Posts Tagged ‘Free Time’

Fewer college grads have jobs than at any other time in recent memory—a report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers annual student survey said that 20 percent of 2009 college graduates who applied for a job actually have one.  So, what should the unfortunate 80% do?

How about a post-graduate year doing some combination of the following (not just one, how about all):

  • Spend twenty hours a week running a project for a non-profit.
  • Teach yourself Java, HTML, Flash, PHP and SQL. Not a little, but mastery. [Clarification: I know you can’t become a master programmer of all these in a year. I used the word mastery to distinguish it from ‘familiarity’ which is what you get from one of those Dummies type books. I would hope you could write code that solves problems, works and is reasonably clear, not that you can program well enough to work for Joel Spolsky. Sorry if I ruffled feathers.]
  • Volunteer to coach or assistant coach a kids sports team.
  • Start, run and grow an online community.
  • Give a speech a week to local organizations.
  • Write a regular newsletter or blog about an industry you care about.
  • Learn a foreign language fluently.
  • Write three detailed business plans for projects in the industry you care about.
  • Self-publish a book.
  • Run a marathon.

If you wake up every morning at 6, give up TV and treat this list like a job, you’ll have no trouble accomplishing everything on it. Everything! When you do, what happens to your job prospects?

(Source: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/06/graduate-school-for-unemployed-college-students.html)

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by Marcus Buckingham for The View
April 14th, 2009

Losing one’s job is never easy. Act your way into a new way of thinking. Don’t get down, get a plan.

1. Financial assessment
Begin by doing a thorough review of your current financial situation:

What are your monthly necessities? (rent, utilities, food etc..)
What is the amount that you will need to cover these necessities?
What choices do you have to make to ensure that you cover your necessities for at least three months?
What costs can you reduce immediately?

Hoard your cash. Look for opportunities to save money: eat at home, downgrade cable packages, buy less expensive brands, borrow books and movies from the library, consolidate debt into one low interest payment- there are myriad money saving tips – seek them out and apply them.

2. Self-assessment
Take this time to get really clear on what you want your next career step to be.

What are your strengths?
What are the activities that you want to be responsible for in your next job? What have you always (maybe secretly?) wanted to do?
What aspects of your previous jobs have you loved? Why?
What will you never do again?

Give yourself a chance to recharge and re-evaluate what you want to do in life and how you can best contribute. It can help a great deal to discuss this with someone who is objective: a coach, outplacement counselor, that friend who always listens without imposing their opinions.


3. Update your resume
Ensure your resume includes all relevant experiences and education, and then customize it for each specific job that you are applying for. Remember:

Keep it simple. Flooding your resume with inane details is distracting.
Highlight relevant experiences and describe them in quantifiable terms. Be specific about the results you have achieved and the contributions you have made to the business.
Incorporate Company Terminology from the job posting into your resume. You raise your chances of having your resume noticed when you demonstrate that you know the organization’s internal lingo.

Once you have updated your resume, connect with your references and let them know that you are job-searching. Only include those references that you are confident will give you a favorable review. If you’re unsure, ask them.

4. Hire yourself as a headhunter
You do have a job. You’ve just hired yourself as a full-time headhunter. Take the position seriously. This is a 9-5 job with daily objectives and weekly goals. That includes celebrating your successes with meaningful rewards. And, by the way, rejection is one of those successes. Use the interviewing process as a way to gain valuable information:

What did you learn from the interview?
What feedback did the recruiter give you for what you did well?
What feedback did he/she give you for doing better the next time around?
What did he/she say was missing?

Be Curious. This is your opportunity to learn valuable information about how people perceive you. If they don’t give you any tips, ask for some. This feedback will help improve future performance.

5. Network
It is part of your headhunting role but important enough to single out on its own. Now is not the time to feel sorry for yourself, or let pride get in the way of letting people around you know that you are looking for a new position. Instead:

Frame Your Situation Positively: When networking, you don’t need to share the sordid details of how you lost your job. You can say: “I am searching for a career that is going to allow me to contribute my best. I am letting you know because I trust you and I could use your help in making helpful connections. Here is my resume.” This will yield better results than: “Sigh. I lost my job. Do you know anyone who’s looking for people?”

Keep all channels open: Stay in touch with colleagues (particularly your manager) in your former organization as well as those who also lost their jobs. Re-hire opportunities may be more readily offered to those who’ve maintained contact, and people who’ve moved on could help you land a role at their new place of work.

6. Get your mindset right
Having a confident mental attitude serves one immensely in the process of finding a new role. This is not just about thinking positively, this is about acting positively. Part of your weekly goals should include removing things that you’ve been tolerating in your life that have added to your stress.

What are the 3 things you have been tolerating in your life?
What would have to happen to ‘fix’ these tolerances?
How would it make you feel to address them?

Whatever you’ve been putting off in other areas of your life because you’re “too busy working”- tackle it now. Not only will you feel productive when you tick these things off your list – it will also help reduce your stress. So, if every time you’ve stepped into your garage for the past seven years you’ve thought to yourself “I’ve got to get this place organized,” get to it. If you’ve been planning that backyard garden, start digging.


7. Expand your skills
Now is a great time to build your competency. What are the activities that you have a natural penchant for and interest in but no formal training? How about finally finishing your degree, learning a second language, honing an area of strength? Future employers will value the investment that you made in enhancing yourself enormously.

8. Take a platform job
There is no shame in taking on a job that helps you pay the bills even if it’s not your ideal role or if it pays you less than previous positions. You are doing what it takes to take care of yourself and your family. No matter what role you are in, frame it as an opportunity to learn new skills, hone existing talents, meet and network with new people. There are a lot of benefits to taking a platform job while you continue the search for your ideal role.

9. Volunteer
Many organizations understand when a person has been out of work following a lay-off, particularly during times like these. They do not understand when a person has nothing concrete to show for that time. On top of contributing to your community, volunteering is a great way to demonstrate that you’ve shown initiative and not let your skills atrophy while you searched for gainful employment. Volunteering is also a very effective networking tool. You may meet a fellow volunteer who will be so impressed with your abilities they’ll offer you work with their organization.

(Note: if you are receiving unemployment benefits, be clear whether volunteering impacts your eligibility. You may be considered “unavailable to work” on days when you’re volunteering so you have to be very clear about when you will be available.)

10. Start your business.
Have you had an idea for a business that you’ve been working away on but never had the time to fully formalize? There are myriad free resources for individuals who want to start their own business and now you have the time to investigate and take advantage.

(SOURCE: http://marcusbuckingham.com/site/about_us/press_articles/?p=173)

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