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It’s that time of year again! I’m sure you have a strong sense of “hurry up and wait”, along with lots of anticipation, excitement, and motivation as 2013 comes to a close.

 

What those thoughts in mind, you might find yourself hoping to hear back from a few prospective employers on some careers you applied for. I call this “The Waiting Game” (see previous articles Part 1 and Part 2) and just know that delays in hearing back from jobs you’ve applied for are common this time of year.

 

So, in the spirit of  bringing 2013 to a close and ringing in the new year known as 2014, here’s a list of 14 Things You Can Do to Make a Strong Finish and Start a New Beginning:

 

1)      Use this “downtime” to create new versions of your résumé. Over time, you might recognize the fact that the original version of your résumé needs to be modified to meet specific career choices. Does your résumé contain words that match the job description? Word choice is important and creating a résumé that reflects your skills that align with the job in question can help. Having more than one résumé, one that’s tailor-made for a specific position is the key!

 

2)      Follow-up appropriately with those you’ve been in contact with. With respect to the fact that anyone you’ve interviewed with (along with any and all administrative assistants or employees) can now be seen sprinting toward the finish of 2013, you need to figure out how much communication is enough communication. Did you send or answer all the follow-up emails during the “post-interview” phase of getting hired? Careful attention to how you follow-up (or whether you follow-up again if no response) needs to be considered. You don’t want to overstep your bounds, appear desperate, or otherwise seem too pushy.

 

3)      Review ALL of the positions you’ve applied for, even if you’ve been sent a rejection letter. Companies change all the time. The position you submitted your résumé for earlier in the year might have a late-breaking position open today! As mergers, acquisitions, and new divisions of an existing company spring up, you might find a position that just opened up! Just like panning for gold, you just never know until you revisit places you’ve searched before.

 

4)     Keep current not only on what’s happening at each company you’re interested in, but in the industry as well. As mentioned above, with change being constant, you’ll fare better if you aware of what’s happening within a particular company or within the market segment in question. For example, if you follow a specific type of industry and learn that new laws and regulations take effect in 2014, you might be able to leverage this information to showcase your current awareness of the industry in an interview setting. What’s more, if you skills and abilities demonstrate a particular proficiency related to these changes, you can shine above the other candidates for the position. Keep current on what’s happening!

 

5)     Take advantage of the post-holiday sales! Do you like to save money? Just after the holidays, you can count on things to go on sale. What better time to upgrade your wardrobe, purchase that new briefcase or computer, or buy plane tickets to a career fair or trade show so you can get in front of potential employers.

 

6)     Brush up on those interview skills! Just like all those things you did while in uniform – physical fitness tests, weapons qualifications, promotion board preparation, etc. – interviewing is a perishable skill. You need to continue to practice your answers to interview questions so that they don’t sound canned or unnatural. Once those words leave your mouth, there’s no turning back! Find a Friend or relative or someone that can play Employer/Hiring Manager so you can keep your skills sharp!

 

7)     Re-connect with you Professional and Personal references. The last thing you want to happen is to have a prospective employer reach out to one of your references and get a “disconnect”. What I mean by disconnect is not only a bad or disconnected phone number, but a “disconnect” in what you told your Reference about the work you wish to pursue, and the information shared during the reference check. Make sure everyone is on the same sheet of music, so to speak!