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Are You Prepared? An End-of-Year Checklist for Candidates

December 20, 2017 by Abbie Martin

The end of the year is typically considered a slow season for hiring and it can lull prospective job seekers into complacency. While it is true that companies do not usually post new roles until January, the end of the year is a great time to take steps to clean up your resume, improve your social media presence, and to network.

Whether you are preparing for a job search in the new year, or continuing an existing job search, now is the perfect time to refine your resume and get started.

Here are my top tips for staying in job-search shape.

#1. Find Your Job-Search Why

Get crystal clear on why you are looking for a new position. Why do you want to leave your current job? This is an important question that hiring managers like to ask, and they tend to read a lot into the answer. Don’t let the hiring manager feel that you are just trying to get out of a bad situation, so save the negativity for your friends and family! If you complain about your current employer, future employers will assume that you will eventually do the same to them.

#2. Know What You Are Looking For

As a job seeker, have a strong vision of what you are looking for, so you can weed out positions that aren’t right for you. Job searching is no longer like looking through the Sunday classifieds – it is easy to become inundated with options.

The more specific you can be about what you want, the better. Target specific jobs, roles, and locations. Be honest with what you need in terms of compensation, benefits, and commute, and know where you can be flexible. If you really need equity as part of the equation and the employer has a different perspective, cut off your negotiations right then to save everyone involved a lot of effort.

Developing a relationship with a recruiter can really help with dialing in these details so that you don’t waste a lot of time with something that won’t ultimately work for you.

#3. Refine Your Resume

With so many employers using automated systems to sort through applications, it is critical to refine and tailor your resume to the positions you want.

Before getting lost in the rabbit hole of the internet, write down the names of the jobs and companies you are interested in. Look at common keywords and skill set terms for your role and industry. Then tailor your resume to those keywords. Be prepared to make multiple versions of your resume – you may have to make a variation of it for each job you apply for! We live in an automated world now, and that extends to hiring as well.

#4. Update Online Profiles

As you assess and revise your resume, it also makes sense to update your online profiles. These should be more generic than your resume. They should not be tailored to a specific job, but also not so vague that no one can tell what you do.

Make yourself easy to be found by posting your resume on Indeed and on career boards appropriate to your industry. On LinkedIn, you can select the “open to new opportunities” button that tells recruiters you are receptive to a call and conversation. LinkedIn keeps this private from your current employer, but there is always a small risk to posting your availability online if your current company doesn’t know you are searching.

#5. Set Up Alerts

To save time and hassle, set up keyword alerts for locations, companies, and job titles using Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and career boards, as appropriate. Manage the alert frequency depending on how much time you have to devote to your search so that you don’t get overwhelmed with information. Schedule monthly check-in calls with your recruiter, both to stay updated on job availability and to keep your recruiter aware of any changes to your needs or circumstances.

#6. Network

Holiday events are fantastic opportunities to network. Put your intentions for the new year and a new job out to your network and you may find something great. Many companies give referral bonuses, so a current employee may be willing to be your champion at your dream organization. But only if they know you are looking!

#7. Do Something Positive

A job search can be exhausting and, at times, demoralizing. Instead of wallowing in negativity, do something to get in a positive headspace. Take an online class, try a new workshop or networking event, volunteer – anything to improve your skills and get you excited about your search.

At HireBetter, we want every candidate to find their next success story. Contact us so we can help you find yours.

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