Back to School, Back to the Job Search

  • Posted by: Chaloner

It’s that time of year: the winds grow cooler, food gets pumpkin flavoring, and kids all over don backpacks and new outfits as they begin a new year at school. Even if you are no longer a student, that rhythm is engrained in us, I think, and this feels like a natural moment to gear up, refocus and recommit. How can you ride this new year momentum for your job search?

Get your supplies in order.
Update your business card and dust off your resume. Certainly, this is a time to make sure all of the information on those documents is current, but also consider trying a new format or sequencing. Send your resume around to a few people who know you well and ask if it captures the most important parts of your experience. Perhaps send it to a few people you don’t know as well to see what they learn from it. You can also work to streamline your LinkedIn profile and expand your digital presence. For more tips on how to make the best use of LinkedIn, see here.

Reconnect with old friends, make new ones.

This is a natural opportunity to reach out to professional acquaintances and reconnect. Many organizations are ramping up as they think towards the new year and come back to fuller work weeks and a faster pace. It is a good time to get your name back out there and also to invest in some new professional relationships. Take advantage of the many networking events that come around in autumn and build some new bridges.

Go to class.
Is there a certain skill you want to develop? Perhaps there’s some software or a platform you could learn that would make you a more valuable candidate and open up more opportunities. With the semester just beginning at local colleges and a wide offering of courses available online, this is a great time to sign up to learn something new.

Listen to good teaching.
A school setting inherently provides you with instruction and guidance, but in the professional world we must seek that out for ourselves. Transitions are an especially important time to lean on your mentors. “In all likelihood, you’d benefit from having more than one developer,” says Kathy Kram, author of Mentoring at Work. “It’s that handful of people who you can go to for advice and who you trust to have your best interests in mind.” Who are those trusted individuals in your sphere? Set up some coffee dates or phone calls, and seek their counsel as you renew your search.

Start with an “A”.
I remember a teacher who told us we all started with an “A” at the beginning of the year and it was up to us whether we held onto it or not. I think the same is true for most candidates in the eyes of hiring managers and recruiters. We want you to be the perfect fit! Be self-confident as you submit your resume, attend interviews and seek out opportunities. If your confidence has been deterred by a long search, embrace this chance for a new beginning and believe that you make the grade.

How will you ride the back-to-school wave and get a fresh start on your job search? Don’t discount the power of the First Day of School outfit. That may be the perfect place to begin!