As the job market slows down in the run up to Christmas it can feel very frustrating if you’re keen to make a move. So what can you do to stay active as the job alerts get less frequent and your recruitment agent contacts start their round of Christmas parties?
We asked experienced career coach Michelle Bayley for her advice…
“If you already know the type of job that’s the right fit for you, you could use the slow down to do some practical things which will maximise your chances of landing a great job in the New Year, such as:
- Review your CV – hopefully, you’ve made good use of all the advice out there on how to create the sort of CV employers are looking for. If you haven’t then now’s a good time to do that and to also make sure that you get someone else to take a look at it. Even if you’ve had your CV looked over previously, some fresh comments from someone who’s good at anticipating what an employer will think, can only be helpful.
- Review your on-line presence – if you aren’t already on Linked In and signed up to forums where potential employers might notice you, then take some time now to sign up and get involved. And if you’ve already got a good on-line presence, then it’s worth checking that your profiles are up to date.
- Arrange a mock interview – it might sound cringe worthy but getting one or two people you know to interview you is really worthwhile. It’s much better to practice with and get feedback from friends and family on those tough interview questions than to deal with them for the first time when you’re going for a job you’d love to get.
If you’re less sure about what’s next and are feeling at a bit of a crossroads, then the pre-Christmas lull is also a chance to take a step back and get clear about what you really want from your work.
So, how do you get clear? Essentially, by spending some time thinking about the questions below – they give you vital clues you need to be really satisfied and fulfilled by your work…
- What feels purposeful for you? – think about your current and previous roles – when have you felt “on purpose”, as though what you were doing was important and mattered to you?
- Your skills – don’t just think about the skills you have. Although listing them is a good start, the real trick is in knowing which ones you really enjoy using.
- Your strengths – these are likely to be what comes naturally to you. People who build on their strengths and really hone them are the happiest in their work.
- Your achievements – what have you achieved in both your personal and work life? These don’t have to be about winning prizes or delivering on a high profile piece of work. What’s important is that something felt like an achievement to you, perhaps because you had to overcome some barriers to do it.
- Your interests – what inspires you? What do you do that gets you so absorbed you don’t notice time passing? What do you love to read about? All these are clues to your interests.
- Your motivators – money is often an obvious answer! But what else motivates you? The opportunity to have influence, to feel secure, to work independently, to use your creativity, or to make a difference can all be motivators and there are plenty more besides.
- Your ideal organisation – what does this look like for you? What sort of colleagues do you want to have, what sort of products or activity do you want to be involved with? Where would you like to be located?
Once you’ve given some thought to all these questions it’s a good idea to sit down with a friend and ask yourself “what are these answers telling me about my future direction?”
So, whether you use the time to maximise your chances of landing the sort of job you already know you want or to spend time reflecting on what you want from your work, you can set yourself up for a successful New Year job search.”
Michelle Bayley is an experienced life and career coach who balances running her own consultancy – Find Your Way Coaching – with a role as joint director of communications for a Government agency.