As we enter into the holiday season things tend to start slowing down with family obligations, kids having time off school and taking our own time off to recharge. It only seems fitting that we may also take some time off from a job search. But that’s not what Eugenia would say and Ineither would I. Relaxing over the holidays is one thing, but becoming completely dormant is another. Eugenia offers some excellent advice in this edition of our JobsBlog Rewind for keeping yourself in the game over the holidays.
It’s the almost the new year, and I think I’m ready to change jobs. The problem is I don’t know where to start. Any tips to get a software developer like me headed in the right direction?
– New Year, New Job
Dear New Year, New Job:
As you have spare time between parties and seeing family, think about what you are going to do for yourself in the New Year and how you are going to get that job, expand your skill set, or grow technically. Here are some suggestions for taking that first step towards your goal:
1. Pick up a new technology – With some of the down time you have now during the holidays, pick up a book or read up on a technology you have been meaning to learn more about. You can incorporate your new knowledge in a side/pet project or even apply it to your day job if you feel comfortable enough. If you’re in it for the long haul, a class or certification is also a great way to go. Getting deep in a technology if you have the time is very beneficial. Now is your time to keep your skills sharp and at the same time ensuring that you are keeping yourself marketable.
2. Write/Present a white paper or attend a conference – If you are an expert or have something to share with the rest of the people working in your field, write a paper, present it in one of the many conferences going on this year and make a name for yourself or for your work. No one will know how brilliant you are unless you put yourself out there. Experts in your field will take and adopt your work or make your information that much stronger but adding value and input that you may not have previously thought of.
3. Network – Whether it’s joining a fan page, expanding your connections, or making friends, networking is invaluable. You learn things, get a lead on a job, and make friends in the process. If it’s easier start with networking online, you can hit Facebok, LinkedIn, Twitter or even foursquare for that matter. You can see where old friends are, what your colleagues are working on, and get ideas on what your next step might be.
Becoming stagnant in your job and skill set is easy and dangerous. Do yourself a favor and take initiative for yourself in the New Year. You’ll thank yourself down the road and grow from the experience.