on, worried about or challenged by,” Edwards says. “Now you have a lead that could turn into something.”
When someone offers to help you, act quickly. “That person may not remember, they don’t follow up, and the whole thing dies," Edwards says.
If you do get an introduction or someone reaches out to you, make sure you know what to say. Figure that out now, through the next step.
Spend some time on self-assessment, especially if you’re pondering a career change. What are your interests? Skills? Values?
“When you’re between jobs or languishing in one that isn’t very exciting, check in on these basic gut-level motivations,” says Marcy Porus-Gottlieb, a Seattle-based career coach. “Take a skills assessment and find out ‘What am I good at?’ and ‘What do I love to do?’ Those are not always the same things.”
A few resources for this are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test or Salary.com’s quick online Archetype Test, which suggests families of careers based on your responses to questions about your ideal employer, strengths, weaknesses and values. Also, read “What Color is Your Parachute?” -- the 2014 edition has updated job-search tips and an appendix devoted to finding your mission in life.
If your next dream job isn’t available in your own company, dig into research mode.
“When I advise my clients on career transition, the first thing we do is research before we start designing résumés and applying for anything,” says Edwards.
Look for companies online, using search terms that include your desired title or responsibilities as well as the city. Also, remember your conversations with your connections, and keep a lookout for the happy people in your network, says Porus-Gottlieb. “Culture is really important,” she says.
When you find companies that interest you, search their job postings and those at NWjobs.com. This research will also pay off when you are ready to interview.
“The clues for the [interview] questions are in the job descriptions,” Porus-Gottlieb says. “If people look through them very carefully, they can get themselves ready for an interview and not be surprised. The last thing you want to do is look to the corner of the ceiling for the answers where none exist.”
For example, if a term like “collaborate” appears, you can count on getting a question such as, “Tell me about a time when you were working with a team and something went wrong.”
Polish your profile
The next step is putting together the best toolkit you can have, with a beautiful, forward-looking resume and LinkedIn profile, says Porus-Gottlieb. What comes out of the internal and external research is the ability to say: “This is what makes me uniquely good in the marketplace,” she says.
“If that comes out at the top of my resume and profile, then people can distinguish me from others. It makes the person looking at you for the job see how you can fit into that organization and add value,” Porus-Gottlieb says.
To stealthily update your LinkedIn profile, pay attention to your settings. Turn off your “activity broadcasts” and be mindful of who can see your “activity feed.”
Keep it up
People should always be laying the groundwork for their next move, Porus-Gottlieb says.
“You can’t run the Boston Marathon unless you have been training, right?” she says. “You can’t think about hopping into a search or having an interview unless you’ve prepared.”
And don’t be discouraged if your efforts aren’t immediately rewarded. “This is time valuably spent,” says Porus-Gottlieb. “It could [pay off] in 2014, 2018 or beyond.”
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