Come mid-December, the only things most of us feel like doing are holiday partying and sleeping, holiday partying and sleeping, repeat till January 2nd. Although there's certainly nothing wrong with imbibing too much eggnog and catching up on your sleep, if you do nothing but that you'll be missing out on a perfect opportunity to use some of the extra time we get off this time of year to make sure you hit the ground running early in 2017. That's when many companies and organizations will begin to implement their new budgets, which often include money for new hires. To that end, if one of your year-end resolutions is to get a new job, here are a few things you can do in between cocktails and recovering that will reenergize your job search and go a long way toward resolving that resolution in the coming year.
1. Do a Complete Rewrite of Your Resume.
Not long ago I had the lucky pleasure of speaking with a recent National Book Award-winning writer who told me he'd just turned in his latest book and was eagerly awaiting his editor's comments because he "loved" the rewriting phase of publishing, that it was his "favorite" part of the writing process. Although that might sound hard to believe to most of us who loathe rewriting even a grocery list, the point is rewriting can be enjoyable, or at the very least not all that painful. That said, try the following in order to reboot your resume: Without looking at your current resume, rewrite your entire resume off the top of your head. Rewrite your latest accomplishments under your latest job header. Rewrite your older accomplishments from former jobs. And make sure to give yourself the freedom to write whatever comes to you. Don't self-edit as you write. Don't format while you write. Just let it flow. And then, once you're done, go back to your current resume and see if you can't include some (or a lot) of that off-the-top-of-your-head language to breathe some new L-I-F-E into your CV. My bet is that, if you can, the final product will not only better reflect your accomplishments and experience but will also be a much more engaging and enjoyable read for your readers (the recruiters responsible for determining if your application is worthy of an interview or not).
2. Refresh, Revamp, and Revitalize Your LinkedIn Presence.
Just like your resume, your LinkedIn profile is probably something you haven't touched in many moons. You probably think you have all the relevant facts in it, so what's there to change, right? Wrong. This is also a perfect time to rewrite your LinkedIn profile and make sure you're up to date with all the new LinkedIn developments so a) recruiters can find you and learn how perfect you are for the job and then hire you in 2017, and b) you can have a great profile to showcase when you apply for jobs via LinkedIn or other sites.
So, first thing to do is either incorporate some of that new language you included in your resume into your LinkedIn profile, or just go through your profile and see if you can't liven things up a bit. Keep in mind that, more and more, recruiters are searching for candidates using key words, so make sure your profile includes terms that are included in the listings for the jobs you want. Of course, don't go overboard with the terms, but make sure the most important ones in your field are present. Also, get some numbers in there. Recruiters love numbers and percentages. Include, if you haven't already, some of the areas you've made an impact on. Is it sales? Deal volume? Users? Give hard figures to get across how valuable you are at your current job and how valuable you can and will be at your future employer.
Once your profile is looking good (and don't forget your summary; quick tip on creating or recreating that: check out the summaries of highly successful influencers and steal from those), see if you can't follow more important influencers and see if you can't make more connections. Following influencers can increase the number of profile views you get (not to mention give you great insights into subjects you're interested in), and gaining more connections also increases views while setting you up with a wider network to draw on when you're looking for a little help with regard to finding a job.
To that last point, since LinkedIn allows you to see all the people who went to the same school as you and send them a connection letter, this can be a good place to start to add to your network. After that, check out your former employers to look for former colleagues who've moved on to other companies as possible new connections; use key words in the advanced search function to find people you want to connect with; and look at companies you might want to join and then see who from your alma mater currently works there and if you can't also connect with them (the ability to find people from schools you've graduated from is one one of the most useful LinkedIn functions, as it's one that's likely to get you results; people are typically very loyal to those who went to the same schools as they did).
Finally, if you haven't already, make sure you have all the buttons turned on in your profile to let employers know that you're looking for a job.
3. Make a List of People to Hit Up and Connect With Early Next Year.
Building on all the work you did on your LinkedIn profile and presence, make a list of networking contacts you'd like to connect with in the coming year. This could be in person, or via email, phone, or social media. You could create this list after you've gone through your LinkedIn profile and livened it up, or while you're doing that. Ideally, you want a list of people that could help you in some way with your job search. This help could come in the form of refining the list of companies or positions you target. Or giving you advice on other contacts to connect with. Or helping you send an application to their organization or to one of their friends' or former colleagues' organizations.
As for how to connect with all the people you think might be able to help, remember that networking is more art than science. There's no right way to connect with each person. Each of your contacts will have to be treated differently, according to the level of your connection (from casual to intimate) and their level of availability (from likely able to meet for lunch or a drink to barely available for a quick email back and forth). That said, if you put in the time and effort and get creative in the manner in which you reach out, your meetings or email or social media interactions will likely pay off. No cover letter can beat a personal recommendation. Also of note here is that January, along with being a good month to apply for jobs, is a good month to reconnect with people. Most people are not on vacation, are not yet swamped with work, and are open to doing good deeds, like helping old friends find new jobs.
*On a final note, while this hack doesn't quite earn its own number (just an asterisk), it can be quite helpful and reap rewards like the numbered points above: While you shoot tequila hot toddies over the holidays, make sure to, when appropriate, slip into the conversation with your fellow revelers that you just might be in the market for a new job in 2017, so if they hear of any promising opportunities in the near future to definitely email, text, or Slack you to let you know.
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