Something about January signifies starting anew. New workout regimen, new eating habits and oftentimes, new job. The early part of the year is a great time to look for a job. Not only are you past the craziness of the holidays, you likely got your bonus (if you're so fortunate) from your current employer and can focus on what's next in climbing the career ladder. As someone who's gotten many jobs this time of year, I'd like to offer some of my job hunting tips. Good luck and may the paycheck be with you! #1 - Network
Most obvious and yet, often most overlooked. If you're able, tell everyone you know that you're looking for a new job. (Obviously discretion is up to you and use common sense here). Email old bosses and colleagues to see about meeting for lunch. This can be under the guise of catching up but also you can slip in that you are thinking about a move and ask them their advice. A great way to get them thinking about contacts for you without overtly asking for help.
Get on LinkedIn. If you aren't already, set up an account on LinkedIn and start finding connections. Connect with almost everyone you've ever worked with and known. The site can even search your email contacts and Facebook contacts and suggest connections for you based on that. It allows you to show off your expertise with a brief bio and house your resume so employers can not only find you, you're also advertising your skills in your sleep. It's a must for anyone with an office job. And many companies post jobs on LinkedIn so you can find jobs as well as promote your talents. Additionally, if you know the company you might like to work for, you can see if one of your connections might have a connection. Then they can introduce you to the person via email and viola, connection made! It's like 6 degrees of workplace separation.
# 2 Resume refresh
If you've been at your current job for a while, chances are your resume isn't up to date. Not only do you need to add your most recent role (if you have the job description from when you were hired, this is a great cheat sheet for your resume), but it's worth a total refresh of your resume as well. Review it for jargon - be sure you don't use the same words over and over (managed, communicated, detail-oriented, turn-key, strategic thinker). If you have a top statement about your experience, make sure it reflects your current achievements as well. Remember, the only time to brag is in your resume and at an interview. You want to sell yourself. You want to pat yourself on the back. It's the difference between confidence and arrogance.
#3 Interview Clothes
Depending on what industry you work in, certain clothes may be required for the interview. I always err on the more conservative and more overdressed side. You can't go wrong with a good suit - for men and women. If you don't own one, now's the time to invest. Get something simple and elegant in a dark color and then you can add your own style with a colored shirt, shoes and/or accessories. You want to make an impression but it should be for your work, not your wardrobe.
#4 Online Search
Yes, looking online is a necessary evil. But it's not very successful. Experts still say that networking and word of mouth is still the best way to find a job. The saying, "it's not what you know, but who you know" holds true, even in the digital world. Trolling sites for jobs is not a bad idea, it just shouldn't be your only method. Search terms and keyword descriptions are not always consistent and could mean the difference between finding and missing your dream job.
As a writer, I'm a spellcheck and grammar nut! But even if you aren't a wordsmith, with tools available through your computer and word processing programs, THERE ARE NO EXCUSES for misspellings or typos. The fastest way to get your resume tossed in the trash is a typo. It's the #1 HR no-no. If you don't have the sharpest eye, ask a friend or 12 to check over your cover letter and resume for mistakes. You have one chance to put your best foot forward and you don't want to blow it by listing your past history as Experient.
Good luck and we'd love to hear about your search and what's worked for you.