Every year, I start the holiday season with good intentions…making lists, coming up with the perfect ideas for each person on my list, and taking some time to get a good head-start on things.
And like many, I fall short.
I began writing this post the night of the 19th. At that point, I hadn’t begun my Christmas shopping. Yesterday morning I was going to go out, but all the sudden it was nearly 2 p.m. before I was finally heading out the door to do some shopping. I still have a few more things on my list, but they will have to wait. Today is my daughter Susie’s 2nd birthday and we are eating cake, opening presents, and (undoubtedly, because we do this every day) watching Team UmiZoomi about 20 times.
My wife, Sarah, is one of those people who buys ahead and finds all the great deals. So she and I periodically talk about ideas and she buys many of our children’s gifts early. And my siblings, parents and the other adults in our family have moved on to doing a “country gift exchange,” so I don’t really have all that many people to shop for, but the ones I do are pretty important to me.
If you are a last-minute gifter, and you have a higher ed job seeker on your list (or you are one, and hope to give yourself the gift of a new job in the coming year), here are a few ideas for last-minute gifts:
- Buy the person a website to set up a job-seeker blog. If possible, register a .com address and use the person’s name, so they can stake out a “home base” for their personal brand. You can find plenty of good web hosts out there, and it’s really easy on most to set up a blog using WordPress. I use FatCow, which has a lot of nice features and add-ons, and a really affordable annual rate, with unlimited storage and bandwidth, as well as e-mail addresses for your domain. They are running a $4.67/month hosting special right now, which you can get by clicking on the link above or on the ad in the right-hand column. The deal includes hosting for one year, one domain, and a lot of easy-to-use tools. For example, easy set-up of a WordPress.Org blog like this one, photo galleries, forums, Moodle and Joomla sites, even an online store. Users also get ad credits on Google AdWords, Facebook, and Yahoo, which your job-seeker could use to place personal “Job Wanted” Ads.
- If you self-host a WordPress blog, you can install a standard template or get a little fancy. My blogs run the Thesis theme framework, which has some built-in features that help with Search Engine Optimization. You need to have some confidence with technology to get it installed and set up, but once you do, the dashboard is pretty easy to master, and you will enjoy better search results without having to get a certificate in internet marketing.
- Buy your job-seeker some assistance with writing and editing their job search materials (or if your job-seeker is going back to school, with admissions essays). I offer these services as part of my 1-on-1 coaching packages, and would be glad to speak to you or your job-seeker about what I can offer, but I also recently became an affiliate for ResumeEdge and EssayEdge, the leading resume and essay editing and assistance services on the internet, so please check them out as well.
Give the gift of coaching. I am opening a job seeker group for spring. I am offering first spots to people on my mailing lists, so sign up here to get information. There will be a limited number of spots for this program, because I want to offer members a quality experience and to give them personal attention, so list members get first crack. If there are available spaces in January, they will be opened up to the general public.There will be three levels of participation:
- Value Edition: Online group with self-paced activities and forum discussions ($180 for 6 months access. You must register for this option to be offered the opportunity to upgrade to either of the other levels. The first five modules of this 26-module program are now live and available for those who are ready to get started with their exploration and planning over the holiday break. The rest will go live in sometime in early January.)
- Standard Edition: Online group, plus free access to webinars and 2 1-on-1 meetings for resume assistance and mock interview practice, and e-mail coaching through the duration of your enrollment($300-with the option of paying for the upgrade all at once or in 6 monthly installments.)
- Personalized Edition: All of the above, plus 6 additional coaching sessions. ($500-with the option to pay for the upgrade all at once or in 6 monthly installments.)
- If you are looking just for 1-on-1 coaching, my rates for one-on-one coaching are reasonable, and depend on the length of the session. If you’re interested in 1-on-1 coaching, visit my public calendar to schedule a free initial consultation. There is no obligation to purchase anything. We’ll talk about what you are looking for in a coach. I will tell you a bit about my coaching methods and business practices, and we’ll discuss the going rates for the services that interest you. If you like, I will even give you a couple of other resources to check out. Every job seeker has different needs and the “fit” between coach and client is just as important as “fit” is to landing the right job. So the consultation will be an opportunity for both of us to assess whether we might be able to work together on your job search.
- Or you can buy a gift certificate (that can be used at my webstore toward any of the programs above, or 1-on-1 coaching, or other products and services to be offered soon, including e-books, webinars, and job-seeker tools and resources.
Whatever you end up getting your friends, your loved ones, or yourself, I wish you the best this holiday season, and good luck in your job search!