By Caroline M.L. Potter
With the end of the year approaching, don't wait until it's too late to kick your career into gear. We asked top career and job search experts what you can be doing to excel professionally in the autumn job search season.
Career strategist Daisy Swan says folks should focus on the here and now, and what's working as opposed to what isn't. "I think right now everyone is on the precipice of activity, of reengagement, and instead of just jumping in blindly, I think it's an important time to really take stock of the things that are working well and going right, because it has been a difficult time," she says.
Many people may be feeling depleted -- financially, physically and emotionally -- so if there's any nourishment and taking-stock that needs to be done, this is the time to do it, Swan says. "Have gratitude for things that are working, and have faith that next year is going to be a better year," she says.
John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, says, "This is the most risky time for layoffs -- and you might be in a position this fall where it's a make-or-break time at work."
Your job is to convince your employer to keep you for the long term, Challenger says. "Look for ways to make yourself indispensable," he says. "Diversify your skills and responsibilities, and take on tasks that nobody else can do to ensure that you are relied on." Putting in some extra time is helpful -- but only if your boss knows you're doing so. Also, it's never a bad idea to "fly the company flag during the tough times," he says. "Your boss will appreciate a positive, can-do attitude."
Get in Gear
Career coach Deborah Brown-Volkman reminds workers that September to Thanksgiving is hiring season. "It's time for people to regroup, reenergize and refocus," she says. "This is the time of year to put in that extra energy and get your job search back into gear."
Not ready for a new job this year? If you want one next year, career coach Hallie Crawford says you should begin searching today. "Finding a new job is a process that can take months, so if you're unhappy or ready to make a change, start looking now," she says. "And remember that if employers are going to need to hire people for the new year, they'll be scouting for that talent months ahead of time."
And while the less-than-booming economy should prompt you to be aggressive, Crawford adds that you should be positive and upbeat. "If you're down or seem desperate, it'll be that much harder to land a job," she says. "Don't go there. Instead, just assume you'll get a job."
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