Happy New Year from us at HireFlux! A new year brings resolutions, challenges, reflection, and excitement. This month we are reflecting on a few of our more popular posts and weaving them into a guide for you to use professionally or personally. Whether you are looking to learn new skills, advance in your current job, switch jobs, or spend more time on a new interest, we have you covered. Sit back, relax, read, and then let’s get going!
How do you organize a space party? You planet.
Personal and professional inboxes are inundated with information. Whether you are an organizational pro and you need a few tweaks, or you are dying under your mountain of unread emails, to-do tasks, and never-ending projects, we have you covered. Our November Issue had a series of items for you to dive into your inbox and explore. Here are a few spark notes on the topic:
- Label: Choose labels and folders that work for you. Outlook and Gmail have different ways of organizing your mail by default. Their default might not always work for you. Think about how your emails ebb and flow. Is your inbox project-based, account based, or a mix of different items? Both tools enable you to organize using both labels and priority. Consider testing a few different strategies in the beginning weeks of the year to see what works best for you.
- Task: Sometimes you don’t have the answer and you have to wait to respond. How do you keep track of what is left to do? Some people are lucky enough to use “unread” as a way to stay on top of tasks. We don’t necessarily recommend that process. We recommend exploring tools that help you stay on top of to-dos related to emails, projects, and processes. Simple tools include: Trello, Notion.So, Evernote, OneNote, and Google Tasks. Whether you prefer a Kanban to a list, these tools have you covered.
- Schedule: We have seen calendars used as a way to organize both time and tasks. Google has reminders, tasks, and the traditional “events” as options for you to organize your life. Blocking off events on your calendar for tasks and projects is a great way for you to start tracking your time and allowing yourself to understand how long those tasks actually take. If your organization relies on self-scheduling for meetings, we recommend making sure those “events” are set to a status where people can still schedule critical events.
Once you have figured out an organizational routine that works for you, it is time to use that spare time to plan your next move. Whether you are looking for a new promotion, a new career, or simply looking to perfect your skill set, planning is a critical component of the process. In October we explored ways for you to improve little by little. This month, we are focusing on three ways you can plan for your next move.
- New Skill: Moving into a new company or department can be an exciting but daunting task. Where to start? We like to start with a job description. Think about your current role and the role that you would like to move into. Start looking on Indeed or LinkedIn for similar roles. What skill sets are they looking for? We bucket those skills into 3 buckets, skills you have, need to improve, and need to learn. Focus on the last two buckets. There are a variety of companies and sites that you can utilize to learn new skills, including Codecadamy, Skillshare, Lynda, Duolingo, Hubspot, and Coursera.
- New Contact: While your skill set is important, your contacts are just as valuable. If your move is internal, figure out who you would report to. Consider asking your prospective boss to coffee. You can use this time to pick their brain on what candidates are successful in the role. If your move is external, we recommend doing some research. Look on LinkedIn to see who works at the company. Do you know anyone? Or do your friends know anyone? Instead of looking to get in touch with a hiring manager, look to grab coffee with a potential coworker. Your contacts can let you know what is happening internally and potentially offer you a referral.
- New Routine: Carving out time to grow your skill set and your network is difficult. The more organized you are, the better you can plan. Try to start with an hour each day. What new items can you tackle within that time frame? What items can you reschedule to block off for a new hour of learning and networking? This equation will give you a better idea of your organizational strengths and weaknesses, as well as a better grasp of your efficiencies.
Congrats! You are ready to make your next move. You have made time to master new skills, and made contacts to move up or out of your current role. The journey is not over yet. In April we discussed how to prepare for an interview. This month we are highlighting actions to take before and after an interview.
- Resume: Your resume is an ever-changing document. As you add new skills, projects, and roles, your resume should grow and change as you do. There is a plethora of information on the internet on what a good resume looks like. If you are applying with HireFlux, we will help you through this process. If you are not, we recommend keeping your resume free of frills. Stick to traditional fonts, colors, and spacing. On top of formatting, consider adding and refining your keywords. Those skill-sets we had you research earlier are important now. Make sure you add programs, skills, and accomplishments to your resume. Most resumes are now sorted by Applicant Tracking Systems that will analyze your resume and organize candidates by those keywords.
- Applying: Once your resume is formatted and finalized, you have to begin writing cover letters. Think of cover letters as an elevator pitch. Make sure your cover letter highlights your strengths, interest in the role, and covers any gaps. Now we are not done. Remember those contacts? Before applying, see if you can get a referral. Most companies do not require a referral to submit a cover letter. If you cannot get a referral, we recommend applying and following up with someone in the company.
- Interviewing: The interview process has become rather extensive in recent years. Most processes have a screening call and an on-site interview. Others have four to five rounds of meetings, projects, and phone calls. Stay patient and calm. Use these rounds to learn more about the company and your potential co-workers. Do they constantly reschedule? Are they friendly? Is the office quiet or loud? The interview process creates an environment for you to find the right fit and for the company to find the perfect candidate.
- Follow Up: If you haven’t heard it before, write a thank you email. You can usually figure out people’s email using a search engine. Look for how the company structures their email. For example, if John Doe emails you from firstname.lastname@example.org, it is probably safe to say that your interviewer’s email is their email@example.com. After you send an email, it is normal to not hear back from the company for a bit. We recommend following up with your contact a week later. Unfortunately these days it is common to not hear back from the employer if you are in the early stages. Do not get discouraged, every interview is an opportunity for you to learn more about your own strengths and weaknesses, interests, and roles that excite you.