"WHY SHOULD I HIRE someone in late December when they can't possibly add productivity to my company this calendar year? They will only add to headcount and expenses that need to be reported," employers often reason. That's why by this time of year, most all the hiring is done, and job searches are typically put on hold until January.
But, this doesn't mean that as a job hunter you should be idle! Every indication suggests that hiring will pick up as the new year begins, and if you want to use that opportunity to move your career forward, you should take a hard look at yourself and answer these questions:
1. Are you prepared to invest the time and energy it takes to do a serious job hunt?
Even in the best possible scenario where you are recruited out of the blue, obtaining a job offer takes a LOT of work. You need to understand your own story. And that doesn't mean reviewing all the things you are expected to do for your current and former job. You need to take the value you add to an organization, matched with your personality type, your skills and your past experiences to create the incredible story of YOU!
The end of the year is a great time to look back and get a better perspective on your roles. How have you contributed to the successes of your teams and overall organization? Write it down! These are the things that make you stand out.
What things bring excitement to your job? On the other end, if you are feeling burnt out, undervalued or just plain bored then it's probably time to figure out a better path for you. What skills and experiences do you possess that are transferable, and what more do you need to do in order to open that pathway to your future success?
2. Are your resume and LinkedIn up to date?
Does your resume have lots of "responsible for" or "managed" statements? If so, rework them so you begin with an active verb that shows what you have done, not a job description of what you were supposed to do.
Failure to have a LinkedIn presence AND fully optimize it has become a cardinal sin for anyone who seeks to move forward. When you add detail to each of your positions, complete your skills section, provide a personalized summary section which highlights your top accomplishments, you'll make yourself searchable by hiring managers and recruiters.
3. Research the companies you want to work for
I know all of you out there get the itch when you see an ad for a job there's a button that encourages you to just submit your resume, or "Easy Apply". And many of you spend your weekends applying to as many jobs as you can because you think this will bolster your chances of success. WHOA - hold on!
No matter how close a fit you think you might be, you'll always be a stronger candidate when you network your way into consideration rather than submitting a blind application. Here's where your LinkedIn network and research comes into play. Look on your profile and see you who are connected with, especially second degree (then you share other connections). Does anyone work at the companies you want to work at? GREAT! Start up a conversation and ask more information about the company culture, challenges faced, etc.
If you capitalize on these holiday weeks to do your research, and enhance your resume and LinkedIn presence, you'll be setting the stage for success next year.