Gear up for the big January job race
Published: 24 Dec 2015 By Georgina Bloomfield
So, Christmas and New Year are over, the last time you got paid was in the middle of December and you’re already bored of hearing what everyone got up to over their Christmas break from work. That’s right; it’s the beginning of January and arguably the most miserable time of year. It’s also the most common time of year to look for another job. Whether it’s because of a New Year’s resolution or because you’re sick of the thought of staying in your job until Christmas rolls around again, you may be back onto the job hunt. Some of us will be more active than others, but it’s important not to be too passive during this period as you may be losing out on some good opportunities. We’ve got some top tips for you on how to limber up for the big job race of January!
Get your networking hat on
Over the Christmas period, use the time with friends and family to get some leads on possible job opportunities. You don’t have to make a big deal about being a job seeker, but perhaps just casually mentioning that you’re looking for a change of direction in your career could potentially open up a lot of doors. A lot of us don’t want to talk about work whilst we’re on a break from it, so don’t go overboard about the job talk. Getting tips from family and friends can be a good way to kick off your job search. Warning: This may cause said relatives and friends to constantly ask about your job search for the next year or two, so be careful who you talk about it with!
Before a job search at any time of year, make sure you take some time to check out your references. Are they relevant for the industry/sector you’re applying in? Are their contact details correct and up to date? They may be people you haven’t contacted since your last job hunt, so make sure to touch base with them and let them know you’ll be using them as a reference again. If not, then make sure you get hold of some good contacts that can potentially be used as references. Most employers don’t contact references until you’ve accepted a job offer, but if you want to keep your job hunt on the down-low, it might be a good idea not to use your boss as a reference.
Dust off your CV and change your LinkedIn profile
This sounds fairly obvious and is usually the first step many job seekers make. If you need some tips about improving your LinkedIn profile, have a look at our article here. Don’t just change your employment information, change your profile picture and add as much relevant detail as you can. Look into previous jobs too, and what you may have put for your description there. LinkedIn is all about key words, so use as many of these as possible (such as particular CRMs/CMSs or other software names) As for your CV, try and open a brand new document and redo the entire thing. You’ll be surprised at what is no longer relevant and how much space you’ve freed up to include your recent achievements and new skills. You don’t need to do this in one sitting, but if you get a start on it now you’ll be in a far better position for the beginning of January.
Speaking of updating documents, another administration part of getting ready to job hunt includes getting your cover letters ready. You can read our article here on how to create a really good cover letter.
As for other aspects of social media, have a quick trawl through your Twitter and Facebook feeds. Make sure your privacy is to your liking, and anything that can be seen by the public is appropriate. Future employers will most likely be searching you on these channels, so it’s important to come across in the best light possible.
If you have a portfolio, make sure you have a look through it and give it a refresh. If you’ve undertaken any new projects in your current job, include all of these with any accompanying images and files that may be of interest to an employer. Keep digital and hard copy versions of this, so you can take it with you to interviews and email it to employers. If you have a blog or website, again give it a once over and update it as much as you can. Also, if you have any personal business cards, get these updated if need be so you can use them at networking events.
Take advantage of the January sales
Before you know it you’ll have landed a job interview and you won’t have a clue what to wear. Take advantage of the January sales and get some new clothes suitable for interviews. Online sales are more popular than ever and you never know when you’ll need it!
There’s always something new to learn when it comes to careers. Are there any talks you can attend soon or books/blogs you can read and catch up on? The more savvy you are about the sector you wish to work in, the quicker you can land that dream job. If there are any online training courses, get signed up! January is an extremely popular time of year for job hunting, so plenty of courses online may be discounted. Ask your current employer if they have any internal training events coming up – you may be able to take advantage of these before you leave.
Competition in January is fierce for jobs, so to stay ahead of the curve you have to get prepared as soon as possible! You don’t want to be caught off guard by a lack of interview wear or an out of date portfolio. Good luck!