The end of the year is typically a slow time for the job market, but don’t let that slow you down! While you may be unlikely to receive a job offer between now and the new year, the holidays are the perfect time to get organised and kick-start your job search for 2020.
Here are seven things you can do over the festive season to supercharge your job search.
- Research your options: Review job ads on sites such as Seek and LinkedIn. You don’t need to actually apply, but seeing what’s out there now will help you tailor your approach when the time comes. Play around with search options using different titles, industries and keywords. Open your search out to other locations or industries. You may not find exactly what you’re looking for, but some positions will be a close match. Read each relevant ad to understand all the requirements. This will help you decide what’s important to include in your application and determine if you have any major skills gaps that you need to think about how to address.
- Get organised: Today’s job market is competitive and multifaceted. Use your downtime to establish automated job searches, identify relevant recruiters, update your application materials (see tip 4 for more on this) and enhance your online presence. Having these things in place will help you stand out from other candidates when it’s time to apply. For tips on developing a structured job search strategy that helps you connect with recruiters and employers, read our previous article, Winning Job Search Strategies and start planning.
- Understand the hidden job market: Many of the jobs available are never advertised, so accessing the hidden job market is an important piece of the puzzle. The key here is building your networks. Establish connections via LinkedIn with the recruiters you identified in the previous step, and create a standard pitch that explains why you want to connect and what you can offer. Write a list of companies you’d like to work for, then read their websites’ careers pages and follow them on social media. To start building your profile, look for opportunities to network with others in your industry, such as through LinkedIn Groups, and contribute to discussions.
- Update your application materials: This includes your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile. Our career advice blog is packed with tips on writing a great resume that’ll get you noticed. We also recommend writing a customised cover letter for every job you apply for, which addresses as many job requirements as possible. Use the holidays to prepare generic cover letters and/or paragraphs that you can then modify to suit specific roles. Many recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates, so optimise your profile with keywords, so you can be found. Include a current professional photo and try to complete every section. Don’t waste your About section (previously called the Summary section) – use it to highlight your key skills, experience and strengths, and create a picture of who you are and the value you offer.
- Prepare for interviews: A big mistake many job seekers make is not preparing for an interview. Use the holidays to brainstorm the types of questions you might be asked and how you can articulate your successes. Think about examples that demonstrate your strengths, accomplishments and how you’ve handled different work situations. Having a bank of examples to draw on will increase your confidence and improve your performance. To help you formulate your examples, read our previous article about using the STAR approach. You can also find numerous articles on preparing for an interview, as well as our ‘how to answer’ series, which looks at common interview questions.
- Build your network: Connecting with existing and new contacts is a powerful way to uncover work opportunities. While the holidays might not be the best time to reach out to everyone, you can use the time to plan how you’ll grow your network in the new year. For example, you might draft emails that can be sent later, write a list of people to call in the new year, learn how to use LinkedIn and Facebook more effectively, and/or research face-to-face and online networking groups you could join.
- Assess your social media: Many recruiters and employers look up candidate’s social media pages as part of their screening process, so ensure you’ve set privacy settings to an appropriate level. Also make sure that if potential recruiters and employers can see your feed, the content is appropriate and won’t hurt your chances of securing an interview.
Today’s job market is competitive and complex so being prepared is key. Take advantage of the quiet holiday period to get organised and develop a job search strategy, and you’ll be ready to go in the new year!
Do you need help developing a standout resume, detailed job search strategy or professional LinkedIn profile? Perhaps you’d like to work on your interview skills? See our Resume Writing, Job Search Coaching and Interview Training services to find out more.
Katie Roberts gift vouchers are also available and make an inspiring Christmas gift for friends or family.