It is easy to dream up excuses around holiday time and tell yourself you will start your new job search after January 1st, but the holidays are actually an excellent time to make preparations for the New Year so you can hit the ground running.
During the holiday season, most people have a little more personal time at home, away from the prying eyes of their employers. In order to prepare for a thorough and comprehensive job search, it is important to spend time NOW to optimize your efforts. If you wait until after the 1st, you will likely find yourself behind the eight ball.
I recommend that candidates who are planning a job change, take the following key steps:
- Clean up your career documents: Make sure you have a résumé that is a true reflection of your capabilities and sets you apart from the competition. Revise and update your cover letter. If you are an executive leader, consider creating a professional bio that showcases your key achievements, giving the reader a 30,000 ft. view of who you are and what you offer.
- Update your social media information: Your accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and any specialty sites should all have the same photo. If you have modified your résumé, be sure that your job titles and dates correspond correctly on your LinkedIn account. Be certain any personal data on Facebook, that a prospective employer might see, does not reflect negatively on your brand image.
- Start making a list and checking it twice: No, I don’t mean a naughty or nice list for Christmas gifts. This list should be of prospective employers, along with the names of hiring managers and recruiters. Taking a proactive approach to job search will allow you to expand your reach in the New Year.
While many hiring managers may be on vacation, now is the perfect time to work on important preliminary hiring manager research. Spend the time and effort to compile information that will help you get your résumé into the right hands. Investigate résumé distribution options as well.
- Consider some professional career coaching: In preparation for interviewing, hiring a career coach can be an excellent idea. If you have a loved one who will be job hunting soon, you might even want to get them a few coaching sessions as a gift. Career coaching is a valuable tool to help enhance your phone and face-to-face interviewing skills. By learning how to answer tough interview questions, you will optimize your chances of job search success.
The holidays should be time spent with family and friends for enjoyment, but they can also be an opportunity to get your career in gear for the New Year. Plan ahead to allow yourself the time needed to polish your presentation, improve your personal brand, and gain a competitive advantage you deserve in the marketplace. Happy Holidays!
Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC is President of Careers Done Write, a premier career services provider focused on developing highly personalized career roadmaps for senior leaders and executives across all verticals and industries.