It seems as if every time I turn around, the economic news gets worse. More people are being laid off. Recent college grads are having job offers rescinded. Retirees are going back to work because their investments took such a hit. No question that this is a stressful time.
If you are lucky enough to be currently employed, but are in the midst of a job hunt, you have a whole different set of stress factors to manage.
Your career is your responsibility. If you look around and don’t envision yourself in the same organization for the long haul (or even for the short haul), it is up to you to take steps to find something new. No matter how difficult it is or how little time you have, if you don’t take the wheel, you can’t drive your own career bus. My colleague, Alphonse Ha at Tele-Ressources in Montreal asked me to share some tips to help the busy employee who leads a double life as a job seeker. This appeared on their blog yesterday, and I’d like to share it with my readers as well!
So, some tips to help the busy employee who leads a double life as a job seeker:
Do NOT – I repeat – DO NOT conduct your job search while AT work. Even using your employer issued computer on your own time is iffy. If you don’t want to be shown the door before you are ready, conduct your search on your OWN time. What? You don’t have any of your own time? That’s the reason you are looking for a job? Carve some out. Searching online job boards, blogs (!) and sending emails applying for positions from your company computer is risky. Just don’t do it.
Manage your time. You need to take a break from work. If that “break” also involves spending some of your “down” time prepping for a job hunt, so be it.
Invest in yourself. Hire someone to help you or put in the preparation that you deserve to ensure that you know how to look for a job and that your materials represent the best you have to offer. Do not sell yourself short by sending around a resume that isn’t optimized. The investment you put into your search at the outset will pay off for you in the long run with a shorter hunt.
Network! Open your eyes – networking opportunities are all around. Soon,Ã‚Â holiday parties will begin. Family get-togethers are in the offing. Take advantage of social situations to grow your network. Too busy for parties? Social networking (online) will fill in the gaps. I recommend a dual-prong networking strategy that involves in-person and online networking for full exposure. Investigate Twitter. Optimize your linkedin profile.
Keep connected and engaged in your current job, no matter how difficult it is. Sporting a positive attitude will help make you desirable to potential employers (and make it easier for you at work). Even if you have one foot out the door, don’t start acting as if you are already off the payroll. When’s a good time to tell your colleagues that you are looking for a job? When you give your notice! Turn to non-work friends for support during your search.
Gather information. If you interview for a job, be sure to ask about their timing. You want to know if they will be making a hiring decision soon or if you are the first of 100 interviews! Having information will help you manage your search. Ask questions that will help put you in the driver’s seat down the road.
Above all, recognize that the positive steps you take now to manage your own career will pay off in the long run. Don’t wait. Don’t let stress or fear get the best of you. Take the wheel and turn the key.
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photo by Georgie Sharp