Lots of the mums I often talk to plan to go back to work or change jobs in September. It’s a good transition point when children start pre-school or move up to primary or secondary school.
Of course you don’t want to spend your summer jobhunting. But what I find is that come September, it’s so easy get caught up in the back-to-school-frenzy. Suddenly before you know it, it’s half term and you’ve not actually got very far with your career plans.
And then you’re all cross and frustrated because you ‘wasted’ the summer.
(And that’s why my Career Confidence workshop is after half term because I know that’s what happens. When I run it in September, mums just aren’t ready yet).
So you want to feel like you’ve done something constructive and practical. So I’ve come up with 5 simple things that each take 5 minutes or less. You could do one a week over the next five weeks and give yourself a head start over the other jobhunters in September.
1. Get clear on what’s most important to you
The activity that always produces the most lightbulb moments in my workshops is exploring your core values i.e. what’s most important to you about how you live your life.
Get clear on your core values, and decision making will be SO much easier because you’ll be able to see straight away why some jobs or some employers are not a good fit for you.
2. Update your LinkedIn photo
While updating your whole LinkedIn profile might seem daunting, in just 5 minutes you can update your LinkedIn photo so that you make a better first impression.
When recruiters search for potential candidates on LinkedIn, they are more likely to look at those profiles with a photo.
Remember that your photo needs to reflects you in your work environment.
Check this article here for more tips on what makes a good LinkedIn photo.
3. Tell former work colleagues
Take 5 minutes to reach out to former work colleagues (via LinkedIn or Facebook or email) and tell them about your plans to return to work or look for a new opportunity in September. This probably won’t get immediate results (though you never know) but it gets you started with a baby step that is simple and straightforward.
Not sure what to say? Because sometimes it’s easier to edit somebody else’s email than start from scratch, here’s the wording I suggest to my clients:
“Hi Jane, I hope you’re doing well. I’m planning my return to work in September. I’d love to catch up over a coffee after the summer holidays. In the meantime, please let me know if you hear of any suitable openings at your firm or elsewhere in the City.”
4. Create a Hell Yes, Hell No list
Another popular activity with clients. In 5 minutes, create your Hell Yes, Hell No list. Get a clean sheet of paper – divide it into 3 columns. At the top of column 1, write ‘Hell Yes‘, column 2 ‘Hell No‘ and the 3rd column ‘Maybe‘.
Write down all the things you LOVE about work in the Hell Yes column. Is it working with Excel spreadsheets, talking to customers, problem-solving, being part of a team, fast pace … Think too about the environment – do you love the hustle & bustle of a busy office or do you prefer a calm atmosphere?
In the Hell No column, write down all the things you hate. Maybe it’s working with Excel spreadsheets, or talking to customers … we’re all different. What one person loves, another person hates.
Anything you’re not fussed about, goes in the Maybe column.
Is your Hell Yes list much longer? That’s ok. That’s normal.
5. Write your career history
BEFORE you dig out your CV, take 5 minutes to jot down the highlights from your career history.
For example your proudest achievement, your biggest challenge, your worst mistake (and what you learnt from it), the best employer, the things you find easiest.
Now find your CV and check that these highlights are reflected in your CV.
You only need 5 minutes
I have deliberately chosen 5 things that you can do in 5 minutes. Now you may well find that you take more than 5 minutes over each one.
5 minutes on your values, your LinkedIn photo, reaching out to former work colleagues, your Hell Yes, Hell No list and your career history will give you solid foundation to start to plan your return to work in September.
p.s. If this has made you realise you could do with some hands-on help, now or in September, let’s talk. And if you need more help than I can give you in a 15 minute conversation, we can talk about that too.