Your Job Search Plan

In a larger sense, your entire career could be viewed as made up of seasonal shifts, from your first job out of college (spring) to your retirement and possible second-act role (winter).  Your job search might not have seasonal changes that correspond closely to those you experience in terms of climate-based alterations throughout the year, but as a microcosm of the overall career evolution process, it can and often does change at least somewhat from start to finish.

Consequently, you might find it helpful to consider your job search plan from the viewpoint of seasonal changes. When you start out, you have a goal in mind and define the steps you believe are necessary to achieve that goal.  As the search progresses, though, you could well find yourself facing the need to grow and change in ways you hadn’t anticipated when you started the search.

WHERE IS YOUR JOB SEARCH AT THIS TIME?

As I’m writing this, we’re experiencing fall here in Massachusetts, and the leaves have been dropping for a while, although they’re not done yet. This tells us we’re headed for winter weather (snow, ice, etc.), probably not too many weeks in the future, and we might want to make sure our snow-blowers are in good shape!

If that’s comparable to where you are in your job search when you read this, you’ve most likely been engaged in the search for a while. In that case, now might be a good time to re-evaluate your situation and see how far you’ve come toward the goal of a new job and what you still have left to accomplish.

If you’ve been thinking that the end of the year isn’t a good time to work on your job search because “no one is hiring until after January 1,” I encourage you to reconsider. You might not be able to envision the end of your job search at this point, but even if it’s not visible on the horizon yet, you can make progress toward it and save yourself time and trouble on the other end.

Of course, the same can apply equally well regardless of which stage of the search you’re in. Starting it now instead of waiting for January 1 to join the job-seeking crowd could give you a leg-up on your competition. That’s a good thing!

BUILD “SEASONAL” CHANGES INTO YOUR JOB SEARCH PLAN

Unless you want your future to be “more of the same” as the past and present have been, you need to consider building change into the pattern. For instance, if you’re well into the late summer/early fall of your career, the job search probably will look quite different from those you conducted earlier in your career. You’ll have developed a larger and hopefully stronger network, for instance, and will be tapping into that to help move your job search to a successful conclusion.

If you’re contemplating the pursuit of a higher-level management position, the time between now and the end of the year can be usefully applied to maximizing all the resources available to you, including but not limited to your professional network. You’ll definitely want to assess your strongest points from an employer’s perspective and make sure you have attention-getting stories to tell about your successes in those areas.