As we're nearing the end of 2019, it's natural to start assessing what we've achieved in the past year and thinking about what 2020 might have in store. And if like many people you're thinking a job move might be on the cards our Twelve Tips of Christmas will make sure you are perfectly prepared to start applying come January.
Why do so many people move jobs after Christmas?
Whether your New Year’s resolutions involve seeing more of the world, earning more money or expanding your skills moving jobs can be the answer.
In addition to this, we spend so much time catching up with friends and family over the festive period, talking about work and hearing about what others are up to can be a catalyst to get you wondering if the grass is greener.
Why is January a good time to job hunt?
Data from the world’s largest job search websites shows the hunt ramps up significantly once January arrives: the biggest day for searches on global jobs website Monster in 2016 was Monday, January 4th. Whilst in 2017, six of the top ten search days also fell in January.
Data from Indeed, another global job site, shows that in Canada, Germany, France, Canada, and the US, the number of job postings jumps significantly from December to January. While December only accounts for 7.2% of yearly postings in the UK for example, January is responsible for 9.4% of yearly postings.
In the UK many companies will be rushing to spend any remaining budget before the end of the financial year, meaning more roles often become available. In addition to this, employees tend to take less time off this time of year since they’re just coming out of the holiday season - this helps speed up the hiring process making it a much more productive time of the year to recruit and job hunt.
How do I make sure I'm in the best position to job hunt?
There are plenty of things you can do over the festive period to make sure you are in the best possible shape to start applying in January and ensure you are coming out ahead of the competition.
Over the next 12 days, we'll be telling you how, with our Twelve Tips of Christmas.
Tip One - Set some objectives
Understanding what’s important to you and where you want to be in 12 months’ time is a great place to start when brainstorming your personal objectives. Ask yourself some questions:
- Why are you leaving your current role?
- What are you looking for in a new position?
- Do you want to relocate?
- Do you want to earn more money?
- Learn new skills?
Once you’ve made some notes, you’re ready to craft your objectives. Keep in mind that your objectives should be SMART:
In an ideal world your objective should be a minimum of 4 out of 5, so play around with them until you are happy you have one or two workable objectives.
Once you have your objectives these should be your guiding star (Christmas pun intended). Write them out on post-it notes, or print them and stick them on the fridge. Remind yourself daily of what it is you are going after.
Now you are clear on what it is you want from 2020 it’s time to get planning with tip two…
Tip Two – Plan, set yourself some job search deadlines
Failing to plan, is planning to fail.
Like all tasks, sitting down and writing a plan will help focus the mind and ensure you are working productively and efficiently. Within your plan set some yourself some clear deadlines and dates as to when you will complete each of the tasks we’re going to cover over the next twelve days.
But first, grab a pen and paper and start making some notes.
- What skills do you have? What do you do well? Or want to do more of?
- What kind of job are you looking for, where do you want to work?
- What kind of time frame are you really working to?
Mark out your goals on a calendar and come the new year, you’ll be ready to confidently hit the recruitment circuit.
Tip Three - Make sure your LinkedIn is up to date
If you want to take some of the legwork out of job hunting, you need to make sure recruiters and potential new employers can find YOU, and that when they do they instantly understand what you are about.
Keeping your LinkedIn up to date and active is the best possible way to do this.
The stats speak for themselves. So, here’s what you can do to make sure you’re in the best possible shape.
- Make sure the basics are up to date
- Profile headline: Is it just a job title? Not good enough, it should clearly and specifically describe what you do
- Location and Industry: Are they still accurate? If not fix it quick!
- Profile picture and banner: Make sure your picture is recent and professional. Are they both in a corporate style? Does your picture align with your specific market?
- Profile summary: The first 3 lines should sum up what it is you do.
- Does it tell your story and does it sell you to potential new employers?
- Does it contain relevant keywords for your market?
- Profile Contact details: are these complete including an up to date phone number and email address, website/portfolio and any social media links
- Jobs: Do you have at least 3 jobs on your profile? (You need this for ‘allstar’ status)
- Does your description of your previous roles read like a CV or promote your previous employer? You need to re-think it.
- You should describe what you do in your current role using keywords?
- Skills: Have you listed all the relevant skills relating to your sector?
- How many times are the key skills endorsed?
- Are your skills swamped by irrelevant skills from a previous role?
- Recommendations: Do you have any from previous employers, ex-colleagues or people you’ve partnered with?
- Activity: Are you posting, sharing, commenting on and liking content several times a day? (posting, sharing and commenting are better for promoting you from an algorithm perspective, than just liking)
- Overall: Does your LinkedIn profile accurately depict who you are and how you want to be perceived from any potential headhunters or new employers?
- Does it have enough (but not excessive) keywords in it to encourage the algorithms to promote your content to a wide audience and for you to be rank highly in any search by a client or candidate?
We know you’re busy, but the more time you put into LinkedIn the more you get out.
Tip Four - Do an online health check
With 77% of employers admitting to Googling potential new hires, it's a pretty good idea to know what they'll see!
Google yourself, what comes up? Hopefully, it's your super-duper newly updated LinkedIn page, or your personal website, blog or portfolio?
But if the first thing potential new employers are faced with NSFW content from your uni days, from a long forgotten Facebook profile, you might want to consider looking at your privacy settings.
Likewise, check your Instagram privacy settings and any old Tweets that might now cause embarrassment?
Giving your online profile a thorough review could be the difference between making the shortlist of interviewees or NOT!
Tip Five - Make sure everything in your portfolio is up to your current standard
Not everyone requires a portfolio or website, but those of you who do, spend some time making sure it contains your best and most up to date work, and only show work that is up to your current standard.
If there is anything in there you feel could reflect badly on you, or that doesn't accurately represent your current level of skill, update it or delete it.
Tip Six - Network
This one is simple and fun!
Use the festive period as an excuse to catch up with old colleagues, uni mates, and mentors. Networking with contacts in the industry can be a great way to get a feel for what’s out there and identify potential opportunities. Or if you’re feeling a bit out of touch and want to meet some new contacts in your industry, try looking for local networking events and meetups such as these ones in Brighton.
As well as festive catch-ups, it’s a good idea to keep the momentum going and get some dates in your diary for 2019.
Tip Seven - Set up job searches and speak to a Recruiter
You’ve got your objectives, you know what kind of job you’re looking for and your LinkedIn profile is up to date, it’s time to see which jobs are on the market.
Start setting up some searches on aggregator job sites and of course, speak to your favourite recruiters (ahem) so you can get a picture of the jobs on the market in your industry and skill set.
When you’re signing up to job notifications it can be a good idea to set up a new email address to ensure you don’t miss anything within the normal spam, and personal emails… and whatever you do, DO NOT use your current work email! Gmail is a great simple place to get a quick email. Depending on your industry, using your full name for your email address will help you stick in recruiters' mind. If you have ‘funny’ address from years gone by, just remember this is going to be the recruiters' first impression of you - so make it a good one!
There’s an abundance of job sites out there and tonnes of industry-specific websites, but our top list to check first would be:
You can also register your CV on our site or give us a call and chat to us about what it is you’re looking for. Our consultants are all specialists in their fields so let us know what it is you do and we’ll make sure you speak to the right person. So if you're looking for roles within the Games & Interactive Job market or Enterprise Systems Jobs we have the people to speak to.
We’re in the office until Friday 20th December and will be checking emails over Christmas too.
Tip Eight - Do some research into the companies you’d like to work for
What’s your dream company? Do you know what they stand for? Do other people like working for them?
You know what you want to do and hopefully, have an idea of where you want to be. Who are the companies (within your industry) that look interesting?
Time to do some pro-active research.
- Visit their website
- What’s their mission and values? Does it fit with your ethos?
- What type of projects do they work on? Does this fit with your skills and experience?
- Check Google news
- Any good or bad news stories about them that might affect your decision-making process?
- Check their social media profiles
- With a large proportion of businesses sharing more day to day activities online, you can start to gather insights into what they get up to behind the scenes, and hopefully get a feel as to if you’ll be a good fit
- Finally, check out Glassdoor https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/
- Read some reviews from current and previous employees. Do they follow through on their claims? This can be a good place to find out!
If (and hopefully when) you get an interview with your dream company, you’ll be in a great place to either accept… or run a mile.
Tip Nine - Make sure you have your CV tailored to a few different roles or industries
When you are ready to start applying for roles, it’s easy to take a scattergun approach, firing off your CV to as many roles as possible – DON’T DO IT! Quality, over quantity, is key here.
Yes, have one main CV (another blog to follow on this very soon – stay tuned) but you need to tailor it to each and every job you apply for in order to stand the best chance possible.
This doesn’t need to be as tedious as it seems and as you refine the process you’ll get better and better at it. It’s simply a case of understanding which of your skills are most relevant for each role, then editing your CV to ensure these are most prominent.
Tip Ten - Get your references lined up
Now you have your CV ready it’s time to check in with your referees – I know it’s stating the obvious but NOT the ones you currently work with, okay?! Not until the job’s in the bag!
It’s a good idea to have a variety of options when it comes to referees, so you can have the best people to back up your experience in line with your tailored CVs.
Choose someone who comes across well. They should be articulate and reliable. They should also know your work and be able to talk confidently about projects you have worked on, and the skills you can bring to a position.
Ideally, they should be professionally related to you and more senior. However, if you are looking for your first job, you could ask a tutor, or family friend if you don’t yet have work experience.
And again, it’s stating the obvious here, but be sure to choose someone who thinks highly of you and who you’ve had a good working relationship with!
Drop them an email to say Happy Christmas, make sure they are happy to help, and check you still have all the correct contact details for them.
Tip Eleven - Do an online course
Depending on your skill level, experience and industry there’s almost certainly an online course or webinar available to help you expand your knowledge.
Proactive, independent learning and continually updating the skills on your CV and LinkedIn will certainly give you an edge over other job hunters.
LinkedIn Learning (formally Lynda) has a whole host of courses, and a free one-month trial, perfect if you want to escape the family and make the most of your Christmas break.
Tip Twelve - Take a break until 2020
Christmas is almost here. Step away from your computer, tablet and phone and simply take some time to reflect on 2019 and look forward to 2019.
Happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year! We hope we can work together to help you find the best possible role for 2020.