I love the spring time ! However, if you are a Houston resident I am not sure that spring has not already sprung. Did we skip the winter season entirely? Our winter consisted of a few days that were 40 degrees and winter showers – not much of a winter! Normally, when I think of spring, I think of spring cleaning the house, getting rid of clothes that I have not worn in three months or longer, putting away fall and winter clothing (not much to worry about there), donating books that I promise myself I am going to read and never get around to it, tackling those stored boxes in the attic and the list goes on and on.
Spring is not only a time to tackle those unwanted household projects but a time for reflection, renewal and replenishing. How can you apply the three R’s (reflection, renewal, and replenishing) to enhancing your job portfolio?
Tackle the most difficult chore first by taking stock of where you are professionally. Ask yourself if you are on the right path. Do you enjoy going to work every day? Is it just a paycheck to you? Are you earning enough to meet your needs and save for the future? These are some really tough questions that are paramount as you reflect on where you are and where you want to be.
The sooner you can establish that you are a serious candidate on paper, the more time hiring managers will spend on your application. And what about that cover letter? An original, persuasive cover letter reflects your understanding of what the employer wants and how you are uniquely able to fill those needs.
While it’s helpful to follow a structure, you should write a new cover letter and tweak your resume specifically for each organization and position that you’re applying for. Don’t go generic!
Neither your cover letter nor your resume is your autobiography. When a hiring manager reads your application, they simply want to know the answer to three questions:
1) Can you do the job?
2) Will you do the job?
3) Will you fit into the culture of the organization?
Next, review your resume. Employers look at a resume for an average of 10 seconds. Always remember that employers are looking for people to solve problems. Whenever possible, use numbers to document your performance success. Instead of saying, “Managed a team,” say, “Managed a team of three employees who had a 100% client-retention rate over two years.” Also, remember to include keywords mentioned in the job description and relate them to your skills and background.
Do you have an online presence? Reset your settings so prospective employers can’t see your personal updates and photos or only post information that presents you in a positive and professional manner. Consider adding a LinkedIn profile to your online presence!
Are you networking? Revitalize this important job search tool by networking both inside and outside of your organization. The best time to network is when you’re not actively searching for a job. Consider getting involved with an alumni organization, a charitable organization, a professional association, a book club, etc. The goal is to widen your networking circle as much as possible!
The hiring process is just that—a process—which means you should be looking for opportunities at least a couple months ahead of when you’d like to start a new role. “Businesses looking to hire professional workers before fall often do so [in the spring], before key decision makers start rotating out for summer vacation,” according to John Rossheim of Monster.com.
Out with the old, and in with the new! Spring is a great time to reflect, renew, and replenish your job search portfolio.
Thelisa Lavergne is a member of the Regional (Texas Gulf Coast) Navigator team for Workforce Solutions. She specializes in providing training and education to the Gulf Coast community, career staff offices, and employers in assisting individuals with disabilities. She brings with her over 10 years of experience and expertise working in the nonprofit industry serving Houston’s disadvantaged community; individuals and families experiencing homelessness, victims of domestic abuse, and individuals and families experiencing hunger. However, her greatest contribution to Workforce Solutions is her compassion, commitment, and dedication to serving others. She holds a M.A. in Organizational Management, a B.S. in Training and Development, B.S. in Counseling, and a Certification as a Personal Fitness Trainer.