Black Friday and Cyber Monday are full of ways to, quote, unquote, “save money” while actually spending more. Here are a few tips to use to make these “savings opportunities” actually save money for you.
Use sale products or services as a way to replace more expensive services you’re already paying for (and then cancel those services). As an example, ClickUp‘s Black Friday / Cyber Monday sale offers a full year for $42. All well and good — you probably don’t need ClickUp’s premium features. But wait — ClickUp offers free storage! Can you use this to substitute for your $10 a month online storage service?
Act like “Cowardly Lion.” In one scene in the Wizard of Oz, the Cowardly Lion is getting ready to do something brave, but he asks his friends for one favor: “Talk me out of it.” Before you click “Buy,” ask a trusted friend to review your purchasing plans with you. You may not need that $39 pencil skirt or $250 treadmill (especially if your plans to fit into the $39 pencil skirt involve using the $250 treadmill! You won’t.)
Use your calendar to make sure you don’t lose the right to cancel a purchase. A lot of merchants entice you with a “Free month of service” or the opportunity to cancel a purchase if you change your mind. They are counting on you to forget about it. Before you click “Buy,” set a calendar appointment for yourself with all the details.
Invest in your professional growth. Many learning platforms offer Cyber Monday deals. Learning something adjacent to your core expertise can be inspiring no matter what your professional situation is. As a marketer, I love Web development courses because designing web sites is relaxing for me. If you’re between gigs, professional education is a great way to beat the “holiday blues” and fill the hours between job search activities.
ClickUp bills itself as “one app to replace them all” — I like to describe it as “Microsoft Planner on steroids.” Best of all (from a Friday Goody Bag standpoint), it has a robust free version.
Here’s how I used ClickUp to run my last job search. The approach described here can be taken with Jira, Trello, Microsoft Planner, or any other ticket-based planing system.
Set up a project called “Job Search.”
Set up columns to track the progress of jobs you’ve applied for. My columns included “Applied,” “Screener,” “Assessment,” “Hiring Manager,” and “Waiting.”
Create a ticket for every single position you apply for. Store documents such as cover letters, email responses from the staff, etc. with this ticket. Also, schedule your follow-up tasks using the ticket. Typical follow-up tasks are “Send handwritten note to Grover thanking him for the referral,” “Circle back with Taneesha about her offer to write a recommendation.”
For each job you’ve applied for, move the ticket to the appropriate column as it reaches the corresponding milestone. Review the tickets periodically to make sure you haven’t missed a follow-up task.
When you hear back about a job you’ve applied for, consult the ticket. If you have different versions of your resume and cover letter, storing them with the ticket will help you respond appropriately to a discussion that may have been dormant for days or weeks. True story: I had applied for a job at one company and had not heard back; weeks later, the job poster contacted me inviting me to apply for a different job. It was super easy to respond appropriately to her because I knew what I had told her in my cover letter.
Also create columns for other job search–related tasks, like “Engage with LinkedIn posts,” “Register for networking events,” etc. Create a ticket for each networking event you’ve attended. Remember to follow up with people you’ve met—these tasks can also be tracked in the ticket for that networking event, or in a CRM like HubSpot if you’ve set one up. (Yes, CRMs can be useful in a job search. Yes, HubSpot has a free version).
The real benefit of this approach is it helps you treat your job search as a professional project. Making sure you plan, perform, and track meaningful tasks may keep you from either feeling paralyzed or getting hyperactive on social media (Pro Tip: LinkedIn is not Facebook).
Author and speaker Juliette Mayers talks about the value of “random acts of kindness” in building and maintaining a professional network. When you need a professional favor, it’s really good to have been making “deposits” into the “kindness bank” all along…
This concept is possibly even more valuable during our turbulent times – acts of kindness range from my husband’s famous “Say hello, dummy” exhortation to leaving a painted rock in someone’s mailbox.
Fortunately, there is a website with dozens of ideas for acts of kindness in case you can’t think of one – the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. If you’re better motivated by reporting your actions online, Kindlab has fewer immediately visible suggestions but a ton of research and the ability to report that you’ve performed one of the acts.
If you’re out of work or underemployed, the holidays are a tough time. You may find yourself with extra unstructured time, but you might not have the money that it requires to do what you always wanted to do with extra time. And of course, you still want to land your dream gig – or just the next gig.
Friday Goody Bag to the rescue! Here are 11 tips to keep you positive and productive during the season when little career business seems to be transacted.
Don’t buy into the blues. Although people may say “no one is hiring” over the holidays, that’s not true. Also, you don’t need to get 12% of all jobs; you just need to get one job. Keep looking!
Design and print a “personal” business card with your LinkedIn and other contact information. You can use Moo or Vistaprint to create and print business cards in small quantities. Both sites offer design tools, or you can seek professional graphic design help. Make sure you’ve got a pocket full of these cards at all times.
Attend free business networking events. Search Eventbrite for “business” and get out there in the mix. (Bring your business cards!)
Uncover extra cash by scouring your bank account or credit card statements for “phantom” subscriptions.
Take courses online. If you have a LinkedIn “Job Seeker” or other premium subscription, you can also take LinkedIn Learning (formerly lynda.com) courses online. If you’re in marketing, you can add advanced marketing automation to your skill set for free at HubSpot Academy.
Try out co-working spaces. If you’re not strapped for cash and you want to put on work clothes and get out of the house, find a local co-working space with a flexible membership plan and spend a couple of days a week doing your job search from a busy office environment instead of from your kitchen table.
Practice your “elevator pitch” – and not in the mirror. Put on work clothes, go to an office building in an area where you’d like to work, and ride the elevators. Talk to strangers. Look at the building directory. This will familiarize you with the business community where you want to be, and will help crack you out of a bad mood.
Volunteer, carefully. Choose a volunteer opportunity that will expose you to valuable professional connections.
Set up a tracking system to organize your job search. My favorite free software for project management is ClickUp, Their slogan, “One app to replace them all,” sounds like something from Lord of the Rings, but I’ve been using it for several months and love it. ClickUp has a robust free version and a library of video tutorials. Check it out and sign up here.
The “Careers” page of a local tech firm used to advise applicants that if their LinkedIn URL had a bunch of numbers at the end of it, they would not even be considered for a job there. (At least they told us).
Fifty percent of current Friday Goody Bag subscribers have this problem. Navigate to your own profile on LinkedIn and then look at the browser bar – does your page’s Website address have a bunch of numbers after your name? Here’s how to fix it (and look like one of the cool kids).
Click “Me” to navigate to (and edit) your LinkedIn profile.
Click “View Profile.”
Click “Edit public profile and URL” (towards the top right corner of your big, intimidating Profile page that shows how awesome you are).
Towards the top right-hand corner of your screen, you’ll see a box that says “Edit custom URL” at the top. Follow the instructions to get rid of the numbers.
If you have a common name and someone else of that name got there first, you may have to be creative – middle names, hyphens, etc. are all OK. Just make it look as if someone besides LinkedIn’s algorithm created your URL.
That’s it! Now your LinkedIn profile looks LIKE A BOSS.