In this period - the week of limbo between Christmas and New Year's - it is sorely tempting to either lay back and avoid doing anything towards job seeking (because - let's face it - very few people are available) or to dive head-first into job search tasks (with a high level of frustration because - let's face it - very little actually gets done. For me this is a good in-between period - a period to start planning, play catch-up, and hopefully, put myself in a stronger frame of mind to engage job seeking head-on in the coming year.
Yes, this is one of those "how to make New Year's Resolutions" posts...but I'm going to look at it through a slightly different prism. Part of it is based on my own experience: I have tended to make high plans that were open....but with no realistic sense of accomplishment. It was like the old Steve Martin joke, "I want to be the All-Being, Master of Time, Space, and Dimension...and I want to go to Europe." Now, although I have some freelance work coming in, I will need to engage in some decision making - do I move towards entrepreneurism and start a business? (Or even possibly stay freelance without thinking about formalizing a business structure?) Do I focus on a traditional 9 to 5 job? That's part of the strategy of making resolutions - performing an inventory of what I want, and where I wish to go. Creating resolutions that fit in with my desires, wants, and needs are more likely to be maintained throughout the year.
Thankfully, I have also begun adapting the use of SMART Criteria into my goal planning. Yes, it does sound like a great deal of work....but making sure my goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Specific gives me a stronger feeling of confidence that I can attain my goals.
Although I don't really make New Year's Resolutions per se, here are some of my professional goals for 2011
- Attend at least two networking events per month - I have fallen a little off this schedule (especially with a night/weekend work assignment); all this means is that I will need to focus on events during the day, events on my evenings off, and most importantly....
- Ping one or two of my current connections per week to reconnect - even if it's just a simple hi, how-are-you-doing e-mail, if I am connected with a large number of people via my Linked In profile....it might not be a bad idea for me to regularly touch base.
- Determine an appropriate number of leads to follow per week - normally, I try to initiate job applications with five leads per week. If I'm looking to include freelance opportunities (and maintain a balance), I need to determine whether that number needs to be higher or lower....and stick to it.
- Revise my current job search materials and social media profiles - Currently, just finished updating my resume, will be modifying my Linked in profile, and making a slight structural change to my current professional website.
- Explore the possibility of work in key areas of interest - Given that I'm quite a comic/pop culture fan, I can begin cultivating/expanding my contacts in that area to locate opportunities. Thankfully, I'll also be taking a larger role as organizer for Chicago Net Tuesday, which will help me expand my current non-profit/social good networking base.
Thankfully, I'm able - and motivated enough - to be able to start modifying my habits in the hopes of maintaining these resolutions throughout 2012. I'm grateful for the chance to be able to freelance, but I also want to start thinking of my career less as an accident of chance and more the result of thoughtful planning.
But what are your New Year's Resolutions for 2012? Do you have suggestions for job search success? Please feel free to leave them in the comments.
Otherwise, thanks for reading, and have a happy and safe New Year!