New Year, New Career: 5 Ways to Boost Your January Job Search

The Christmas lights are on and the ads are well and truly in full force; Christmas is almost here. Beyond the nearing excuse for over-indulgence and celebratory festive antics, this time of year is when many of us pause, reflect and plan for the year ahead.

That isn’t necessarily music to your ears if you’re keen to find a new job.

The new year new you competition is afoot

Not only is December the quietest month for hiring, January is notoriously the busiest time of year for job applications. Recruiters will receive a much higher volume of applications, so standing out above the competition is about to get a lot tougher.

The good news is that the same ‘new year new you’ craze that causes more people to look for a new job will also lead to more job opportunities. In fact, research from Brighton’s Crunch Accounting revealed that most Brits are likely to hand in their resignation letters on January payday. This may not be ideal for employers but it does mean there will be more job openings on the horizon, which opens up a great opportunity for you to get in the door early.

If you want to increase your chances of getting a job in 2019 there are some things you can do before Christmas to keep your job search on track. So tuck into this job hunting festive treat and set yourself up for a new year new career kickstart.

1. Give your CV a little sparkle

Recruiters love it when they get a CV. Especially when the envelope contains lots of glitter. That's what I heard anyway.
Recruiters love it when they get a CV. Especially when the envelope contains lots of glitter. That’s what I heard anyway.

By this we don’t mean covering it in glitter, sorry not sorry. It really is just a festive way of saying use this slower period to review your CV and make sure it’s top notch. Your CV is your passport to a new job. Get it right and you could be well on your way to the next job, get it wrong and you could be missing out on your dream job, even if you’re the right fit.

There is so much conflicting advice on CV formats. Here’s some top tips to help you give your CV some added sparkle. Not just by recruiters, but also by Applicant Tracking Software (ATS tracking) used by some recruiters:

  • Use a professional font and good spacing
  • Keep it to two pages maximum and font size 11 minimum
  • Don’t be tempted to embed images or media
  • Use a simple MS Word format
  • Add a customisable personal statement at the beginning
  • Include the most information on ‘relevant’ experience only
  • Use first person or ‘passive’ voice to avoid repetitive phrasing
  • Avoid cliche terms like ‘team player’ that could be off putting to recruiters

2. Mingle at Christmas networking events

You got to mingle with your peers, peeps. Look at the fun they are having!
You got to mingle with your peers, peeps. Look at the fun they are having!

One of the best things about living in Brighton is how easy it is to tap into the buzzing social scene. Christmas is the perfect opportunity to attend some of the best networking events in the city.

Every single person you meet could take you one-step closer to that perfect job. Even if they don’t know it yet. Every business goes through change in the New Year and making that connection now could make all the difference. There are more tips on how to find local events in our recent blog on 5 ways to kickstart your digital career in Brighton.

3. Create a ‘dream job wish list’ for Santa

Santa has a high turnover of elves. He is always short of good staff.
Santa uses a lot of seasonal staff. Ensure your CV is ‘elfy with a spruce up.

Okay, so Santa may not come down your chimney with your dream job offer, but this is a good opportunity to really think about what you want. That includes the specific job you want but also Brighton employers that you would like to work for.

This will help you have a clearer idea of what you want, so you can hyper focus your job search before Christmas and beyond. Better yet, you could speculatively send your CV to potential employers in the New Year to get on their radar before any new openings have even been listed.

4. Give your digital presence a makeover

Spruce up your online presence my friend.
Don’t do what this person is doing. Spruce up your online presence my friend.

If you haven’t logged into your LinkedIn profile for a while then now’s the time to do it. Not only are recruiters likely to double check that your LinkedIn is consistent with your CV, over 90% of them use it to find candidates. Cross check your new sparkly CV with your LinkedIn profile. It’s also a good idea to notch up those endorsed skills and get some recommendations while you’re at it.

It’s not just LinkedIn you need to think about though, your entire digital presence needs a professional nip and tuck. Whether you like it or not recruiters and hiring managers are likely to look at your social media accounts, especially if you’re applying for a marketing job. In a GlassDoor article career coach Hallie Crawford says this is to assess your personality fit for the company, she said:

“It can help them get a more accurate idea about who you are outside of your resume – a more personal view into your life… A resume can tell them your qualifications, but your social media profile can help them determine your personality type and if you would be a good fit for company culture.”

Let’s be honest we all do it when we meet someone new. Just like that moment you pre-check a Tinder or Grinder date or have a nose at a friend of a friends profile, they’re looking for red flags. This doesn’t mean you have to suit up for your latest selfie, but it does mean you need to change your privacy settings or remove any information or posts that could impact your career search. It’s also worth doing a quick Google search of your full name using an ‘incognito window’ to make sure there are no old social profiles or surprise lurking in the interwebs.

5. Set some job search New Year’s resolutions

Stick to those resolutions. Or else.
Resolution #1: Hang out in coffee bars laughing at cat videos. Check.

Get a new job in 2019. Sorted, right? Wrong.

While this seems like a logical option for your New Year’s resolution list, in reality it isn’t very helpful. It’s just too broad and lands itself in a ‘should’ category that researchers believes causes over 80% of us to give up on our resolutions by February.

The research also found that if participants were getting immediate rewards from their new habits, they would be more likely to stick to them. By that rule, consider creating some manageable goal based resolutions.

For example, you could include:

  • Apply for at least 5 jobs a week
  • Contact all of the employers on my top 5 list in the first week of January
  • Go to at least 2 networking events in January
  • Get at least 3 interviews by February
  • Customise my CV and cover letter for every single job application

Setting some specific goals will help you remain focused and actually make real progress with your career search.

Timing is everything, get a head start

December may be a quiet month, but these tips should help you keep yourself busy and put you in a good position to go full throttle in January.

And remember, there are of course going to be exceptions to the rule, so it’s still a good idea to apply for Jobs now. Some recruiters and hiring managers may even want to find the right candidate and have them start fresh in January.

Now go forth and be savvy, be bold and bauble them over with your well-organised Christmas preparation and revived energy in the New Year.