Pandemic Holiday Job Search: 4 Things You CAN Do

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - ©2020 Reprinted with permission

The holidays are nearing and they will look different this year! You can still take advantage of the fact that people will be in the holiday spirit. Please, for your own good, continue to work your holiday job search during a pandemic! I'm pretty sure all you really want this holiday season is a new job. Well, don't give up! It will happen. Just try some of these ideas and keep your pandemic job search active. These are truly unusual times. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it very challenging (and almost impossible) to meet in person. In normal times, we would be attending dinners, holiday events and even meeting up in bars or restaurants. That's just not happening right now. But it doesn't mean people aren't celebrating or gathering. It just looks different. Hiring Does Happen In December There is this belief job seekers have that hiring doesn't happen during the holidays. That's not completely true... Read More

Veterans, Gold Star Families get free entrance to national parks, refuges, other public lands

By VAntagePoint Contributor | VA.gov - Reprinted with permission, ©2020 All Rights Reserved

Veterans and Gold Star Families will be granted free access to national parks, wildlife refuges and other Federal lands managed by the Department of the Interior starting on Veterans Day this year and every day onward. "With the utmost respect and gratitude, we are granting Veterans and Gold Star Families free access to the iconic and treasured lands they fought to protect starting this Veterans Day and every single day thereafter," said Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt. Entrance fees for the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and standard amenity recreation fees for the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation sites will be waived for Veterans and Gold Star Families. They will have free access to approximately 2,000 public locations spread out across more than 400 million acres of public lands, which host activities to fit any... Read More

Informational Interviews are a Form of Networking

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission ©2020 All Rights Reserved

People have asked me why I don't talk about informational interviews in my networking workshops. The answer is that informational interviews ARE a form of networking. An informational interview, an informational meeting is a better term, means talking with someone about what they do and/or what their company does to learn and get questions answered. What Is The Purpose of Informational Interviews? An informational interview aka networking is simply having conversations with people. As a job seeker, networking becomes defined as looking for a job. It is absolutely more than this. Are people really willing to take time to speak with you about this? It depends. There has to be a good reason or they have to see value in investing time meeting with someone. A classic sales term is WIIFM. "What is in it for me". What will someone get in return? When you are asking for an informational meeting, what is in it for them? How will they benefit from talking to you about what they do? These are some of the reasons someone would be willing to talk to you... Read More

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Pandemic Holiday Job Search: 4 Things You CAN Do

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - ©2020 Reprinted with permission

The holidays are nearing and they will look different this year! You can still take advantage of the fact that people will be in the holiday spirit. Please, for your own good, continue to work your holiday job search during a pandemic!

I'm pretty sure all you really want this holiday season is a new job. Well, don't give up! It will happen. Just try some of these ideas and keep your pandemic job search active.

These are truly unusual times. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it very challenging (and almost impossible) to meet in person.

In normal times, we would be attending dinners, holiday events and even meeting up in bars or restaurants. That's just not happening right now. But it doesn't mean people aren't celebrating or gathering. It just looks different.

Hiring Does Happen In December

There is this belief job seekers have that hiring doesn't happen during the holidays. That's not completely true.

Some companies are trying to hire before the budget year ends. Other companies might be waiting for the new year and a new budget to begin. Either way, companies are actively looking for candidates right now that could start in January. That means recruiters are contacting and screening candidates throughout the next 30 days.

In fact, I had a friend tell me she landed one of the best jobs ever because she was active in her job search throughout the holiday month. (She was one of the few candidates vying for the job who was responsive.)

Pandemic Holiday Networking Events

Networking events have gone virtual this year. From holiday parties to festive gatherings, you'll find events listed on a community calendar, the organization's website and social media pages.

  • Professional associations
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Job seeking groups
  • Neighborhood gatherings
  • Volunteer organizations and opportunities
  • College/University Alumni parties

Read your local newspaper, search for groups on Facebook, check your school's alumni page and keep your eyes open. Here are 25+ places to network.

There's a benefit to virtual events... you don't get as nervous "entering the room" as you would if you attended in person!

Pandemic Outreach

The holidays are the perfect excuse to reach out to people and wish them well.

Maybe this is the year to take some extra time and add a note with your holiday greeting cards to update people on what's new in your life (and do include that you are in search of a new opportunity). Stay positive and be specific.

And don't forget to touch base with past colleagues who may have a less busy schedule during the holidays. Ask if they would like to meet for a virtual coffee to catch up.

Strategically Reach Out To The Right People

Take a different job search strategy for the next 30 days. Instead of obsessing over job postings, focus on strategically developing relationships. This is something you can control and feel positive about.

Here's what I recommend.

  • Make a list of people you really need to meet. This would include decision-makers/hiring managers within companies you are interested in working for.
  • Expand your list to include anyone who works for those companies that you know or is a second-degree connection.

Ask for introductions or reach out cold to these folks with an email asking for a few minutes of their time. Do you want to see some sample email messages? Read this Networking Email Templates for Job Seekers During A Pandemic

Take Control of Your Holiday Job Search

There may not be as many jobs posted in December so re-allocate your time. These are just some of the things you can do to keep your pandemic holiday job search moving forward.

  • Update your marketing plan by adding more target companies.
  • Invest time learning a new skill related to your work.
  • Engage with people on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

Manage Your Time

Scheduling your time is going to make you feel more productive. You don't need to keep the same pace (5-6 hours a day). Spend time doing things that re-energize you or bring you joy!

For the next 30 days, try blocking out hours of your day and assign activities to each block of time.

This article will help Structure Your Week During Job Search

Job Hunting During The Pandemic Holidays Isn't Impossible

If you truly want that new job, you are going to have to work harder than ever before. Excuses won't help you land a job. Actions will.

Yes, people are getting hired right this very minute (and have been since March!) It can happen for you too if you keep at it.

And yes, companies are still recruiting in December for jobs they want to fill in January! Be proactive and find potential opportunities before they are posted.

But most importantly, take care of yourself! Build time into your day, every day, for your mental, physical and spiritual well-being!

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Veterans, Gold Star Families get free entrance to national parks, refuges, other public lands

By VAntagePoint Contributor | VA.gov - Reprinted with permission, ©2020 All Rights Reserved

Veterans and Gold Star Families will be granted free access to national parks, wildlife refuges and other Federal lands managed by the Department of the Interior starting on Veterans Day this year and every day onward.

"With the utmost respect and gratitude, we are granting Veterans and Gold Star Families free access to the iconic and treasured lands they fought to protect starting this Veterans Day and every single day thereafter," said Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt.

Entrance fees for the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and standard amenity recreation fees for the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation sites will be waived for Veterans and Gold Star Families. They will have free access to approximately 2,000 public locations spread out across more than 400 million acres of public lands, which host activities to fit any lifestyle, from serene to high octane, including hiking, fishing, paddling, biking, hunting, stargazing and climbing.

Many Department managed lands have direct connections to the American military, such as frontier forts, Cold War sites, battlefields, national cemeteries, and memorials. These special places pay tribute to our veterans and serve as reminders of their courage and sacrifice throughout the history of our nation, from Minuteman National Historic Park where colonists stood in defense of their rights, to Yellowstone National Park, which was protected from vandalism and poaching by the 1st U.S. Cavalry before the National Park Service was established, to Mount Rushmore where modern warriors attend reenlistment ceremonies.

Details on program

For purposes of this program, a Veteran is identified as an individual who has served in the United States Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, and is able to present one of the following forms of identification:

Gold Star Families are next of kin of a member of the United States Armed Forces who lost his or her life in a "qualifying situation," such as a war, an international terrorist attack, or a military operation outside of the United States while serving with the United States Armed Forces.

The Interagency America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program already includes a free annual pass for active duty members of the U.S. Military and their dependents. Other free or discounted passes are available for persons with permanent disabilities, fourth grade students, volunteers, and senior citizens age 62 years or older.

The Department also offers free entrance days for everyone throughout the year to mark days of celebration and commemoration including the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., National Public Lands Day, Veterans Day, and the signing of the Great American Outdoors Act.

APPLY FOR A VETERAN ID CARD

APPLY FOR A VETERAN HEALTH IDENTIFICATION CARD (VHIC)

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Informational Interviews are a Form of Networking

By Hannah Morgan | Career Sherpa - Reprinted with permission ©2020 All Rights Reserved

People have asked me why I don't talk about informational interviews in my networking workshops. The answer is that informational interviews ARE a form of networking.

An informational interview, an informational meeting is a better term, means talking with someone about what they do and/or what their company does to learn and get questions answered.

What Is The Purpose of Informational Interviews?

An informational interview aka networking is simply having conversations with people. As a job seeker, networking becomes defined as looking for a job. It is absolutely more than this.

Are people really willing to take time to speak with you about this? It depends.

There has to be a good reason or they have to see value in investing time meeting with someone.

A classic sales term is WIIFM. "What is in it for me". What will someone get in return? When you are asking for an informational meeting, what is in it for them? How will they benefit from talking to you about what they do? These are some of the reasons someone would be willing to talk to you:

  • A boost to their ego
  • Makes them feel like they have done something helpful
  • It is a payback or favor to a friend
  • Sourcing for future hiring needs
How To Ask For An Informational Meeting

How you ask for the meeting is key.

Using the right language/words/tone of voice makes all the difference in securing the meeting.

Here are some tips:

Use the Referral Source Early

You can request an informational meeting either in person, through email or by phone.

It doesn't matter how you ask the person for the meeting. What does matter is mentioning the name of the person who referred you (recommended you speak to them) early in your message. Mentioning a referral source, someone you both know, makes it feel less risky. Keep in mind, a little honest flattery is helpful.

"I was speaking with Sarah Doe and she highly recommended that I speak with you about ___________ (occupation or company name). Sarah says you are extremely knowledgeable and would be helpful in my quest for information in this area."

State the Purpose of Your Meeting

Once you've proven you're not a dangerous stalker, you can clarify what information you are looking for. (You are not looking for a job...yet. You are trying to see if your skills and experience will fit into that organization.)

"I would enjoy meeting with you to discuss what you feel are the most valuable assets of people in your field." or

"Based on your tenure in the field of [industry/occupation], I was hoping to learn from you some of the day-to-day challenges you face and how you stay current?"

Be Prepared to Handle Objections

Sometimes the response you get isn't really a rejection. Be prepared to handle any of these responses:

  • I'm really busy
  • I'm not the right person
  • If you are looking for a job, talk to HR
  • We aren't hiring right now

None of these responses really mean no. Don't give up.

How To Respond To An Objection

If they say they are busy, ask when they will have more time to meet either before or after work.

They are the right person because you were referred to them. Reinforce that their experience in the organization makes them exactly the right person. They understand how the organization works and that's important.

If they direct you to talk to HR or say that their company isn't hiring, then your request probably included the fact that you are looking for a job. Move forward and say something like:

"While I am exploring new opportunities, I'm more interested in learning about your organization and your experience working for them. Would you have just 30 minutes to meet?"

If you receive an answer other than yes, it means that the person doesn't feel like it is "safe" or worth their time. Flattery will get you everywhere, try feeding them some. Also, remind them of who referred you. A little bit of guilt can be a wonderful leverager.

Is There A Hidden Agenda?

Honestly, there isn't a hidden agenda. Your purpose for the meeting is to gather information. You do not know yet whether you would want to work for that organization. That's why you want a meeting... to learn more!

Your conversation may or may not lead to your wanting anything more from them.

And you never know. You may find you have things in common with the person you meet with and this conversation could result in a new friendship.

Confirming The Informational Interview

When you do land a meeting, remember to verify the time and location and send a reminder the day before. And provide the person with your mobile phone number just in case.

The Format of The Meeting

You have asked for the meeting so you determine the agenda. Arrive early and be prepared!

Here is the agenda for an informational meeting and more tips to make your networking meetings more successful.

Always Send A Thank You Message

After informational interviews, you should always send a thank you message. Email or regular mail is fine. What you say in your message is more important.

Here's what to include:

  • Thank them for their time
  • Explain why what you learned was helpful
  • State what your next steps will be (the take-away from the meeting)
  • Set the expectation you will follow up

You should also follow up with the person who referred you to let them know how the conversation went.

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