Though we’ve previously discussed why you shouldn't stop job hunting in December, some people still prefer to search for jobs in January. So, if you’re in the market for a new job and don’t want to start till the New Year, there are some things you should be crossing off your checklist now. Then, come January 1st, when it is time to begin looking for a new job, you will be fully prepared!
Between attending parties and shopping for gifts, take some time to prepare for your January job hunt with these seven essential steps.
1. Spend time with friends and family
There is no denying that the holiday season is busy. Most of your free time is spent with family and friends, celebrating at parties, and exchanging gifts. Enjoy it! However, use your time wisely. By mingling, you can learn how to network and prepare for interviews. Some of your relatives you haven't seen in a while might ask, “what kind of job are you looking for?”. Instead of saying, “oh anything”, get comfortable talking about your skills and goals. When asked why you applied for that role or what your strengths are, those same answers you practiced with your family or friends will come in handy during an interview.
Plus, don't discount the value of networking with your friends and family. You never know who they know and if you give a good elevator pitch, you may get an introduction you didn't expect.
2. Make a check list of things that are important to you
The job search process can quickly become a blur of job listings, companies, and positions - before you know it, you're applying to everything that seems half-legit. You could easily end up with an unsatisfying job if you don't research the company you're applying for.
Be sure to take some time in the last weeks of the year to figure out what companies really interest you and what you are looking for in your next job.
Research what jobs are out there for you and what companies you ideally would want to work for. Consider the average salary for the position you're interested in, the company's culture, as well as what past or current employees have to say about its benefits when pursuing a new job. When you conduct this research, you will know right away if you are going to be happy at a job or company before you apply.
Whatever your preferences are, make a list of company names and types of roles that appeal to you. It will help you stay focused (are you really interested in this company and position, or are you just looking for any job at all?) and get you excited about landing a job at one of your dream companies.
3. Revamp your CV
The next step to landing a job is to update and personalise your resume so hiring managers can see how qualified you are for the job role you have applied for. You can always rework your CV the next time you're watching Home Alone on the couch. All you need to do is pull out your laptop and get started.
You should consider going back over the year (or however long it's been since your last update), and include any achievements and accomplishments you've made recently, and remove anything no longer relevant.
4. Give your social media a fresh start
If you have an updated resume, you will be able to transfer those bullet points to your LinkedIn profile in no time. Don't forget to fill out the rest of your profile as well. Add your headline, summary, and professional photo, as well as joining a few groups (and being active in those groups). For those who do not have any recommendations, ask previous supervisors or co-workers who know your work well to give you some.
If you want to make a good impression on your future employer, you should also make sure your social media sites are up to snuff too, if you don't want your future boss to see it, delete it.
5. Get a head start on that dreaded cover letter
We all know that writing a cover letter can be a daunting task. To make it easier, create some sample cover letter templates for yourself when you see a job listing you're excited about applying for. Create a list of standout projects and accomplishments you can elaborate on (which is the hardest part anyway).
Once you find a job you want, all you'll need is a pre-written intro, a few accomplishments, and some research on the specific company and position, and you're done. It'll be a lot easier than starting from scratch each time.
6. Set your resolutions
We all make resolutions at the start of a new year, but writing down "get a new job" isn't exactly helpful. Think more actionable (and less intimidating) benchmark goals like "apply for three jobs per week" and "attend five networking events each month and meet five new people”. By meeting these smaller goals, you'll have an easier time accomplishing the overarching "new job" resolution.
7. Register with an agency
Recruitment agencies are always on the lookout for new talent to represent! Look for an agency that specialises in your industry and register with them! Finding a job is difficult enough as it is. Why not get some extra help from an agency with connections to the brands you want to work for? Direct contact through a recruiter, with the companies you are most suitable for, can help you avoid applying to multiple jobs and getting rejected.
With all your job search tools at the ready, goals in place, and a focused idea of what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to start your hunt full force as soon as you ring in the new year.