As I write this the night before Christmas Eve 2020, I’m listening to the mellifluous tones of Nat King Cole singing “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” and thinking of how different things were just 12 months ago.
This time last year I flew from London to Sydney after spending 5 weeks with my daughter and her husband who live in London. During that time I welcomed the birth of my beautiful grandson.
Fast forward one year and what we took for granted – being with family whenever we wish, international and local travel, going to restaurants, group celebrations, being surrounded by people without feeling wary of every cough and sneeze, dancing, singing and simply ‘being’ – has completely changed.
As a career coach working with organisations going through change, and supporting professionals who have experienced redundancies, a phrase often used is “The Only Constant is Change”, however, who would have thought that change in 2020 would have resulted in this global pandemic and the resulting fallout.
There have been so many very sad stories, and there have been incredible stories of courage, grit and love too. In this article I want to focus on the positive, the hope, and the practical actions we can take to make 2021 a better year for ourselves and each other.
Before I provide practical actions that will help you, as a job seeker, to create a new year that brings career success, I’d like you to think of the good things that have happened this year and share them in the comments below to provide hope, positivity and encouragement to all who could do with a boost this time of year. (As I type this, due to another Covid outbreak, all on the Northern Beaches of Sydney are anxiously awaiting the decision from the NSW government on whether Christmas family celebrations with those outside of the local area will be permitted.)
Even if we are in lockdown over the holiday season, job seekers have a choice as to what is best to do. To take a break, clear your head, and focus on your physical and mental health and kickstart the job search campaign in the new year, or combine these essential self-care measures with a combination of job search preparation activities so you will hit the ground running in 2021.
Here are practical suggestions on what you can do to can make this holiday season one that works for you and for your career.
Many of my clients who are looking for a new job have asked me “Should I stop looking for a job during this period or should I keep looking?” Even though there are fewer open roles at this time of year, due to the season and also due to Covid-19, the hiring process has NOT completely ground to a halt.
Let’s take a quick look at the number of jobs currently advertised as open on LinkedIn
And at the time of writing, there are 126,438 open jobs currently advertised on Seek in Australia.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in November 2020 in Australia the seasonally adjusted unemployment, participation and employment rate estimates are:
- Unemployment rate decreased to 6.8%.
- Participation rate increased to 66.1%.
- Employment increased to 12,860,700.
So you could choose to take a leave pass for the holidays, relax and reset, or you could choose to keep the momentum going. The most important thing to remember is to use your time and focus your efforts on reaping the highest benefit.
Maybe taking a well-deserved break will be just what’s required to put you in the right frame of mind to hit the job search process again in the New Year.
If you prefer to keep going, here are my 5 suggestions to support you through the holiday season:
- Find Accountability Buddies
Make contact with other job seekers and set up an accountability group to keep you motivated. As you are on the same mission and will experience a similar emotional roller coaster during the job hunt process, supporting each other is empowering – and you’ll make new friends along the way.
Search on LinkedIn using the hashtag #seekingemployment as a start when looking for like-minded professionals on this platform.
Join my Get Stuff Done Accountability Group – I’m there to support and encourage you to reach your goals.
- Work on Your Personal Brand
Take the time to revamp your LinkedIn profile by making sure that you craft your About section to project you into your desired direction. Use the key words that will pop up in a LinkedIn search by recruiters or potential hiring managers for what you are seeking.
My clients find that once they optimise their LinkedIn profiles for search, their views increase dramatically and they receive more approaches from head-hunters. Listen to my Podcast episode on the Top 3 Tips for a Stand Out LinkedIn Profile.
For in depth support to get your LinkedIn profile up to speed and how to leverage LinkedIn for career success this Online Program will help (apply this code to get a special price: MAKEMYDAY)
- Prepare for Virtual Interviews
Video conferencing and virtual interviews were commonplace in 2020 due to Covid-19. Even after the world gets on top of this pandemic, I believe that virtual interviews will become the norm rather than the exception as it will help to keep costs down for some companies.
Use the holiday period to practice your interview technique by practicing recording yourself and analysing your body language, tone of voice and the way to respond to specific questions.
Create a space with good lighting and acoustics for a video interview and play around with virtual background feature that platforms such a Zoom provide. Have some fun with it so that you feel comfortable with the technology before your next job interview.
LinkedIn provides an excellent way to practice with their Interview Prep feature. Find it by clicking on the ‘Jobs’ tab at the top of your profile and select ‘Interview Prep’.
- Learn a New Skill or Upgrade Your Existing Skills
Whether it’s a course on presentation skills, leadership skills, communication skills, finding your life’s purpose, resume or interview skills, photography, writing, Microsoft Office applications, web design, etc., there is an online course that will open up a world of possibilities for you. If nothing else, it will be interesting to learn something new!
LinkedIn has the LinkedIn Learning platform that makes this easy and has a number of free courses during Covid to help all job seekers.
Boost your job search knowledge by reading career transition books such as Navigating Career Crossroads so that you are well prepared to market yourself effectively when 2021 arrives.
- Be Mindful, Meditate and Boost Your Confidence
One way to boost your self confidence is to quieten your mind, focus inwards and become aware of your Self and your breath. Acknowledge who you are and that you take an important role in world just by being you.
When times are tough, we tend to forget the power of our thoughts – and we feel a little lost, uncertain and confused. To get you back on track, I have created two 10-minute meditations to help you to focus, breathe and become mindful of the power you have within you to create the life and career you deserve. Listen to them here
What will you focus on in the next couple of weeks? If you have suggestions on what will work for you, please share it in the comments below. If you have a question on career transition, feel free to ask below too.
My warmest Christmas greetings to you and I thank you for subscribing to my newsletter on LinkedIn – I value your support and interest very much.
If you need more support, or would like to download any of my free career support resources, please visit www.janejacksoncoach.com