Do you ever reach the end of a year only to realize that you accomplished none of your career goals? Have you been thinking about a move to a new job for ages, but doing nothing about it? Let 2018 be the year that you take control of your future.
Stop complaining about your current job, and instead, prepare yourself for a successful job search kick-off come the New Year. Begin getting your ducks in order after Thanksgiving. Yes, you read that right. Begin focusing on your career game during the utterly insane time period between Thanksgiving and New Years. If you focus on just one step per-week, as laid out below, you should be ready to rock come January 2nd.
Here’s the New-Job-In-2018 Game Plan to follow…
During week 1, focus on updating your resume.
While fine-tuning will have to happen as you begin tailoring each resume to the specifics called for in job advertisements, you can use this first week to add the specifics of your current job to the most recent version of your resume—job title, company, company location, dates of employment, your most noteworthy duties, and most importantly, your quantifiable accomplishments.
Aim for around 5-8 bullet points when listing your duties and accomplishments, and remember to use strong, present-tense action verbs in your descriptions. Also, know that a resume builder can help alleviate a lot of the pains and headaches and aggravations that arise when it comes time to revise a resume (or write one from scratch).
Also consider putting accomplishments in a resume Summary section.
Now that your resume is updated with your most current job, use week 2 to update your LinkedIn page. If you haven’t even looked at LinkedIn since snagging your current job, now is the time. Add your current job to the Experience section of LinkedIn, as well as the duties and accomplishments you listed in your updated resume.
Also, consider reaching out to a few trusted colleagues or superiors from past jobs, and see if they’d be willing to write up a LinkedIn Recommendation to go along with your profile. Finally, make sure your profile pic is recent and of good quality—at the least, make sure it’s not blurry.
While you’re at it, give your other social media profiles a close look. Your safest bet is to make everything private; however, you never know who is connected to whom. Your best bet is to delete any content (posts, pictures, etc.) that could put you in a bad light.
This includes references to drugs and alcohol, angry venting, trash-talking your current job or coworkers, or any posts or pics that a recruiter, HR manager, or hiring manager may perceive as offensive towards a person or group.
Don’t you love writing cover letters? Of course you don’t. No one loves writing cover letters. That said, writing a cover letter doesn’t have to involve circling the gates of hell. A soothing fact to keep in mind when you’re writing one? The document should consist of only a single page. And really, once you break down the elements needed for a successful cover letter, a lot of your hyperventilating should come to an end.
Use week 3 to create a simple, reminder-specific cover letter outline that notes the nuts and bolts that must be captured in the three paragraphs a cover letter should consist of. Something like this:
Opening salutation: If the name of the person to submit the application to isn’t noted in the job ad, try to track down the name of the hiring manager using LinkedIn, and address the letter to him/her. If I can’t find the right person, just use “Dear Hiring Manager” as the opening salutation.
Opening paragraph: Note the job I’m applying to, as well as the name of company, and also prove knowledge of the company by briefly noting what it is they do. Then, tie a few of my skills and accomplishments to the requirements of the job ad, and note that I’m uniquely suited for the role. Do all of this in no more than three sentences.
Body paragraph: Explore my skills in greater detail, and explore a relevant accomplishment that’s on my resume—tell a story about how this accomplishment helped me grow in my role, and then talk about how I can take that growth experience and apply it to the job I’m applying for. Aim for three to four sentences, tops.
Closing paragraph: Reiterate interest in both the company and position, note one more time that I’m the best person for the job, and thank the reader for their consideration. Aim for two to three sentences, tops.
When it comes time to write your first actual cover letter, all the main concepts of the letter will be front and center in your head, and the writing should flow quite naturally.
That said, if you get stuck when it comes to write your first cover letter, consider putting a cover letter builder to use. You start with a template, and from there, it’s just a matter of filling in the blanks.
Ask yourself where your jobseeking priorities lie. Are you willing to take a job at a company that you know little about, or are you only willing to consider positions at companies that you know and trust?
Think about your career preferences as you begin thinking about a move to a new company. Make a list of companies that you’d love to work for, and begin checking (and bookmarking) their job boards. Do any of your friends work at companies that you’d love to work for? List out those friends, too, and reach out to them to see if they know of any upcoming openings. If it’s something they can’t even consider addressing (due to the fact that it’s holidays), make a note to touch base with them in the New Year.
Also, break out your datebook (or more realistically, your iCalendar), and begin hashing out a job search schedule that you can put into effect in the New Year. For example:
Mondays and Fridays (7 – 7:30 AM): Search Indeed for editor jobs and copywriter jobs in Chicago. Bookmark all positions that sound good. Use Saturday and Sunday AMs to apply to best positions found.
With many, many post-holiday sales afoot (typically beginning on December 26), now is the perfect time to treat yourself to a new interview outfit. Consider the industry you’re in (or hoping to move into), and shop for clothing that would be suitable to wear to an interview in that industry.
If you’re in accounting or finance, you’ll of course want to aim for an outfit that’s a bit more conservative and buttoned-up (think full-on suit). If you’re in a creative field, your outfit could probably run to a more business casual side, but here are some basics interview clothing rules that apply to all industries: no sneakers, no jeans, no tee-shirts!
Just use common sense when it comes to picking out a new interview outfit. You need to make the best (and safest) impression possible in an interview—what clothing will help you accomplish that goal?
Best of luck with your new job search in the New Year!
About this guest author:
Since 2005, LiveCareer’s team of career coaches, certified resume writers, and savvy technologists have been developing career tools that have helped over 10 million users build stronger resumes, write persuasive cover letters, and develop better interview skills. Land the job you want faster using our free resume samples, templates, writing guides, and easy-to-use resume-builder software.