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New year, new you. That’s the philosophy many of us live by — after all, the start of another calendar year is an ideal time for fresh starts. We’re setting resolutions — ones we hope (fingers crossed) we’ll keep — and thinking of how we can kick the year off on the right foot.
For some professionals, it’s time to begin a new job hunt. Because many resolutions are job-related, and many organizations have freshly-established budgets for finding new talent, the first month of the year has been unofficially termed “Job Search January.”
There are, of course, pros and cons to beginning your job search in January. And there are some rules to adhere to.
This may sound obvious, but you shouldn’t go into Job Search January blind. Instead, you should take the time and energy to craft your strategy. Among other steps, your strategy should include:
• Researching the types of openings that match your skill set and interests that are available.
• Finding organizations that truly seem like good fits and making lists of which ones to target.
• Reaching out to mentors and contacts to help guide you and potentially provide references.
• Getting second opinions on various job materials.
• Considering where and how to target your efforts.
Those holiday parties and family events aren’t just about mingling with your friends — they’re also a great time to practice networking and make new connections!
While you don’t want to be heavy-handed about it, there are ways to bring up your job search naturally in conversation. For example, chances are, acquaintances and people you haven’t met before will ask you what you do for work, and that’s a great opportunity to share that you work in X industry doing Y and are currently on the hunt for your next role. You never know who might be able to offer advice or help.
The beginning of the year is abundant with job openings and opportunities, and you want to make sure you don’t miss anything that could be the right fit for you. In addition to combing job boards, set up job alerts for openings that contain your desired title and similar titles, skill sets, and responsibilities. That way, you’ll be among the first to hear about openings and can apply immediately, getting a head start.
When did you last update your resume? Are you still using the same cover letter template for EVERYTHING? And what about your LinkedIn profile?
Now is the ideal time to give your application materials a refresh. Ensure the skills you’ve gained in the past year — or few years, as the case may be — are on your resume and LinkedIn profile, add any certifications and work experience and ask friends and family for their opinions. You might even add a new headshot to your profile.
Remember that many organizations will be on hiatus over the holidays, and even if they post openings in December, you probably won’t hear anything for a bit. Be patient, understanding that recruiters and hiring managers are getting back into the swing of things after vacation. Understand, too, that they may well be wading through piles of resumes (which, again, is why you need to ensure yours stands out!).
And don’t be discouraged if you don’t clinch that coveted role in January. It’s a highly competitive environment and time, and all job searches take time. Keep persevering — that job is out there, and putting forth the right amount of time and effort will help you find it!
This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is an editor and writer based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab-mix Hercules. She primarily focuses on education, technology and career development. She has worked with Penguin Random House, Fairygodboss, CollegeVine, BairesDev and many other publications and organizations. Her humor writing has appeared in the Belladonna, Weekly Humorist, Slackjaw, Little Old Lady Comedy, and Points in Case. She also writes fiction and essays, which have appeared in publications including The Memoirist and The Avalon Literary Review. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.