Ending one year and staring another without job prospects can be draining and discouraging, but with data suggesting that 2015 will offer a stronger market for job seekers, those looking for a new job should approach the New Year with a fresh perspective, re-boot their search and stay open minded about prospects. Here are a few ways that job seekers can make the most of the New Year:
Build a strong plan.
Although it may feel overly simple and less action-oriented, the act of creating a detailed plan can achieve a lot in the way of progress. For one, it allows you to visualize your steps in finding a new job, which can alleviate a lot of stress and allow you to take the job hunt one day at a time, one action at a time. Further, creating a game plan with a timeline serves as a way to stay checked into the process and will bolster your search even when you begin to feel discouraged. Often, simply lining up tasks for yourself can keep your head in the process and move the job hunt along. To approach your plan, set achievable goals attached to due dates. A good place to start is to list out the types of jobs you want and then narrow down different companies that offer these types of positions. From there, set a date for resume-building and applications to these various companies. Establish a due date for when you’ll have everything submitted, and another due date for follow-ups. Breaking down your job hunt into a week-by-week plan is helpful: a weekly approach gives you enough time to accomplish your steps, but isn’t so long that you get sidetracked or lose sight of progress.
Refresh your personal “PR campaign”.
Many people approach the New Year as a great time to “start fresh” – whether that’s personal goals, fitness goals, or completely updating their lifestyle or even wardrobe. As a job seeker, jumping on this bandwagon can’t hurt. Before you start applying or networking with companies and hiring managers, take enough time to completely update your resume and all social media accounts or online portfolios. If possible, treat yourself to a new interview outfit once you’ve checked off a few goals – a new professional outfit can work wonders for your confidence and poise. Finally, approach networking and any interview opportunities with a fresh set of talking points if you think it will help you develop professional connections. Keep 3-5 topics in mind for networking opportunities so you can move past small talk and give people something meaningful to remember you by.
Get connected locally.
To start the New Year strong, put yourself out there in your community. Whether it’s a professionally-oriented meet up or a cooking class, it never hurts to push yourself to be more social and make new connections. You never know when an acquaintance from a creative writing class will end up connecting you with your next job! Similarly, consider reaching out to a few staffing companies and let them know you’re re-approaching your job search. Ask to share with them a few updates for your resume and experience, if applicable, and explain your professional goals for the New Year. As always, be prepared with a fresh “persona” for any social encounter.
For 2015, taking on the job hunt can be approached much like a New Year’s resolution. Like any good resolution, hone in on your goals, your plan, and a polished approach.