Remember what it was like to go back to school? It was a combination of excitement (to see your friends) and sadness (knowing that the freedom of Summer was over) sprinkled with a bit of apprehension. What I remember most about those days (besides the awesome lunchbox I got to pick out at the store) was the chance to start fresh. Let’s take a cue from those school students we see in our Facebook feed and start fresh this fall. Instead of learning the “3 R’s” (Reading, Writing & Arithmetic), I came up with four new, action-oriented R’s:
Are you REALLY ready to commit to the job search? If you’re employed but unhappy at your job, ask yourself first if there are any things in your control that you can do or change at work (or even at home) to make things better. In addition, if you have a lot going on in your personal life (a move, going through a divorce, dealing with an illness or other extenuating circumstance), it might be wise to put your search on hold. Not forever, but for now. Save your energy for where it will best be put to use.
If you’re unemployed and need to work, you don’t have the option to curtail your search. But, it may be time to change direction. If you can’t find jobs in one area (say marketing for example), you should be open to the possibility of another area like sales.
What is or is not working with your job search? If you’re not getting any interviews, it’s time to take a really critical look at your resume. Do you have a friend who is good at writing? See if they will help. Your college career center can help as well. Reach out to see what services they offer to alumni. Local libraries often offer resume writing workshops. If interviewing is a weak spot, you can get help for that as well. Practice mock interview questions with a friend. Make an effort to start networking (and not just online!). Last but not least, make sure you are maximizing the potential of LinkedIn. Click the links in this post for helpful resources in all four areas.
The beauty of going from junior high to high school or high school to college was that you could at least try to transform into the person you wanted to be. Granted, this was not always the easiest thing to do, but it was the goal of many. A similar goal can be applied to the job search. What can you do better this time around in your career? Focus on improving your weak areas. It’s not easy to admit, for example, that you’re too defensive, a “micro manager,” strong willed, etc… fill in the blank here with whatever the case may be – but it’s a good starting point/exercise. By taking a hard look at yourself, you can map out the steps to change.
As with any plan, there are going to be stumbles and falls. Things won’t go exactly as planned, and that’s ok. If they did, we would all be in our ideal jobs and no one would be out of work or looking for work. Aim for progress not perfection. Be proactive on your new plan to find that new job and be prepared to change the plan along the way.
Everyone deserves the opportunity for a clean slate. If you’re stagnating in your job search or career, the new school year is a great time to Reevaluate, Revisit, Reinvent and Revise things in your professional life. Oh, and if you or your parents have any of those old metal lunchboxes, you should really look into selling them – they may be worth something! 🙂
Looking for more job search advice? Check out this post: 5 Must-Ask Interview Questions.
A version of this post, by our Social Media Specialist, also appears on LinkedIn.
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