By Linda M. Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS
First of all, I would like to send my heartfelt wishes for a speedy resumption of power, water and whatever else is necessary to all of those who have suffered so terribly as a result of Hurricane Irene. Connecticut, like other states, was ravaged by this horrific storm. I have been out of my home for a while and can empathize with the disruption that it is has caused. To those of you who lost loved ones, I send my sincere condolences. We must trust that there are better times ahead.

In my business, September is the time when most people spring back into action after a summer hiatus. It is like the beginning of the year for me. Therefore, I am getting my office organized with all of the necessary supplies. I must say that I find shopping for office supplies to be very therapeutic! Some people even refer to me as “The Staples Queen!” As I walk the aisles at my favorite refuge, I cannot help but feel exhilarated by the sight and smell of all of the pristine school supplies that are displayed, signaling the start of the new school year. This also coincides with the start of the Fall Hiring Season. As a result, I thought I would take this time to help you gear up so that you are ready to hit the ground running. It is very easy to get out of sync over the summer. Now is the time to prepare for the future.

Just as you prepare the list for your children’s new school year, you should do the same for your job search. So what should be on this list? Here are the Top 10 Things to do to prepare for the coming hiring season:

  1. Take a good look at your clothes and shoes. Do they require a freshening up like a new shirt or tie or do you need a whole new outfit? A shoe shine and new soles or a brand new pair? As shallow as this may sound, you must keep on top of your appearance in presenting yourself to hiring decision makers. Gaze at your reflection in the mirror. Is it time for a haircut or hairstyle? Would a few touches with “Just For Men” or a base color that covers the gray for women be in order. You want to take age out of the equation as much as possible during the interview process. In addition, going to the hairdresser often helps to give you a lift in general, which is a good thing.
  2. Figure out what you need to help you get your emotional capital filled to the brim to help bring up your confidence level and portray a person who is at the top of their game rather than down in the dungeons because they are in a job search. Whether it is going to the gym, being part of a book club, yoga, or walking with the dog, be like Nike and “Just Do It!”
  3. Look at your resume. Have you done things over the last several months that need to be added to keep your resume up to date?  Are there additional METRICS that can be added?
  4. If your resume is in good form, have you updated it and refreshed it on the numerous websites that you have posted it on?
  5. Look over your recruiter contacts and see when the last time was that you reached out to them. Perhaps touching base again is in order now that the summer is over.
  6. Have you looked at your networking contacts and the events that you attend? Do you need to come up with a new networking plan? Please contact me if you feel that your networking is not working. I will be glad to help with some pointers.
  7. Now is the time to start anew so establish a new filing system in a way that works for you. This process can become very intense sometimes so getting yourself organized will pay huge dividends in the months to come.
  8. Have you selected the validation stories that corroborate your skills? Re-visit them and make sure that they roll off of your tongue with confidence to support your candidacy for the position you are seeking.
  9. Review the information you have about interviewing both on the telephone and in-person. Prepare your special interview prep sheet that gives you important information about the company so that you can feel more relaxed both on and off the telephone.  If you do not have one, please feel free to contact me so that I can give you information about this and other tips that my clients have found helpful. This type of
    preparation can go a long way to conveying your confidence. And why, not? It
    shows that you did your research and know how to prepare for this all important
    event. Wouldn’t you want to hire someone who knew how to research and handle
    themselves with confidence in the clutch?!!!

AND, THE 10TH thing to do to prepare for the Fall Hiring Season is ….Create an Excel spreadsheet to track the fruits of your efforts. Find whatever works for you and be faithful to it. This way, when you say to yourself, “What did I do?” you will be able to figure it out. Keep track of where your resume goes, who you are networking with, your research and all of your active and passive target work. If you are not sure what any of this means, please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to discuss the process.

Lastly, I want to try to lift your spirits by letting you know that while you may be hearing dismal information on the news, I am having clients transition, even in the dog days of summer. While they say there is turmoil in the financial services industry, I have clients getting hired.  Based upon information coming across my desk, people are interviewing and getting final interviews as I write this. Keep up the faith, use the tips provided and hang on to your dogged determination to serve you well and get you where you want to be.

Please leave me a comment and let me know if this helped you. As always, if I can help you in search, please contact me at [email protected] or by calling 203-323-9977.

Every Success –