Here in Ontario Canada, Fall has just arrived this past weekend. While there are a few days here and there to come of warm temperatures, the thermometer today registered a crisp 2 degrees as I got in the car, and some low-lying areas had a thin blanket of frost upon them. The trees are a mix of greens not yet turned, golds and reds ablaze in their fall splendor, and soon it will be time to put away all the summer furniture, turn off the backyard waterfalls, turn over the gardens with compost and hunker in for the first flakes that foreshadow the bitter winds and snows to come.
This is a perfect time of year to embark on a job search, or to renew your self-commitment and re-focus on getting out there and marketing yourself. Seriously? Really?
Well let’s brainstorm some positives if you’re having a problem believing that assertion. Here’s a short list:
* you won’t sweat as much in the heat
* some of your competition will cocoon themselves until the Spring
* students have returned to school, and left job openings
* you can better conceal any body imperfections under a sweater or sports jacket
* some industries are closing for the season, while others are just opening; both are opportunities!
Look for example at the fabulous opportunities in the lawn care industry at this time of year. There is a growing population of aging people who are not looking forward to the daunting task of preparing their properties for the winter. There are leaves to rake, grass to fertilize and over-seed, ponds to be cleaned out and pumps winterized, bushes to be pruned, summer furniture to put away, summer screens and netting’s to be detached and stored. And oh yes, there are Christmas lights to put strung up on high eaves that the elderly are more than willing to pay someone else to hang.
Then there are driveways to be cleared of snow in the winter and those same driveways could be contracted for cleaning now. While you’re out knocking on doors you could be offering to seal those driveways, and perhaps aerate the lawns while you’re at it. We’ve got a guy comes around and knocks on neighbourhood doors and will aerate a lawn for $30 and he rents it for a day and makes a bundle.
There’s outdoor painting of garages frames, pillars and posts on porches, trim on window panes, mulch to put down on walkways and garden beds. There’s annual plants to pull, tulip bulbs to be planted, windows to be washed, window screens to be removed.
Everything I’ve put down in the last three paragraphs can be done by anyone without any formal education or certification. Supposing you are a Chemical Engineer or an out of work Nurse looking for a job in the Health Care sector, you could still consider picking up these kinds of jobs. Now why would you do these things as they aren’t even remotely connected with your career aspirations?
Here’s why. First of all you’ll get some much-needed cash, and when you are unemployed, who wouldn’t want that? Second, you get a chance to network with all kinds of neighbours; any one of which might just turn out to be the Hiring Manager or best friend of the Hiring Manager where you want to work. Do a great job and when they look at you and say, “You don’t strike me as a handyman or handy woman”, you launch ever so cleverly into your elevator pitch and tell them what you are really looking for and just happen to have some resumes in your car! Imagine the coincidence!
A third benefit of this work is that is gives you purpose; a reason to get up, get out, and some short-term goals to achieve. Fourthly you get to put into practice some skills that might be getting rusty like your organization, planning, networking, interpersonal communications, and you can’t knock some physical labour to help keep you active and fit.
Now while you are engaged in these various activities, you can’t neglect your main career goal of work in your field of interest or training. So you carry a cellphone, keep checking your various websites for employment, writing up resumes and application cover letters in the evening or when not working.
Now I’m not suggesting that everyone run out and start being a jack-of-all-trades person. A focused job search is ideal where you put all your energy into a specific job search. But that’s really hard to sustain over many months. A sideline job such as I’ve suggested can address failing self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy and failure, and not being able to contribute to a family income.
This strategy isn’t meant for everyone, but whether it’s odd jobs around the house or serving in a restaurant part-time, there are opportunities for short-term employment that may be just the thing. And if you start now; now being late September, you may just be motivated if you consider that you’ve got 3 months of potential income from these odd jobs to get your Christmas gift money together.
And of course there is the long-shot that you discover how much physical landscaping is something you find satisfaction in, and you launch your own business full-time!