Updated: Dec 11, 2018
If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to improve your career prospects in 2019, January and February can be one of the best times of the year to look for a new job. At the beginning of the year, many companies receive their new budgets and financial plans for the year ahead and as a result, hiring managers have a better understanding of whether they can afford to recruit new team members.
With unemployment being at an all-time low, the job market is heavily in favour of candidates however, with more job seekers actively seeking employment in the New Year, competition for coveted positions will naturally increase. Employers look for and hire people who will add value to their organisation, so a job seekers primary goal is to stand out from the competition.
So, before you are tempted to find your old CV and dust it off to add your most recent positions and accomplishments to it, take a few minutes to read through these 5 steps to optimise the success of your job search.
1.Clarify your Goal
To begin with, you need to understand what you stand for and what’s important to you. This requires for you to look inward and ask yourself some questions, to clarify the following;
The skills and strengths that define you
Your areas for development (possible barriers to achieving your goal)
Your accomplishments (career, educational and extra-curricular)
What drives you (your motivators, values and your purpose)
Once you have a clear understanding of the above, compare these to your aspirations and goals. By doing this you will be able to spot gaps, enabling you to take the right steps to improve your position, whilst identifying your unique points of difference.
2.Sharpen your Self-Marketing Tool-Kit
Assuming you now know what you want to do, give your CV an objective review. Does it reflect the best version of you?
Remember, a CV is a marketing brochure about you, with its primary purpose being to motivate a hirer to want to meet you. It should not tell the reader everything about your career, a common mistake which job seekers make. The average time a hirer will take to review your CV is between 6 to 10 seconds, so your CV should draw the reader’s eyes to the most important parts you wish them to see.
To create an effective CV, consider the following;
Talk directly to the hirer, make it relevant to them.
Motivate your hirer to want to find out more by whetting their appetite.
Show the hirer how you will make a difference. Provide examples.
Address your hirer's needs
Include your accomplishments and provide quantifiable evidence
Avoid clichés, you will sound like everyone else. Instead prove them by providing evidence.
Provide context around the companies you’ve worked at (industry, award winning, staff headcount, etc), this could then make your experience more relatable.
Your LinkedIn Profile
Ensure your LinkedIn Profile reflects the content on your up-dated CV
LinkedIn Profiles that have photos are 14 times more likely to be viewed than those without. Choose the right professional headshot photo that reflects how you wish to be perceived.
One way your LinkedIn Profile differs from your CV is that you have the space to tell your professional story in more detail. Although, be mindful to keep this section concise.
Writing and receiving recommendations reinforces your story and authenticity.
Your Cover Letter
The cover letter is your opportunity to clearly explain why you want to work at that specific company, rather than at any company. All too often, cover letters (or e-letters) are not included or worst of all, written in haste. You need to put as much care into writing your cover letter as your CV. A cover letter reinforces your CV, makes a positive first impression and explains why you are suited to the role.
3. Enhance your Value
Research the Market
Familiarise yourself with your chosen industry also your desired career. Aim to understand the level of demand for a candidate with your skills and what experience will be required to help you plan what you need to do to increase your value. Research industry publications, company websites, social media and relevant articles.
Increase your skills
During your job search, it’s a good idea to consider taking a short on-line course to increase your strengths, overcome any weaknesses and show initiative whilst seeking your next job opportunity.
If you are not currently in work, you could also consider volunteering or temporary work to maintain or enhance your experience.
4. Build your network
Networking is still one of the best effective methods for securing work. Many jobs don’t even get advertised and are successfully filled through ‘word of mouth’.
Now you are looking for a new job, it’s time to be proactive. Approach friends, family, old colleagues and contacts with the intention of asking for their support. Attend networking events, job fairs and engage with relevant professional groups online.
Contact reputable Recruitment Consultants. They are able to provide access to industry specific networks whilst offering a variety of opportunities. Not only are they experts in their fields, they are there to help you find a new job (and will do so in confidence).
5. Ensure your on-line reputation reflects you
Creating a positive online presence with well looked after social media pages is essential. According to a recent ‘Career Builder Survey’, more than half of employers have found content on social media that caused them not to hire a candidate. Ensure your social media presence indicates that you are a reliable and hireable candidate.
With the world of work rapidly evolving, there’s more to getting hired now than just qualifications and previous experience. Preparing your job search well will help you to eliminate the extraneous and enable you to speak simply to your target employer, letting them know how you can help to make their business better and what value you can bring.