The Five Emails You Need to Send Before New Year’s to Boost Your Career
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    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,580,369 (+1.46%)       Melbourne $968,248 (+0.35%)       Brisbane $884,749 (+1.39%)       Adelaide $811,373 (-0.34%)       Perth $760,863 (-2.94%)       Hobart $742,968 (+1.78%)       Darwin $648,153 (+0.66%)       Canberra $952,739 (+1.89%)       National $998,019 (+0.96%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $719,049 (-0.09%)       Melbourne $491,976 (+25.26%)       Brisbane $488,613 (+1.66%)       Adelaide $415,517 (+2.98%)       Perth $408,247 (-0.12%)       Hobart $506,404 (-0.82%)       Darwin $341,678 (-4.94%)       Canberra $481,116 (-2.08%)       National $504,022 (+1.79%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,856 (+1,115)       Melbourne 15,164 (+2,253)       Brisbane 8,441 (+272)       Adelaide 2,729 (+236)       Perth 6,841 (+1,523)       Hobart 1,229 (+73)       Darwin 276 (-10)       Canberra 1,109 (+217)       National 46,645 (+5,679)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,816 (+356)       Melbourne 8,019 (+4,046)       Brisbane 1,858 (+11)       Adelaide 509 (+3)       Perth 1,903 (-10)       Hobart 172 (+1)       Darwin 395 (+4)       Canberra 856 (+152)       National 22,528 (+4,563)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $780 (+$30)       Melbourne $570 ($0)       Brisbane $600 (-$30)       Adelaide $570 ($0)       Perth $630 (+$5)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $700 (+$5)       Canberra $680 (+$5)       National $644 (+$4)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $730 (-$30)       Melbourne $550 ($0)       Brisbane $625 (+$25)       Adelaide $450 (-$10)       Perth $575 (+$5)       Hobart $450 ($0)       Darwin $550 (-$10)       Canberra $565 (+$5)       National $575 (-$3)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,423 (+399)       Melbourne 5,636 (+347)       Brisbane 4,280 (+665)       Adelaide 1,158 (+16)       Perth 1,894 (+159)       Hobart 373 (-3)       Darwin 149 (+7)       Canberra 629 (+31)       National 19,542 (+1,621)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,616 (+1,782)       Melbourne 5,988 (+275)       Brisbane 2,048 (+24)       Adelaide 365 (+22)       Perth 605 (-3)       Hobart 155 (+3)       Darwin 294 (+2)       Canberra 716 (+54)       National 18,787 (+2,159)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 2.57% (↑)        Melbourne 3.06% (↓)       Brisbane 3.53% (↓)     Adelaide 3.65% (↑)      Perth 4.31% (↑)        Hobart 3.85% (↓)     Darwin 5.62% (↑)        Canberra 3.71% (↓)       National 3.35% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 5.28% (↓)       Melbourne 5.81% (↓)     Brisbane 6.65% (↑)        Adelaide 5.63% (↓)     Perth 7.32% (↑)      Hobart 4.62% (↑)      Darwin 8.37% (↑)      Canberra 6.11% (↑)        National 5.93% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.7% (↑)      Melbourne 0.8% (↑)      Brisbane 0.4% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 1.2% (↑)      Hobart 0.6% (↑)      Darwin 1.1% (↑)      Canberra 0.7% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.4% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.3% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 1.5% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.3% (↑)      National 0.9% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 27.6 (↓)       Melbourne 28.8 (↓)       Brisbane 30.9 (↓)       Adelaide 24.3 (↓)       Perth 34.1 (↓)       Hobart 28.7 (↓)     Darwin 36.9 (↑)        Canberra 27.6 (↓)     National 29.9 (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 28.6 (↓)       Melbourne 29.4 (↓)       Brisbane 30.6 (↓)       Adelaide 26.3 (↓)       Perth 39.8 (↓)       Hobart 22.1 (↓)       Darwin 37.9 (↓)       Canberra 33.4 (↓)       National 31.0 (↓)           
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The Five Emails You Need to Send Before New Year’s to Boost Your Career

There’s no better time than now to refresh your roster of professional contacts

Wed, Dec 21, 2022 9:16amGrey Clock 4 min

Yes, you’re busy checking off your year-end, to-do list. But here’s an easy item to add that could pay dividends down the road: connect with five people who, in different ways, could boost your career in 2023.

There’s no better time of year than right now to power up that roster of professional allies. So many people have changed jobs, and entire careers, recently that even the strongest networks need some tending. And while the job market remains strong, the number of companies embarking on layoffs is climbing, and many business leaders predict more job cuts are coming.

It can be daunting to message someone you haven’t spoken to in years or develop a distant contact into a relationship. Here are five people to email, with scripts to do it gracefully.

1) A member of your inner power circle

These are the professional Samaritans for when you need urgent advice, job leads or referrals—and fast. Ask yourself who could help if you were suddenly laid off, and get results?

Try this quick exercise to figure out who belongs here: Imagine you’ve just learned your job is on the chopping block. Take five minutes to write the names of six to eight people you would email first for help.

These are folks who know you well—close colleagues, former co-workers, mentors. Focus your list on the half-dozen who are enthusiastic networkers and have a proven record delivering good intel on industry developments.

Pick one person to email. Remember, this is someone you’d have no qualms asking to tap his or her network on your behalf—so don’t sweat the email too much. Ask them to lunch or a drink in the new year, or a 20-minute catch-up call.

Be clear about why you want to connect. You’re considering ways to grow your career, and would love his or her advice. Or, you want to hear about his recent transition to a new field because you’re interested in a similar move.

2) The influencer

Next, pick a strategic contact you know could be helpful to your career…if only you had a more solid rapport.

Don’t waste valuable words in the opening on compliments or lengthy explanations.

Make your ask, quickly and politely. And please avoid the cliché phrase, “Can I pick your brain?” Instead, try one of the following:

  • “I’d really appreciate your insight because you’ve been there.”
  • “I heard you speak/enjoyed what you wrote/liked what you said at the meeting, especially___. I would love to hear more.
  • “I’ve followed your work closely. What you did with____really resonated with me because I’m doing something similar.”

Point out any shared experiences, and be specific. You went to the same university, or are both women who trained in civil engineering. Mentioning commonalities might give them a better sense of how to help you.

“If you’re an Air Force Academy grad and you ask for time, I’m going to find it,” says Trier Bryant, co-founder of workplace consulting firm Just Work and an Academy grad who spent more than 15 years in the military.

3) The VIP

This is a higher-level professional with the ability to open the right doors, or get you to someone who can. It could be a fast-rising executive in your network. The former boss of your boss. That entrepreneur who commented on your LinkedIn post.

If you’ve never met, can a mutual acquaintance connect you? If so, offer to craft the note, or go ahead and send a brief paragraph on your bona fides and goals to guide them.

Get to the point quickly about who you are and what you want. The goal is to have your target respond “thoughtfully, in the moment, rather than delaying it indefinitely,” says Dorie Clark, an author who teaches executive education at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Columbia Business School.

For example: “I’m looking to go in this direction in my career and would like your advice.” Or, “I’m interested in how you overcame this business challenge as I navigate this industry.”

Make it easy for them to accept your request. “If you ask for a phone call, make it a 10-minute phone call,” Ms. Clark says.

4) That long-lost contact

Cue the awkwardness! You haven’t talked to this person in years and suddenly you’re parachuting into their inbox, hoping they’ll remember you and, ideally, forget how much time has passed since you’ve been in touch.

Don’t dance around the fact that it’s been a while, just embrace it, says Aimee Cohen, who runs Minneapolis executive-coaching and leadership-development firm ON Point Next Level Leadership. She’s opened notes with “Blast from the past,” or “I know you might faint at seeing my name in your inbox but___.”

You can also play on the pandemic whirlwind of the past few years: “I know that it’s only been three years but it feels like 100 since we’ve last connected.”

Make clear that you remain clued into their interests and expertise, and could be helpful. For example: “I’d love to catch up and hear more about what you’re on the hunt for these days.” Or, “I know it’s been a while, but I saw this podcast about triathlons and immediately thought of you. Are you still competing?”

The classic error is to reach out after a significant amount of time with a direct ask, such as wanting help with a job search or a recommendation. You want to be approaching them, “from a position of power, not panic,” Ms. Cohen says. Explain that you’re not looking yet, but would love to learn more about their role and experience.

5) The departing co-worker

When a co-worker says goodbye, it’s an opening. “Leaving a job is a moment of vulnerability” no matter how fabulous their next step is, says Michele Woodward, a Washington, D.C.-area executive coach.

Reaching out immediately is best, but responding to a goodbye note from further back can work, too. Try starting with, “I made a note to ask you what the first 90 days was like,” Ms. Woodward suggests, or, “I made a note to ask you how work is going.”

You could also pose a timely question such as, “How are you all handling return-to-office over there?” The goal is to reconnect, picking up where you left off and moving the relationship forward.

Plan for the Future

Master the cadence of keeping up with different kinds of contacts. Here’s how often Ms. Cohen, the executive coach in Minneapolis, recommends touching base:

  • Close contacts (your team colleague turned friend who left for a different company): Monthly
  • Midlevel contacts (The boss you worked with for a year before they got transferred to another department): Quarterly
  • Extended contacts (The guy from accounting you used to joke with by the water cooler): Twice yearly
  • Acquaintances (A vendor you worked with once, years ago): Annually, sending them a note around the holidays, for example

Set a goal of contacting three contacts every week. They can be someone already in your network who’s due for their check-in, or someone new you’re adding to the rotation.

—Kathryn Dill contributed to this article.


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Shares of retailers including Victoria’s Secret and Foot Locker are surging despite mixed holiday updates

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Retailers are making modest predictions about the holiday shopping season—and their stocks are going gangbusters in response.

Victoria’s Secret, Foot Locker, Ulta Beauty and Dollar Tree are among the companies that offered somewhat mixed assessments of the state of the shopper last week. Yet each received an ovation from investors.

Traders have piled into stocks en masse since a softer-than-expected inflation reading on Nov. 14 bolstered wagers that the Federal Reserve is done raising interest rates and is poised to cool the economy without tipping it into a recession. Treasury yields have sharply declined as well, giving equities a second wind.

The S&P 500 has risen 4.1% since the report, extending its gains for the year to almost 20%.

Many depressed sectors of the market, such as retailers, have risen even faster. The SPDR S&P Retail exchange-traded fund—which includes 78 retailers, from department stores and other apparel companies, to automotive and drugstores—has jumped about 13%. Victoria’s Secret has soared 52%, Foot Locker is up 50%, Ulta has risen 21% and Dollar Tree has added 12%. (Three of the four stocks have suffered double-digit percentage declines this year.)

Americans slowed their spending in October, according to last week’s consumer-spending data from the Commerce Department. But the early readings from the holiday shopping season have been more encouraging. U.S. shoppers spent $38 billion during the five days from Thanksgiving through the following Monday, up 7.8% from the same period last year, according to Adobe Analytics.

Many investors closely watch consumer spending because it is a major driver of economic growth. If spending is too strong, the Fed could be forced to raise interest rates again. Whereas, if spending is too weak, it could be a sign that the economy is entering a recession.

In the coming days, investors will look at U.S. service-sector activity for November and Friday’s monthly jobs report as they try to assess the strength of the economy and the market’s trajectory.

“The consumer has been resilient throughout it all,” said Jay Woods, chief global strategist at Freedom Capital Markets. “The economic news is now starting to back that up, that, ‘OK, we aren’t going to be in a recession. Things are getting a little bit better.’ And these stocks that had been beaten-down are finally catching a bid.”

Victoria’s Secret posted its second consecutive quarterly loss Wednesday, with the lingerie retailer facing a continued slump in sales. But the company forecast higher sales in the current quarter, sending shares up 14% the next day, their largest one-day percentage gain in more than two years. The stock is down 20% in 2023.

Footwear retailer Foot Locker said Wednesday that Black Friday sales were strong and it forecast an upbeat holiday shopping period, while reporting lower sales and profit for the third quarter. Its shares rose 16% that day, their biggest gain in more than a year, trimming their 2023 decline to 21%.

Cosmetic retailer Ulta on Thursday posted stronger-than-expected sales in the third quarter and raised the lower end of its sales and profit outlook for the year. The shares rose 11% in the following session, their best day since May 2022. They are up 0.6% for the year.

Dollar Tree reported Wednesday that same-store sales growth was weaker than analysts expected, but investors appeared to be encouraged that the discount retailer is seeing increases in customer traffic, even if basket sizes are shrinking. Its shares rose 4.4% that day and are off 11% in 2023.

Another reason why retail stocks have rallied? Warehouses have reduced merchandise, and store shelves aren’t spilling over with discounted goods.

John Augustine, chief investment officer at Huntington Private Bank, said higher interest rates and oil prices made him bearish on retail stocks over the summer. But with an easing macro environment, he believes retailers could be poised to do well.

“It seems like traffic is gonna be there for the holidays,” Augustine said. “Now can retailers make the same profit, earnings per share, with tighter inventory?”

Short sellers are licking their wounds after the recent rally. They lost about $120 million in November betting against the SPDR S&P Retail ETF, according to financial-analytics firm S3 Partners. That compares with a loss of $2.8 million through the first 10 months of the year. Short sellers borrow shares and sell them, expecting to repurchase them at lower prices and collect the difference as profit.

Many retail stocks still generally look cheap compared with the broader market. Victoria’s Secret is trading at 11.8 times its projected earnings over the next 12 months, while Foot Locker is at 16.2. The S&P 500’s multiple is 18.8.

Despite the recent excitement in markets, many investors caution that it is too soon to count on a soft landing for the economy. Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, recently cautioned that inflation could rise further and a recession isn’t off the table.

In the past 11 Fed rate-hiking cycles, recessions have typically started around two years after the Fed begins raising interest rates, according to Deutsche Bank. This hiking cycle started last March.

“It’s not an all-clear resurgence trade that we’re in right now,” said Brock Campbell, head of global research at Newton Investment Management. “This is gonna be a much more idiosyncratic stock picker’s group for a while.”


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