Your career may have fluctuated throughout 2013, and if looking for a new job was part of your plans, it's not too late to secure a new opportunity. At the beginning of the year, we created a 2013 job-search guide with a quarter-by-quarter plan to keep you focused in your search. Here's an overview of the timeline:
- Q1 (January through March): Devote the first few months of the year to getting organized: Organize your thoughts, organize your application materials and organize your contacts.
- Q2 (April through June): A few months in, you should be going full steam ahead with your job search. Your days should be filled with applying, following up, networking and (hopefully) going to interviews. If you're a college student, get a head start in your professional job search by tapping alumni, using your school's career resources and making initial contact with companies of interest.
- Q3 (July through September): At around the midyear mark, take a step back to review what's working and what's not in your job search. It's not too late to course-correct to ensure that you reach your goals during the back half of the year.
- Q4 (October through December): During the last few months of the year, take advantage of the season. Network at holiday parties, consider seasonal job opportunities and take the time to thank those who have helped you professionally throughout the year.
Q4: Take advantage of the holiday season
With the holidays fast approaching, your thoughts may be focused on seasonal feasts, shopping for gifts and making travel arrangements for family visits. However, don't let these last few months slip away without taking advantage of the opportunities that come along with them. Here's how to get the most out of the fourth quarter:
- Network at holiday parties: The holiday season is a flurry of parties for families, friends, businesses, volunteer and charity groups, and more. Not only can you mingle with your close social circles, but you can also branch out and meet new acquaintances who might have an opportunity for you. The key to networking gracefully and successfully at holiday parties is to be genuine and also appear knowledgeable and driven. Introductions usually include who you are and what you do. You can mention how long you've been in your field or what skills you hold, and express an interest in a specific line of work. You just may generate a lead for your next job.
- Consider seasonal job opportunities: The holidays bring with them seasonal job opportunities, as more consumers are spending, shopping, traveling and shipping. Some industries need additional support during the holiday rush, and these jobs may lead to permanent work. Offices and stores alike will need help in customer service, administrative/clerical support, hospitality, shipping/delivery, accounting/finance, inventory management, technology and sales.
- Take the time to thank those who have helped you professionally throughout the year: If your job search has spanned a number of weeks or months, you likely reached out to others for help, advice and resources. Whether or not those conversations helped move your search forward, maintain positive relationships by taking the time to thank those who have helped you. Send thoughtful, well-written notes as cards or personalized emails, or make a phone call and express your gratitude for their time and effort. Not only is this step kind, but it may also refresh your job search if your contacts have heard of recent opportunities.
The end of 2013 can also be the end of your job search when you take the time to network, consider seasonal job opportunities and express gratitude to those who have helped you throughout the year. Along with taking the time to search for jobs you're qualified for and putting together a thoughtful application, these steps can help move your career in the right direction.
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