How to use this hectic time of year to kick-start your career strategy ahead of the next year…
Happy new month for the last time in 2021.
For those of us in the southern hemisphere, the days are getting warmer and longer which can only mean one thing… things are about to get silly. [For those north of the equator, insert colder and shorter… otherwise, the sentiment is the same!] School’s almost finished, end of year wrap-up parties are in full swing, and shopping anxiety is off the charts.
And, let’s face it, as Year 2 of this “life in a global pandemic” draws to a close, many of us are looking forward to the opportunity to let our hair down and blow off a little steam, right?
The countdown to the end of year is also prime time for a bit of reflection (about the year ending) and planning (for the year ahead).
If, like many others, 2021 has left you feeling less inspired than ever with your work-life, and you’re thinking you’ll do something about it in 2022… then, I encourage you to start the process now.
Quite simply because this is likely to be the most socially active 4-6 week period of your year. There’s the more obvious family gatherings and team Christmas lunches… but there’s also many of the more ad hoc, annual catch ups with acquaintances, ex-colleagues, and friends of friends.
All of these provide a wealth of opportunities when you’re considering a change or upgrade to your career. Whether you’ve just started thinking about things or you’re proactively looking for a new role, end of year social activities provide relaxed, informal occasions to undertake research, make connections, and communicate your intention.
Basically, it’s networking, but fun and without the “ick” factor.
Get ahead of the game… take your first step to New Year, New Career!
1. GET CRYSTAL CLEAR
Whether you like it or not, every time you interact with someone you leave an impression. I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to ensure this impression is consistent with what you want to be known for. You need to ensure you’re ready to talk clearly and concisely about who you are, what value you bring and what you want. Just like the most dazzling seasonal ornament, this is your opportunity to step into the spotlight and showcase who you are.
2. BE PREPARED
I often say that preparation is the new “planning”… and this is especially true at this time of the year. Before you step out of your house or office to attend that get together, take a little time to gather your thoughts and be prepared. Do you know who will be there? What do you already know about them? What information would you like to find out? Perhaps set yourself a small goal or challenge… e.g. to clearly communicate to at least [insert no.] people the value you can provide and what you’re looking for, or to exchange contact details with [insert no.] people.
3. READ THE ROOM
It’s key to remember, this is a festive occasion and not a job interview. Nothing will turn someone off faster than an obvious pitch. Engage with genuine interest and the aim of developing or enhancing relationships. Ask lots of questions, practice active listening and before responding, ask yourself continuously, “how can I help?”. Be willing to do something or give something of value. This shows you’re not just looking for what you can get from an exchange. And, it provides a valuable opportunity to follow up and continue to develop the relationship.
4. DO IT BECAUSE YOU WANT TO
If you’re in the rare, fortunate situation where your schedule isn’t chock full of work and personal commitments, consider how you can either re-engage with old connections or make some new ones during this time. While they might be too busy for an in person catch up right now, most would appreciate a short email or LinkedIn message, asking how they are and may agree to a meeting in the new year. That way you both have something to look forward after the silly season is done.
Over to you!
Are you ahead of the game and already preparing for 2022? If you want next year to be the year you work it all out and make the right next career move, please get in touch, I would love to be your coach and head cheerleader!