Mary Beth Barrett-Newman is President of 2nd Career Consulting, She spent almost 30 years in the corporate world and brings her experience, expertise and enthusiasm as she coaches clients on their journey to a new position. Mary Beth is a frequent contributor to the iRelaunch blog and podcast and is a moderator of the iRelaunch Return to Work Forum on Facebook.
So, you’ve decided this is the year. You’re going to stop “thinking” about returning to the workforce and actually “do” it. Now what? Starting your relaunch using a structured approach and incorporating some tools to keep organized and focused can make a world of difference.
Having a Focus: What type of position are you looking for?
While some relaunchers are very certain about the type of positions/industry, etc. they’re looking for, others aren’t. Without clarity, you can spend a lot of time spinning your wheels and wasting others’ time. Even if think you know the types of position you’re looking for, investing some time making sure you are clear is an important first step. While there are many ways to do this, they all include these basic components:
- Doing some self-assessment and reflection on past jobs (paid and volunteer). What were the parts of your jobs you liked, disliked? What environments and corporate cultures bring out the best in you?
- Knowing your skills and what you bring to an employer. Why would an employer hire you?
- Gathering outside input by asking former work and volunteer colleagues what they valued when working with you. Sometimes others can see us more clearly than we can see ourselves.
The iRelaunch Return to Work Roadmap is a perfect resource that can guide you step by step through this process. Working with a career coach is another option.
Organizing your Job Search
Now that you have clarity on the type of position, what structure do you need to put in place to keep your search focused?
- Setting goals – While you cannot control when or where you’ll get an offer, what you can control is your activity. Setting realistic weekly goals is a great way to keep moving forward and not let time slip by. Set the goals at the end of each week, so that when Monday morning comes, you already know what you need to be doing – network with five former colleagues, update LinkedIn profile, research 10 companies in a specific industry, update your skills by signing up for a class, online tutorial, etc.
- Staying organized – At the beginning of a job search, keeping
everything organized seems simple. Over time, as your activity increases
this will become more and more difficult. Tools to stay on top of
- Spreadsheet – Create a spreadsheet where you track everything! Networking meetings, job applications, follow-ups, etc. This can also help your Excel skills!
- Calendar – Use an online calendar not only to track all meetings and appointments, but also to include reminders for follow ups. Incorporating BOTH personal commitments as well as those related to your job search will eliminate double booking and help you be realistic when setting your weekly goals.
- Notebook – Keep all your notes from networking meetings, interview prep, interviews, research, etc. in one place. It’s much easier when you look back to find something or review input you’ve received from others.
- Being accountable – While some can do this themselves, others may find it helpful to work with someone else on this. Do you know other relaunchers? Perhaps having a “relaunch buddy” or starting a semi-monthly accountability group would be effective? Would working one-on-one with a career coach be beneficial? Perhaps a combination of the above.
No matter where you are in your relaunch, start TODAY by setting goals and utilizing some of the above methodologies to make your relaunch effective and fruitful.