In other words — Always be prepared to leave a job, because your employer is always prepared to leave you. More and more, many companies (not all, mind you) find themselves letting employees go for a number of different reasons.
You’re not happy with your job. Or you might not have a job at the moment. Most people in this position will look at the month of December as a time of rest and relaxation and tell themselves that they will begin their brand-new job search on January 1, 2015. Unfortunately, they will be far behind their competition in the marketplace who are actively looking for a job. Bottom line, you need to develop a career strategy during the month of December to know who your targeting, what you will do, where you will go, when you will do it, and how you will track your progress. We know the ‘why’ — you need to find a new position!
Now you’re probably thinking that I’m suggesting an enormous task for you to accomplish during a month filled with holidays, families visiting, school vacations, etc. You just won’t have the time to even start thinking of a strategy to help you kick off the new year. That’s where you’re wrong.
All I’m asking for is 1 hour a day, five days a week. That’s it. Instead of watching a really bad TV show every weekday night, all I’m asking for is just one hour to plan and ensure a successful job search. So what do you do?
Find a quiet place in your home with no distractions or interruptions. This time is for you. Get a notebook to take notes and have your laptop handy to do incremental information searches on the web.
I want you to draw a vertical line down the center of a piece of paper. At the top of the left side write “Energize” and on the right side write “Enervate”. Under Energize, I want you to list all the elements of your last job that you really enjoyed and energized you. Under Enervate, I want you to list all the elements of your last job that you hated and de-motivated you. Now you know what to look for in a job.
I want you to research your industry and better understand who are the big players, where it is going, where they are going and what the future holds. This will give you a better feel for who to target in your job search.
I want you to pick 5-10 organizations or companies you would LOVE to work for. Not just ‘like’ or ‘it would be nice’, I want you to LOVE them. Do a little research on each one, see where they are and where they’re going, find out who are the key people in your area of the organization.
Housekeeping — I want you to clean up your résumé and your LinkedIn profile. Add in any additional info from your current research. These two areas must shine before you begin to look for a position. Also, check all of your current (and past) social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare, etc. You need to clean them up or if you can, make them private. You need to put on a perfect face for potential opportunities.
Begin to plan out a schedule starting on January 1. If you’re currently employed, begin to figure out when you can allocate time to research, contact, and interview new career opportunities. If you are in transition, develop a 40-hour a week schedule that includes research, networking, visits to the library, etc. You need to be busy starting in January, the best thing you can do is be prepared with a comprehensive schedule.
This is just a short overview of what you can do, but it helps you develop a great action plan to kick off the new year with energy and focus. Good Luck!
Rich Gee is CEO of the Rich Gee Group, a career coaching practice located in Stamford, CT. You can reach Rich at www.richgee.com and catch his 700+ articles on career success.