Kendell Brown is a member of the iRelaunch Career Coaching team and our resident expert on resume-writing serivces for relaunchers. Founder of Ascension Careers
and a relauncher herself, She works with clients with to ascertain and
achieve their career goals via strategic planning, positioning and
branding assessments, identifying transferrable skills and providing
counsel for working through challenging work situations.
Are you on a career break and thinking about going back to work? Or, maybe you’re contemplating changing your career field entirely. The job search process can be daunting, but following are four “secret” tips to help you get back to work with a job you love.
Your resume and LinkedIn profile are only 20% of the job search equation.
Social media is now included in the price of entry. While social media was definitely a part of everyday life back in 20XX, it was a way to stay connected with family and friends. Now we’ve got influencers and brand ambassadors telling us what to eat, how to dress and what to think. Job seekers need to cultivate a digital presence that aligns with their professional brand. Utilize social media to showcase work samples and professional opinions to refine, define and bolster your brand to employers. Effective social media can validate and document what’s included on your resume and LinkedIn profile. Bonus: An updated social media presence can help overcome some of the “old” and “out-of-the loop” stereotypes that plague Relaunchers.
Never say “I’ll do anything.”
Update –Are employers hiring? Yes. Are managers being pulled in more and more directions? Double yes. Is COVID causing unprecedented flux? YES, YES, YES! Consequently, job offers, interview schedules, returned emails just don’t have the same timelines as they did in the “before times”. Now is not the time to dilute your brand by applying to jobs you don’t want and can’t reasonably do. Resist the “I’ll do anything” temptation. Remain steadfast and focused on your goal. Bonus: Working from home is available to you like never before. Traditional work arrangements (9 to 5 hours, “at the office” working, commutes, etc.) kept Relaunchers out of the workforce longer than we often wanted. Those barriers are rapidly falling by the wayside – take advantage of this unprecedented adjustment of working attitudes and geographically expand your search.
Turn contacts into advocates.
Almost a year into the pandemic, the novelty of WFH has worn off. Remember how easy it was to schedule a virtual chat with an old colleague in April? Now, everyone’s fatigued and no one is much interested in a quick Zoom chat. So, does this mean, you get a pass on networking? Of course you don’t – networking is never going away. Networking during COVID requires sensitivity, flexibility and authenticity. Sensitivity: (Try these conversation starters) “How are you and your family handling working and schooling from home?” or “As 2020 was drawing to a close, I really thought X. Now that we’re 2 months into 2021, I’m beginning to realize Y. What about you?” Flexibility: (You’ve got 10 minutes and 3 questions left for your scheduled chat.) “I don’t mind wrapping up early, we’ve all had WIFI issues at some point. I really appreciate your time today.” Authenticity: “To be honest, I didn’t expect returning to work to take so long. It’s tested my resolve in unexpected ways.” Showing sincerity and courtesy will pay long term dividends and can go a long way toward establishing a long-term rapport. Bonus: Teetotalers and virtual happy hours are a match made in heaven!
All intel is good intel.
Primary company research (going directly to a source, ie employees) is still critical. But sometimes, you just can’t find someone to talk to. So, you conduct secondary research (using pre-existing data) and you scour company websites and social media, you review competitor companies and adjacent industries. What else can you do? How about the best of both worlds - we’ll call it “hybrid research”. Companies are now using their own employees to differentiate themselves. Visit company-owned sites, their social media and third-party job search sites (try LinkedIn and the Muse) to watch videos of employees describing their responsibilities, what a typical day is like, what attracted them to the company and what keeps them there. You hear the jargon employees use, learn what’s important to the firm. It’s a gold mine of insight all from the comfort of your laptop. Bonus – How is everyone dressed in these videos? Super casual, kinda casual, business casual? Now, you know what to wear in an interview. (Even when interviewing from home, you want to dress appropriately.)