"With the holidays coming up, I'll probably wait until January to prepare for a job search," one resume client told me. "Don't wait," I said. "December is new job search launch season!"
Welcome to December, historically when hiring slows down as people's thoughts turn to parties and time off. But December is also the perfect time to begin preparing for a new job search, because when hiring picks up again in January, you'll be ready to go and that means you're more likely to find a job fast.
If you are planning to launch a new job search, then here are some very important things you can do now that will give you a jumpstart later:
1, Create a vision.
What are you looking for in a job? Take some time to do what I call your Inner Job Search, until you have a vision of what you want in your next job. You can make lists, draw pictures or cut photos from magazines, but think big and make it feel as real as you can.
2, Make a plan.
The best job searches are systematic and focused. Create a plan for yourself. How much time will you spend on your job search? What websites will you use? Set some targets and goals for activities and make lists of people you want to network with and companies you want to talk to. Writing it down will make you feel more control.
3. Update your resume.
Notice this isn't the first thing to do? That's because you need to know what you want and have a plan before you can create a resume that opens the doors you want. If you're in the business world, it's probably worth looking into getting some professional help, too, which will save you time and get you a better job faster in the long run.
4. Complete your LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn is a critical place for you to have a strong presence, so use this time to expand your network. Send connection invitations to people you know, and update your profile to show you at your best. Make sure you have a great photo there, and notice how the writing style of LinkedIn profiles is generally more casual than resumes.
5. Set up a filing system.
You'll need a central place to manage a job search, and some kind of system for saving and filing job postings, and for tracking your applications. It doesn't matter if it's paper and manila folders or all on your iPhone, as long as it's easy for you to manage.
6. Do some casual job window shopping.
Give yourself a couple of weeks to just look at all kinds of job listings on job sites and company sites. Start a file of bookmarks of jobs that sound kind of interesting, but don't do anything more than that. You're just warming up first.
7. Make a resume business card.
A personal card that includes some brief highlights of what you do or what you're looking for, with your contact information and your photo, is a great way to cement who you are and what you do in the minds of people you meet.
8. Reconnect with your references.
People give better references when they're prepared for the call, and they'll feel better about vouching for you if you reach out to them before you need them. Now's a great time to send a message on Facebook or mail a holiday card to the people you'll use as references to touch base and let them know your new year may bring a new job search, too.
There's a lot more to prepare for a job search, but these are easy things that you can take care of during the down time of the holidays, so you're primed and ready to find a job fast when you hit the ground running come January.
You'll also want to check out:
- Use the Holidays to Jumpstart Your Job Search
- Right-This-Minute Career Resolutions You Can Start Now
- The Best of 2011: Top 10 Career Blogs Worth Reading Again
- 10 New Year's Resolutions That Will Recharge Your Life