Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Job Seekers: Action Items Once You are Employed

In the article ” The Truth You Need to Know but May Not Want to Hear” Job Search Coach Judi Adams of RightChanges reminded job seekers that their next job will not be their last, that they will be on the job market again. Ugh! For those in a job search, they surely don’t want to hear that they will be doing this again. Sadly there was no vote; this is just one of the realities of the new job market.

Is there anything you can do to make the next transition easier than this one? Yes! In this article Judi shares numerous action items a job seeker should implement starting from the first day at the new job to make that next transition easier.

Congratulations. You received and accepted a good offer. You are a mixture of excited and anxious about your first day and getting back into the swing of a job. Realize that the job search is not over. Here are the actions items you should assign yourself once you begin that new job.

1) Notify your contacts. Contact everyone who helped you in the job search, even if all the help they gave was to pray for you or listen when you needed to vent. If you gave them a marketing plan to post on their refrigerator, ask them to take it down and tear it up in celebration. Let them know about your new job, thank them for their help, and remind them that you will be there for them.

2) Maintain your contacts. If the only time you call Uncle Fred is when you are without a job, when his phone rings and caller id says it is you calling, he’ll know you are without a job. He’ll feel used and will be less likely to help you going forward. The same is true of the rest of your network. It is so easy when you get busy with the next job to let time fly without reaching out to your network. Be intentional about it. Create a schedule of how often you will reach out to each person. Closer contacts and friends will be more frequently and others will be less frequently but at least once a year.

3) Maintain your Linked In Profile.

4) Develop new contacts. Build your network. In addition to developing your network with people at your new job, build contacts within your industry and attend industry networking groups. A former job seeker said he schedules at least one networking event (industry or one-on-one) a week. Remember, you will be on the job market again.

5) Increase our marketability. Because you will be on the market again, maintain your skills. It has always been true that if the company offers you training take it. If they don’t offer you training, take it anyway – pay for it yourself. The new emphasis is that the first training you take should increase your marketability. If you have a choice between a fun or interesting course and one that increase your marketability, take the one that increase your marketability first. Then and only then should you take a course because it is interesting or fun.

6) Keep growing. At a conference in the fall of 2008, a famous author offered the following advice to a recent graduate: “Do not take 5 years getting 2 years worth of experience.” The minute you are not growing in your current position, ask to expand your responsibilities so you can continue to grow. Consider positions in other areas of the company where you can continue to add to your experiences. If it is not possible to grow in that company, move on!

7) Maintain your marketing materials. As a part of their search, good job seekers documented their previous accomplishments and training. The first day at your new company, create an Excel spreadsheet in which you should record all of your new accomplishments, training (including webinars), and the kudos you receive. Add in the particulars (the quantifiable details) so they don’t elude you. You can use this accomplishment list in two ways.

a. If you find yourself being let go, then you have the information you need to update your resume and to answer interview questions about what you did that benefited the company. You may want to e-mail a copy home periodically (once a quarter).

b. Before review time, clean up the list and hand a copy to your manager. Do not go in and say “see what I did!” Instead play it down. Say it is something you do, no big deal. Say that you thought it might help when writing your review and, if so, great, if not, no big deal. Ask your boss to let you know if you left anything off as well. If you approach it in this way, most managers will appreciate the details to help them create your review.

8) Keep up on the industry.

a. Be the first to learn the new techniques or skills so you are not left with the out of date areas of the business. Be sure management knows you have the new skills; offer to cross train your peers. This establishes you as the Subject Matter Expert (SME).

b. Keep up on the industry as well to know if the industry or your company is not faring well. It may be time to switch industries or companies. Get out before the mad rush.

9) Save! Be sure to have 8 month’s worth of salary in an accessible (liquid) account. The rule of thumb for emergency savings used to be 3 months. The market has changed and the new rule of thumb is 8-12 months.

10) Assist others. Remember when you were in the job search and you called someone and they didn’t return your call? Don’t be like them. Give of your time. Be available to meet with job seekers who want to hold informational interviews. Volunteer where you can to aid someone else’s job search. Remember you will be on the market again yourself.

You found the new job. Be sure to keep on top of your game so the next career transition, and there will be one, is not as grueling.

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