By Angela Copeland
In less than three weeks, the race will be on. Are you ready? You may wonder what race I’m talking about. It’s time for one of the most important races of your life: the race to your dream job.
Over the holidays, hiring slows down. Although it doesn’t completely stop, some companies put off hiring new employees until the New Year. First, there are many employees who are on vacation during December. This can make the interview process more difficult with only a partial staff.
But, when January begins all bets are off. Companies start to hire again in full force.
The first step to getting ready is having your resume prepared. You also want to update your LinkedIn profile and have a sample cover letter handy just in case.
But once you have the basics down, what else should you do? Well, one of the biggest issues that may cause problems is not having a clear direction. Having a perfect resume is just not enough anymore. It’s important that you can explain to your friends and network what type of job you’re looking for and why.
If you aren’t sure what you want to be when you grow up, start with a list. Write down all the things you’re good at within the scope of your current job. Include things you did at your previous job. Then, add in skills you’ve picked up through hobbies. For example, you may have a business on the side that not only generates income, but also teaches you new things.
Compare your list of transferrable skills to various job descriptions. Start a list of possible new careers. Once you have five to 10 new ideas, begin to search within your network for people who work in these career fields. Send them an email and ask if you could take them out for coffee in exchange for picking their brain. You’ll be surprised at how many people will say yes.
These coffee meetings are often referred to as informational interviews. They’re a chance for you to learn more about another career through networking. They aren’t a chance to interview for a job, but to learn about one. And the good news is, most people enjoy talking about themselves – and helping others.
Oftentimes, I’ve found that just a few informational interviews can help my clients to narrow down what they don’t want to do, or to get a better idea of what they’d like to do. It’s surprising how quickly a short conversation can give you a window into another profession.
As you begin to narrow down your career choices, revise your resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letter to match. Begin putting together your elevator pitch. This is a quick summary of what you’d like to do. It helps those around you to recommend opportunities – and it will leave you prepared to dominate your search in the new year.
Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.