It’s so hard to believe that we are almost done with 2016. I’m still in awe that next week is Thanksgiving – it feels like November just began! With that being said, this is the time that many people will decide to make a career move in the new year. If you fall into that category, now is the time to get started.
Many people will wait until the new year begins to think about finding a new job. I will say that you can get the advantage by planning and making the move now. Most organizations have already planning, or are in the final stages of, for what their labor needs are. You can beat the competition by being prepared so you can hit the ground running, if you decide to wait.
The end of the year is often the time when hiring managers are taking time to wind things up and, due to the holidays, don’t put major plans in their books. This means they will have time to review candidates and interview. Planning now, as I stated earlier, is vital to finding and landing a new job quicker.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Plan your schedule – meaning, put this in your calendar, time you will spend for your job search activities. By doing so, you will give this the same priority as you do shopping or appointments you need to make. You need to give a job search the same focus and commitment.
- Review – spend time reviewing your past accomplishments and skills that you’ve used so far, and how they will relate to a new position you want. Review job descriptions for that job to see what the employer both requires and desires to see if you match; what skills do you need to improve on or education you need to have that will align with that position. You can certainly start to work on those. By knowing what you offer, you can work to translate this into language that will appeal to a potential employer.
- Get your materials together – these include: your resume – time to update, add/delete, etc. This is your time to shine so make it great. If you aren’t good with this, hire a resume writer who can make you stand out. This also includes your cover letter and references (yes, they do check them). If you have any supporting materials, get those together; this might include projects you worked on, graphics you designed, and the like.
- Practice – as you will be interviewing, practice your skills by getting questions you may be asked, as well as questions you will ask, so you will have ready answers and sound more at ease. Get your ‘stories’ together, as behavioral questions are asked to see how you’ve handled certain situations you may deal with in the workplace. Remember, employers are looking at how you will fit in with their culture so the more polished you are, the more you will stand out.
- Research – include in your job search looking at either particular jobs or companies that would fit with you and then hone in on them. Reach out to those, as you will be less frustrated from feeling overwhelmed and going for ‘just any’ job; you can learn more about those organizations to help you know if it will align with your needs and speak to the employer as they do want to know what you know about them. We need to align our job tasks with the culture so this is a critical piece.
- Get networking – once you identify either the job and/or the company, look at who you may know that works in them and reach out to let them know of your intent. Begin talking to people to let them know and see who they may know and can refer you to; find networking events to attend to get connected to people. These can include: professional association meetings that are industry-related; alumni functions; Meetup groups; Eventbrite functions; or church functions, to name a few.
- Set a target date – as part of your schedule, set a date that you would like to be in the new job (be realistic). This will make it more compelling to do the work involved when we have a finish date; one way this will help is to use Everest goal setting, where you work backwards, which helps you to identify all the steps you took that got you the position. Also, set the start date (today?) and begin
These are just a few steps I recommend. Even if you want to wait to change jobs until the new year, don’t delay in getting prepared as it will allow you to hit the ground running once January begins. Happy job hunting!