There’s no better time than now to slow down, take a breath and reflect on the accomplishments and shortcomings of the past year. The last month of the year is also the perfect opportunity to begin thinking about goals and aspirations for 2023 and beyond.
For talent in transition, whether by their own choice or their employer’s, this period of self-examination has suddenly become more urgent. Wherever you are in your career, here is some practical advice to help make the most of a job search:
Re-examine what’s important to you right now.
Is it flexibility? Stability? Or salary? Is it remote work or a job that requires you to be in the office? Is it a challenging position that will push you to learn new skills? Clarifying what’s important is a critical first step. If you’re still in a job, journal every day and note these two things: What gave you energy? And what left you feeling exhausted?
Over the course of the next several weeks, you’ll see patterns emerge that will help define the elements you should seek in a new opportunity. Once you find those patterns, find ways to engage with the topics or priorities of interest by searching for YouTube channels, podcast series, TikTok users, books, or articles that dive deeper. Reputable influencers with credible experience could be worth following or engaging with going forward.
1. Reconnect with old friends and make new ones.
The holidays are a great excuse to reach out and schedule time with people you know and those you’d like to get to know. Ask them what they have been up to, what they enjoy about their current role and any career advice they might have.
For finding and making new connections, there are plenty of options now to cultivate new networks, such as Discord communities, Slack communities, or mentorship services. If you find someone in a position or company you are interested in, there is no loss in reaching out and asking for a virtual coffee or monthly mentorship chat going into the new year.
Be ready to share your own reflections and ask for their perspective on how you might navigate your new interests or your next move.
2. Learn new skills.
If you find yourself out of a job at the moment, dive back into learning. New knowledge and abilities can complement your current skill set and help you open new doors.
There are plenty of free and affordable online courses and programs that teach job skills. Some even award badges and certificates for completing them. Spreading the holiday spirit through volunteering can also be a way to develop a wide range of the business skills.
Whether you take classes in-person or online or volunteer your time, you might meet folks who can help you broaden your network.
3. Pay attention to the local and national job markets.
It might be time to be flexible and consider the industries that are hiring and the roles that are available.
The tech, media and financial services industries have grown a lot more competitive for job seekers in the latter part of 2022. But several other fields — architecture, real estate, government, construction and the food and beverage industries, to name several — have seen strong growth in job postings in recent months. Stay flexible: it could be that the role you want exists in an industry you’ve never considered (for instance, lots of non-tech fields hire tech roles!).
Ask yourself how you might apply your skills or strengths to these potential new roles. Where would your learning curve be? How might you start to address that now?
4. Do it again next year.
A year from now, whether you’re about to launch a job search or are content in your current role, it’s still a good idea to take time to reflect, review and recharge for the next year.
Ask yourself these questions annually: What’s important to you in your work? Are there people you want to meet or reconnect with? Are there skills you’d like to learn? What are the job markets looking like? An honest assessment of your interests and priorities will help you recommit to your current career or begin the process of finding something new.