Whether you're considering a job change within your own field, or a major shift to a new career, you'll be faced with the need for new time management SKILLS. And most likely you'll need a new system of organizing your life as well as your paperwork.
GO WITH THE FLOW
You've learned skills that help you succeed in a particular career or organization. And organizations usually operate like football teams: you're rewarded for being in the right place at the right time, READY to receive the ball. Transitions operate more like pickup basketball games: you're rewarded for scrambling and picking up on SIGNALS that change as you play. You can't plan your life as carefully as you might like. Don't even try.
SET A REALISTIC SCHEDULE
Organizing for a job search means building FLEXIBILITY into your plans, as well as making tough decisions about unreasonable demands. For example, last week you scheduled an appointment with a career coach; an hour before the session, you're invited to an interview that takes place at exactly the same time. What do you do? Schedule appointments outside typical interview times. Ask your coach if she offers a plan that does not require fixed appointments. Or ask yourself, "Do I want to work with people who demand my presence on one hour's notice?"
BE CAREFUL ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS
Never, ever use your employer's EMAIL system to discuss your career. Obvious? Every day I receive messages, through corporate accounts, from unhappy employees who don't stop to think that their every word could be monitored. Get a FREE account on yahoo.com or hotmail.com, or purchase an account at a local Internet Service Provider. Also, avoid the temptation to spill your feelings to an open discussion list. Hiring your own consultant may cost more than presenting your dilemma to strangers on a message board, but it just might save your job. And free advice generally is worth what you've paid.
OBSERVE THE RULES OF ETIQUETTE
Write or email THANK YOU notes to everyone you encounter, whether networking or interviewing. Your thank you file becomes your contact RECORD. Include dates and times and consider writing a brief note to yourself at the bottom of each one. Keep your records at home -- not in your office.
SET GOALS OF ACTIONS -- NOT OUTCOMES
Often clients begin, "I want a new job in six weeks." Better to decide, "My goal is to send out twenty queries that lead to five good interviews." Or, "I will add five new people to my network each week for the next six weeks." TRACK your activities. If your actions do not lead to outcomes, consult a coach or career counselor. You may be spinning wheels -- or you may be doing very well, given the realities of your target market.
Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D. helps independent professionals who want to get more clients and more sales online. Visit www.MakeWebsiteProfits.com for your FREE download: 7 Secrets of Websites That Really Attract Clients."
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