Let’s pause to reflect
A little more than a month ago, OFE suspended in-person services in response to Covid-19, with some of the staff transitioning to work remotely. There was uncertainty, but a genuine eagerness to continue providing quality service to our participants and employer partners. We were determined to be fully operational as quickly as possible, and in true OFE fashion, we were able to “meet” with participants via phone and zoom without missing a beat, offer online learning, which have now become full online classes, and open up our intake. It has been such a wild time, and I know you have walked an interesting journey this last month too.
In a previous post we mentioned the importance of stopping to reflect and readjust as necessary. All great leaders know the importance of pausing, looking at where you came from and what you accomplished, and sketching out where you should go next. Reflecting is a big part of growing, but unfortunately not many of us take the time to do it, and I understand why. It feels like a waste of time when you need to put food on the table and keep a roof over your head, and life is calling you from all sides. Nevertheless, if you dream of doing big things (and even little things), part of the process is stopping for a breath.
Here are questions to help you get started.
- Which positions and companies have I applied for last month?
Take stock of where you put most of your energy. Maybe something on this list will help with the next application. Are there required skills that are similar across most of these job leads? If you already have those skills, how are you showcasing them in your applications? If you do not have those skills, what are you doing about it? If you were lucky enough to receive feedback from employers regarding your applications, take a look at those too. Really look at them. Is there something to learn? Something to improve?
- Which job search strategies worked for me? Which did not? What can I change going forward?
Which of your applications received responses? What made it stand out? Have you asked for feedback on your resume and cover letter? How about your interview skills? Job searching is a skill. Some people are naturally good at making connections and getting their foot in the door, but most people take the time to refine what they need to and practice what they need to in order to get noticed. Remember that your Employment Consultants (ECs) are there to help! Take advantage of their expertise.
- How did I meet my goals this month?
Hopefully you started your job search with one or two very specific goals in mind, and I do not mean simply “get a job”. That goal is way too big and can easily deter you if you do not see results after one or two weeks. The key is to set specific, short-term, measurable goals. You can start here. Goal setting helps keep you motivated and allows you to readjust without redoing everything from scratch.
- What am I most grateful for this past month?
Focusing on the good things also helps with motivation. Maybe your job search led to a new connection, or opened your eyes to a new industry or position you never considered. Whatever it is, remember those things and let it motivate you as you continue your job search.
- What am I most looking forward to trying/learning/doing next month?
Use this question as a starting place for creating a new set of goals or restating old ones. Remember, specific, short-term, measurable.
Your ECs are there to help, so call or email them when you get stuck. If you feel comfortable, share some of your reflections and goals with them. You are more likely to achieve a successful outcome if you have someone to keep you accountable. Plus, they may be able to offer a different perspective that will help you later on. If nothing else, they will cheer you on and celebrate your mini-accomplishments as you move forward with the next step.