Dear Coach Joan: Career Advice
As counter intuitive as it might sound, summer is a great time to add sizzle, not only to your barbecue, but to your career! Many people miss out on this fabulous season of opportunity because they think everyone is on vacation.
Big mistake. Everyone is not on vacation, but many people are more relaxed. It’s not only the warmer weather, and the children out of school, but for many businesses and organizations it is the slow season.
And because it is a slower season, and the workload may very well be lighter, there can be a feeling of having more time. This openness can translate into ample opportunity for you, a person who is looking to get ahead and create career advancement:
- AT YOUR CURRENT EMPLOYER: This is the time to reach out to others in your company to find out about new plans and new openings. Reach both laterally and up your organization to find people to meet with face to face. Do your homework and find out what they and their teams are up to. Let them know what you’re doing, some key accomplishments and the skills you have available. Let them know how you’d like to advance. Build relationships for your future. Prepare intelligent and probing questions.
- INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS: As you probably know, informational interviews are designed for you to ask questions, but not ask for a job. It’s where you have researched and determined that they or their company is of interest to you, and you want to learn more. You typically contact an individual and ask for 20-30 minutes to meet for the purpose of learning more about them, their company and or their industry. You typically provide your background to them as well. It is not appropriate to ask for a job in an informational interview. But sometimes these informational interviews lead to career opportunities, especially if you come well prepared and make a good impression.
- PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS – Summer is the perfect time to attend professional meetings in your industry. Attendance is typically lower than at other times of the year, so there is more opportunity to talk to the speakers, organizers and leaders. Again, do some research to find out exactly who will be there, and prepare some excellent questions and or comments. I’ve had many clients create new work opportunities this way.
- APPLY FOR NEW POSITIONS: Again, this is a more relaxed season and many people do not see it as a season for career focus. Be different. Be opportunistic! If the competition is less stiff, you have more chances of standing out and succeeding.
Yes readers, I hope you are having lots of summer fun, and lots of sizzling times. But I do encourage you to mix some career efforts in with the sunscreen.
Onward in your career advancement,