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Back to School Thinking
As summer comes to an end, I find that I’m experiencing a familiar tug of expectation and anticipation. Ah, the first day of school! Let’s just ignore the fact that my regular attendance in full-time academia ended over 20 years ago. Minor detail.
Just the hint of fall air and a visit to the local office supply store make me nostalgic for the great excitement of the new beginnings that the school year always represented for me. Adding to my zeal, last weekend on a last-summer-hurrah visit to family, my nephew shared his list of "to dos" and "to buys" before heading off for his first year of high school – the reading list, the supplies, class selections, etc.
It got me thinking about the parallels between starting a new school year and the re-focusing many of us do as we leave behind summer vacations and backyard barbecues and think about the status of our business goals heading into the last quarter of the year.
Here’s a Back-to-"School" Prep List to help you get ready to close the year on a high note:
- Check supplies
Not just toner, paper, and sticky notes. How’s your "stock" of great candidates for the jobs you most frequently fill? What about clients – have you expanded your list lately, or are you still working with the same comfortable regulars? What’s your plan to keep supply levels growing and changing to meet hiring pushes before the winter holidays?
- Make class selections
Think about what you need to learn or update to keep fresh in a rapidly and constantly changing marketplace. What resources can you seek out to help you get what you need? Maybe join an industry panel or association. Maybe enroll in a company or industry training program, or even a class at your local college. Who can you talk to as a mentor or coach to help you see new opportunities or become aware of potential pitfalls?
- Organize books
Get your files organized. Know what information you have and what information you need to get, such as any changes in candidate status or new buyers in your client organizations. Be prepared with this "homework" so that the day-to-day work stays on track. Clean up databases and update records with the latest status and insights.
- Friends to reconnect with
Remember what it was like to see your friends after a summer away? Use this time of year to renew old acquaintances and relationships – a great way to network for referrals and business opportunities. Create a deliberate plan to reach out to people with whom you’ve been out of touch for more than three months.
- Extracurricular activities
Just as participating in the Drama Club or the football team can be rewarding, enriching experiences, so too can getting involved in local community projects. Volunteer at your place of worship or get involved with a community theater group. There are hundreds of organizations that would be thrilled to have your winning talent and sparkling personality added to their ranks. These are great ways to expand your network while doing something worthwhile and fulfilling.
Most people think of spring as a time of renewal, and that’s accurate and true. For many of us, the school year engenders those same types of feelings of new beginning and focus. Take advantage of this time to take stock of where you are now and where you’d like to be when the year comes to a close.
- Paula Roy
StaffingU Vice President of Learning & Development
Paula Roy is a recognized expert in behavioral interviewing and in developing comprehensive selection strategies. Using a comprehensive project management system, Paula has developed the productivity and effectiveness of sales teams, project teams, and executives. She earned her degree in communication and management and has completed extensive study and research in adult learning theory and methodology.