We have all become very accepting of the fact that ‘nothing happens’ in July and August, and it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The UK is becoming more like Greece, France and Spain each year (we even had the weather this year!) in that not a lot seems to happen, particularly when you are looking for your next career move.
So let’s turn it upside down; what can you do as these slower months come to an end that will help you find your next career opportunity?
There is the upside that during times when the pressure is off a little, people tend to be more open to having a chat, meeting for a coffee and considering ideas. That actually makes it the crucial time for you to be networking, to meet old colleagues and bosses and to consider which businesses in your sector should be hiring you because of your unique skills or ability to add value quickly (maybe a competitor to your last business…?).
When networking with the next career opportunity in mind, there are a few handy tips to consider:
- Have an elevator speech ready, i.e. a mini commercial about yourself – where have you been, what were you responsible for and what have you achieved. The more specific you are, the more memorable you’ll be.
- Be specific in what role / position / responsibilities you’re looking for. The chances are that the person you’re meeting does not have a need for someone like you right now. However, they will remember (if you have been specific) what you have done and what you are looking for. When they hear of a requirement that matches, be that within their business or within their network, it will prompt a recall. If you have left them with the idea that you’re interested in ‘something in retail operations or maybe buying’, that recall is unlikely to occur.
- Should you really want to hedge your bets, then you can try and leave them with two specific roles you will be interested in, e.g. ‘either a retail operations director role for a business with at least 100 stores and in excess of £75m turnover or a chief operating officer position in a much smaller business’.
- Always leave the door open to stay in touch with the person you’ve met, the least obtrusive way is to find out where their interests lie – career wise or out of work. You can send them an article, a thought, or an email about a conversation you had with someone else, that is related to their interests rather than your mission of finding the next career move. It is a gentle reminder of the conversation/meeting you’ve had. A different way is to ask them for advice or background information on companies or people they have connections with.
Whatever you do, don’t sit back and wait for things to happen (they rarely do). Get into gear and get in front of people so that they remember you when, in September, there are jobs galore!