Whether you make it to the end of the year with your job (and your dignity!) intact, or whether you are facing the challenges of redundancy, 2017 brings with it a ray of optimism and hope. After all, it is the start of a new and hopefully better year, for all of us.
Traditionally, people start winding down their job-hunting from the beginning of December, with the intention of picking up the baton again in early- to mid-January. The premise is always that, with key decision-makers away on break, nothing much is going to happen between now and then anyway, so you might as well relax and enjoy the festive season.
This year, I am recommending that you try a different approach. Here is a seven-step program that will help you maximize the returns on time invested this December.
1) Define your goals for 2017
Think of these goals as New Year Resolutions that you intend to keep, because you will track and measure them.
- Personal goals you might consider include building fitness in to your daily regimen (I recommend yoga for physical, mental and spiritual balance). Or you could learn a new language. If you live in the UAE, make an effort to start learning Arabic. It’s easier than you think. Perhaps you may want to make new friends. Start a new activity. Make yourself uncomfortable, both physically and mentally, because there is no growth without discomfort. Also, if you can, speak to a life coach. A good life coach can change the direction of your life, and is worth at least investigating.
- Professional objectives may be achieved – and here’s a shameless plug warning – by going online and ordering Building Brand YOU! from Amazon. It’s a short book, but it will make you think about yourself as a brand. Once you learn to differentiate yourself, you will have far less competition in a crowded market, and you will be able to answer the infamous interview question (“why should I hire you?”) with confidence and panache.
- Develop a new skill. I recommend free online courses from sites like Coursera.org. Anything with the words “digital” or “social” can’t hurt, but look at where you want to go and skill up accordingly. No-one else is going to do it for you. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, and back in to learning mode.
- Gather feedback from your boss, co-workers, and team members. Ask them what you can do differently and better next year. Thank them for their feedback, and put it in to action.
- Financial planning should also be an important goal for 2017. Set a savings target – 10% of your monthly salary is always a worthwhile objective. And curb those urges – spend responsibly. Don’t give in to those impulses and cravings, especially with the festive season approaching. I’m not saying that you should not celebrate at all, but try to do it within limits. Last-minute hotel bookings and air tickets tend to be ridiculously expensive, and Christmas dinners at fancy hotels with bubbly by the bucket can be equally prohibitive. Be sensible, and you will pat yourself on the back in January when you get a credit card bill that does not cause you to faint in disbelief. Finally, if you don’t have a financial adviser, consider speaking to one. The guidance can be worth its weight in gold, and will save you money in the long-term.
2) Review your LinkedIn profile
I can’t stress this enough. The number of profiles that I come across with spelling, grammar, and other basic mistakes (like writing your name without capital letters in the appropriate places), really gets me going. And don’t even get me started with the quality of profile photos out there. The list of common misdemeanors is lengthy, and an incomplete or poorly filled profile has a tangible impact on your chances of finding the role of your dreams next year. Speak to an expert – it’s worth investing time and energy in making your profile the best it can be. It is the ultimate sales tool for Brand YOU so use it to its full potential. Download the #LinkedIn app and the LinkedIn Job Search app and set up job searches. Start using these apps to their maximum potential.
3) Update your CV
If your resume looks dated and unprofessional, how many doors do you think it will open for you? Not the ones you are looking to walk through. Instead, go online and find a resume template that reflects who you are, and build one from the ground up. Ask friends and co-workers for feedback, and invest time and energy into making it a powerful door opener.
4) Update your contact list
Go through your phone and e-mail lists, and send out season’s greetings to everyone. Tell them you would love to meet up, and then meet up. Remind people what a great friend you are, and try to help as many people as you can. Do it without an agenda, selflessly, and do it often. The universe will pay you back in ways that you cannot imagine. Try it.
5) Start networking with purpose
Identify companies that you would like to work for, and start reaching out to people who work there. That said, there a couple of things you should be aware of. For example, you should never send the standard LinkedIn invite. Customize the invitation. Find a reason that the person you are inviting should want to connect with you.
Also, you should never send your CV as the follow-up mail if someone does accept your invitation. Instead, invite them for coffee or a phone chat to learn more about the company and that person. And, finally, once you build a relationship, they will want to help you, not before. Don’t put the cart before the horse, and invest in building the relationship in a manner that is sustainable.
6) Get in front of recruiters
December is a relatively quiet month, so many recruiters will take the time to meet you as they gird their loins for January. After all, as much as recruiters love getting big meaty roles to fill, they also need exceptional candidates to fill those roles. If you have a decent CV and LinkedIn profile, and relevant experience, they will want to meet you. They won’t have time in January, so now is a good time.
7) Pull your credit report
As the year winds down, review your financial situation. Check that your current debts and obligations are being correctly reflected in your credit report from Al Etihad Credit Bureau. Start proactively managing your credit history because real “rainy day preparation” doesn’t involve stockpiling credit cards and other credit facilities. Instead, it is all about prudent financial management, and ensuring that your debt-burden ratio (DBR) is maintained at a safe level. This will ensure that you can get credit when you need it. More importantly, many employers are now asking for credit checks as part of the employment process, so if your credit history is questionable, you may be disqualified for that job that you have worked so hard to get to.
The above steps are designed to help you maximize the value of your time in December, so that you can hit the ground running in January. I hope you find the job of your dreams!
Good luck, and here’s to an amazing 2017 for all! Cheers!
Contributed by: Omar Abedin Brand Marketing Pro, Digital Enthusiast, Content Monster, Author, Recovering Entrepreneur[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]