As Summer 2018 winds down and Fall approaches, those of you who are seeking promotions, better jobs, or new opportunities, Fall 2018 is a great time to be looking. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the total number of U.S. job openings has increased to 6.7 million and the nation’s unemployment rate has dipped to 3.9%, an 18-year low.
All of this is good news for American jobseekers, as well as those hoping to negotiate promotions, better salaries, or improved employment terms and benefits. A “talent-based” market is always the best time to pursue opportunities, and the Fall season represents an a seasonal flurry of hiring activity. Although Fall doesn’t officially begin until Saturday, September 22, now is the time to “Get Your Career in Gear!”
Those of us in the careers industry know that the job search landscape takes a nosedive each year from Thanksgiving through New Years’, so there is really only a brief 10-week Fall seasonal window to pursue job opportunities. In fact, for a variety of budgetary and tax considerations, many companies seriously amp up hiring in September & October.
Particularly in New Orleans, the Fall season is the peak of business activity… Fall is when the weather is the best, the students (Tulane, Xavier, Loyola, Dillard, UNO, SUNO, Holy Cross) are back in town, the New Orleans Saints NFL team is playing in the Superdome, the Hospitality & Restaurant sector is in full swing, and the largest conventions come to town. The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center boasts 1.1 million sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space, is the 6th largest convention facility in the nation, ranking in the country’s Top 10 of facilities that hold the most conventions and tradeshows. So, here we are, with Back-to-School & Football Season underway… This is the perfect time to launch your Fall 2018 Career Improvement Plan! What can you be doing right now that will position you to hit the ground running as we approach 2019?
Step #1 – Get a Career Coach & Get a Plan
Any time you are embarking on a job search or career enhancement process, you should generate a brief outline with a plan showing the steps you intend to take, the resources you will need to expend, a timeline for each step, and the results you can reasonably expect to yield. You can also sign up for seminars and training. This is how career coaches approach each client, and you should too.
Step #2 – Seriously Polish Your Resume
Have you seen today’s first-class resumes? Boring, unattractive, and old-fashioned resumes that were O.K. in the ’90s won’t cut it today. How up-to-date is your resume? Does it include your 2017-2018 projects and activities? Remember, decision-makers have what is called a “Recency Bias”… otherwise known as “What have you done for me lately?” Has it been brought up the latest standards for eye appeal, digital compatibility, ATS compliance, content level, correct length, keyword inclusion, and formatting? When getting it critiqued and reviewed, beware of the “predatory critique” operations out there (those who critique resumes online and trash even the best resumes to get your business). Only have your resume critiqued by someone that you know you can trust.
Step #3 – Dust Off Your Old LinkedIn Profile for an Enhancement & Enlarge Your LinkedIn Network
LinkedIn profiles are also rapidly gaining strength as recruiter magnets. However, not only recruiters, but other hiring staff and search panels will absolutely browse your LinkedIn profile even when they have your resume in hand. To be top drawer, your LinkedIn profile should have an attractive headshot, tons of graphics & photos, hard-hitting content, and first-level formatting. When trying to expand your LinkedIn Connections and Network, understand that Fall is a great time to reach out. Since LinkedIn is the #1 site for recruiters and hiring managers, that should be your focus. Do you have 400 1st-level connections? Make it 500 or thousands (I have 22,000).
Step #4 – Step Up Your Game & Engage Actively with Others
Fall, with its football season, end of summer heat, back-to-school activities, and pre-holiday flurry of energy, is the perfect time to reach out and engage others digitally and at in-person events. Write a brief article on a subject in your wheelhouse, post it to LinkedIn or other social media sites and ask others to share it. Set up a few coffee or lunch sessions with someone highly respected in your field. Watch the top job boards and specialty sites to see new job postings for your industry. Fall is the perfect time to volunteer for at a nonprofit or school.
Grant Cooper won the national Career Directors International President’s Award (CDI National Conference, Orlando, FL).
Grant Cooper, founder of Strategic Resumes & Career Coaching, has appeared as a career expert on CBS, ABC & FOX, has published more than 300 media and journal articles, teaches seminars at major industry conferences, and serves as a judge for national resume writing competitions.
Grant has assisted the U.S. Air Force, Kinko’s, the Louisiana Dept. of Labor, the NFL, the NBA, as well as universities, regional banks, medical centers, celebrities, nonprofits, and corporations. Grant’s clients land positions at Fortune 500 firms.
Email Grant at firstname.lastname@example.org