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New year, new job: one of the most common mantras for job searchers in January. The time of new beginnings and self-reflection can be a great period to evaluate your career and think about your future goals, both personally and professionally. But even though you might be mentally prepared to make a change in your career, there are still some things that you will require in order to get organized prior to pursuing that next position. January is a great time for a fresh start, however you will want to set yourself up for success in the process.
Here are some things to help kick start your search
1. Know what you’re looking for
The idea of a new job is great, but do you specifically know what type of role you are seeking? Think about what you want this new job to look like and what skills you’ve developed since you last applied for a job. Keeping an open mind is great, but it is recommended to narrow down your job search to a short-list of industries and roles that fit with your work experience (unless you plan on taking any additional courses to boost your skills). This is also a time to take personal requirements into consideration. Do you need to work close to home? Do you need your evenings available to take care of your children or an elderly parent? Don’t forget to take any non-negotiable, personal responsibilities into account when you’re establishing what you want in your next job.
One of the first things you’ll want to do after you’ve nailed down the type of job you’re looking for is to update your resume. As the first interface between you and a potential employer, you will want to ensure that your resume includes your most recent work experience and that it highlights the skills that are most relevant to any job for which you are applying. However, in the age of the Internet, simply updating your resume may not be sufficient. A potential employer will likely research your online profile(s), even if they receive your resume as a hard-copy document. You will want to make sure that your LinkedIn page and other social media profiles are up-to-date and portray you in a positive and professional light.
3. Prepare for the interview
Once you start applying for jobs, you will need to be prepared in the event that you receive a call for a job interview. Even if you’re still in the planning phase, it’s never too early to get comfortable in an interview setting. As a general rule, it’s best to have an in-person interview, if possible. Ask a friend or a mentor to help you develop some possible questions, and conduct a mock interview to help organize your thoughts and get more comfortable in that interaction. You can also take a video of yourself answering possible interview questions or even practice in front of a mirror. This might seem silly at first but you definitely don’t want to lose out on a great job because you were unprepared or uncomfortable in an interview.
You may have had a coffee with your mentor during the holidays, or perhaps you met a great industry contact at a holiday party last month, but your networking needs to continue beyond the December break. The start of a new year is a very popular time for job searching, so any personal connections you have can help you stand out from the pack. If you’re thinking of making a shift in your career, send a post-holiday note to any key contacts you have that might help you navigate any job opportunities that have come up, or are on the horizon for the beginning of the year.
Just because you’re ready to move forward with your job search doesn’t mean it’s going to happen quickly, even if you’ve thoroughly prepared. Many companies are just getting back into the swing of things in the New Year and it may take a while to actually land that position. Stay motivated through the process, while also assessing the jobs you’re applying for to make sure they align with your existing experience.
In summary, preparation is key so don’t neglect your resume and your social media profiles, and take the time to evaluate exactly what job is right for you and your future career aspirations. And finally, stay motivated during this time to make sure you land a great position.