by Jennifer Hargreaves
If you are thinking about getting back to work in the fall, there are a few things you can work on over the summer to build momentum and confidence for launching your search when the kids go back to school in September.
1. Define your own version of success
Whether you are returning from a career break or just looking for a change, it is important to define what success looks like for you. It is different for everyone and it is probably different for you now then it was 5 or 10 years ago.
The first section of our Negotiating Flexibility Workbook offers some guiding questions to get you started. If you need a bit more help, I would highly recommend signing up for the Transition Bootcamp. It is a 5-week virtual program with a great track record of success and is very reasonably priced (tellent members also get a 25% discount).
Time, money and effort can be wasted pursuing something that you may not even want to do any more or that is no longer a good fit (trust me, I’ve wasted that time and money).
If you are returning from an extended career break you might consider up skilling or participating in an initiative such as the Rotman Back to Work program. Not only will it build confidence in your abilities (which are still there!), it will provide a low-pressure environment for building your network.
2. Identify the top three most important employer traits and research which companies offer them.
In keeping with the first bullet, knowing what is most important to you when looking for employer fit will be critical to who you target and will guide your job search strategy. A recent study by PwC determined that for experienced women it was 1) a culture of flexibility and balance, 2) career growth & opportunity and, 3) competitive wages.
Do your research. Beyond company websites, you can look at the below resources to provide an independent perspective on the company culture. You can also ask our community on facebook or talk to me directly. I often get feedback from our members and from speaking directly with hiring managers at Canadian companies.
3. Update your LinkedIn profile & develop your resume strategy
If you haven’t done this yet, you must. Your LinkedIn profile has now become your first impression, your business card. What does it say about you? There are some great free resources out there on how to build your personal brand and optimize your profile for job hunting. Holly Hagan from It’s Personal Branding runs a LinkedIn Workshop and there are other resources out there to help you get this first impression right.
This step is relevant whether you are re-entering the workforce or moving to another role. Having an updated and strategic profile will help you network and attract employers.
Knowing what you want and who you are targeting will also help you to develop your resume strategy. Remember that the employer is the customer, so think about the information you need to give them in order for them to make the purchase. Which business problem can you solve for them? This involves research and listening. We did a live stream on Building your Resume strategy with tips on content, format and how to explain employment gaps.
It is also worthwhile to double-check what, if any, publicly viewable information is available by doing a Google search on your name. It may be time to update your privacy settings!
4. Network, network, network
The old adage “it’s not what you know but who you know” is particularly relevant in this job market. Start small and build. Tap into your friends, family and community. Summer barbeques are a great place to start. And remember the key to successful networking and your objective should be to build a relationship, not ask for a handout. Be of service first, listen for cues and propose solutions.
Tap into the tellent community on facebook. Use this group over 300+ professional women to help you get started. We know what you’re going through. We have been there or are there.
If you struggle to get out to meet people in person, here are a few tips on building your network virtually.
Right! That should keep you busy(ier) this summer! There is no time like the present and the hardest part of the process is taking the first step and committing to it. You can do it. We are here to support you!