The new year looms and seems only moments away. 2011 can be your best year ever. All it takes is good planning and assessing what works and getting rid of what doesn’t. Ok, and some luck and the stars aligning. But do your part. Recognize that what you have been doing is not working or you’d have a new job or promotion. Time to revise your process and control what you can.
Organization counts. Successful executives are extremely well organized. Few things fall into cracks and they remember names and appointments. Some tools they use include OmniFocus for task tracking and organization. It’s pricey but you can use it in your job. Take a look at the functionality to get an idea of what features you might want in other products. They don’t use a spread sheet. The threads are too difficult to follow and over time, don’t reflect what you need to do. Decide on your calendar and contacts manager and use them.
A superb tool for tracking the key people in your network and thought leaders for your domain is Gist. It’s free, keeps digital litter to a minimum and provides myriad tools for organizing and optimizing your job search. They offer tutorials to get you started and I recommend you use them because there are details specific to job search which are not entirely obvious. Plus, if you have questions or comments, you can use twitter to get what you need [@gregatgist].
Another resource is Digg. If you aren’t using it to track your favorite executives, to see what they read and write, register for this free service. Scroll around to find the area where you can track what people read. It’s a great way to do research on specific companies and topics.
Stay connected. You worked hard to get contact information and amass a network. Know what each person on your contact list might find interesting. [Another good reason to use Digg. You can see examples of what they recommend.] Send them articles, links and announcements relevant to their interests. Make time to find out how you can help them. Send out non-denominational holiday greetings. Perhaps include an update on the positive progress you are making towards your career move.
Attitude is everything. Keep your spirits up by doing unexpected good deeds. Make a few unasked for introductions. Volunteer where you might meet kindred spirits. Look for opportunities to do good deeds; even something so random and easy as carrying packages for someone or complimenting a stranger lifts your spirits. Your brain chemistry changes when you go outside yourself for others. It’s a good way to keep focused on what’s important and there is no downside.
Clear your desk. Take care of all that clutter and unattended mail. Organize your finances for online payments and send your college student an unexpected check. Use the old advice, because it works: If you pick up a piece of paper, virtual or otherwise, deal with it. Don’t put it back down unless you finish with it.
Clean up your act. Send all your job search clothing to the cleaners and buy a new pair of shoes. Nothing bolsters your spirits and improves your self confidence better than looking good. Spiff up your wardrobe. The better you look the better you feel. Enjoy the splendor that is you.
Revise your resume. It hasn’t landed you the introductions and interviews you want so something needs to change. Get the closest job description to the job you want and map your resume to reflect the priorities. Your objective needs to reflect the needs of the future employer, not yours.
Rework your LinkedIn Profile. I am always shocked to see profiles for successful technology professionals that list more than one or two specialties. Target the need of your future employer and select the specialties that will fit their needs. If you have a list, they aren’t specialties, they are a laundry list. It is a marketing document, not a biography or legal document. Create the most compelling marketing piece you can to entice readers to contact you. Include your public (as in hotmail or Gmail) email address on your summary. Add your profile address to your signature.
Over 50? The one important action you can take to ward off the evil specter of agism is remove your age from your resume. It’s not on your resume, you say? Bet it is. If you begin your profile or resume with “Executive with 25 years experience” you have called attention to your age. Employers don’t hire you for your 25 years experience, they hire you for experience that is relevant to their process and needs today. Focus on what you did in those 25 years, not the passage of time: List outcomes.
Get a new head shot in business attire. Freshen up all your social networking profiles with a business headshot. You can change it back to your favorite superhero after you reach your career goal. A high energy, healthy demeanor goes a long way towards convincing people you are worth a second look.
Keep moving. Make some form of exercise part of your daily routine. It’s important to keep your body healthy. No need to list the value of exercise, you already know. But if you are determined to keep a good attitude, exercise is required. Nothing strenuous, you don’t want to hurt yourself.
Stay healthy. Stress makes you susceptible to illness. Do what you can to ward off the evil spirits. Take your vitamins and get plenty of rest. Don’t forget to drink lots of water. Use hand sanitizers constantly and wash your hands more than you think is necessary.
Practice makes perfect. Find a friend who will help you record a practice interview. Debrief and be open to suggestions. This is a major step in gaining the confidence you need to interview relax for the real thing. Listen to your answers to the hard questions to ascertain if you are offering data or spouting cliches’.
Get social. Connect with others who are looking for a similar job. Swap leads and provide introductions. If, for instance you passed on an opportunity, introduce someone else who may be a better fit. You gain the respect of all and strengthen your network. Support one another. Just don’t complain and stay away from those who do. And above all, Ignore bad news. The media make their bones reporting on the negative. The truth is, there are jobs, people are getting hired. You have the power to make it happen for yourself. Just upgrade your job search process. If you need some help, read Job Search Debugged and Networking Debugged which offer field tested advice for executives. They help you clean up your act to get the results you want. As a bonus, you can ask one question after you purchase a book.