Is 2021 going to be a ‘New Job Year’ for you?
We’re finally nearing the end of what has been an extremely unique year to say the least! As we ultimately wave goodbye to everything 2020 has throw our way, you might be considering where the next twelve months will take you? Hopefully for everyone that will be in the direction of normality but 2021 for you means a new job, our festive tips will have you well prepped to shoot for the new job stars in January!
So if you’re looking for some help getting ready for job hunting after the holidays, then use our handy checklist to prepare yourself!
- Set objectives – what exactly do you want from a new job? Where might you be willing to compromise?
- Update your LinkedIn profile – use this as an extension of your CV
- Update your portfolio/website – only use the most up to date work that shows off your current standards!
- Google yourself – what will potential employers find out about you?
- Register your CV on job sites - and sign up to their job alerts.
- Research companies – can you find out more about what they’re like to work for?
- Tailor your CV – take some time to make sure it’s the best application for each job.
- Networking – even with lockdowns, you can network online better than ever before.
- References – don’t let these slow you down later on.
- Online courses – whether it’s free or paid, this could give you the edge in amongst other CVs.
- Prepare for video interviews – make sure your tech and surroundings are ready.
- Take a break! Job hunting can be hard work so make sure you rest too.
Before we start - why should I job hunt in January?
January is one of the most popular times to look for a new job, and often one of the most successful. Whether it be that you’re looking for more money, to learn new skills, or explore a new city; the festive period can often be a catalyst for thinking over your current position and wondering if there’s something more for you out there.
There are countless sources out there stating that January is the best time to job hunt. This piece from Top Resume explains how the first two months of the year are the best time to look for long-term, full-time jobs. This is for a number of reasons, for example most companies then have new budgets, have delayed job hiring in December to pick it up in January, and have much more time and resources than they did at the end of the year to find new hires. Another point worth noting from Career Sidekick is that January is the time of year that most decision-makers are in the office together, so it’s the perfect time to get your application in, get a quick ‘yes!’ and start your new role.
What about Coronavirus?
It’s safe to say that this strange year has impacted absolutely everything that we call normal, and the job market is no exception. Unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic has stunted many people’s job prospects, whether it be redundancy, revoked job offers, or simply not wanting to take the risk, COVID has certainly made a dent.
In April, hiring across Britain was down 68% from normal levels, and was still at -31% in October. Although this seems like a grim statistic, recovery is well on the way, and it is predicted that normal hiring levels should resume by January 2021.
So, don’t be discouraged by the challenging world we’re currently living in, there is rising hope that your dream job is still out there calling your name for 2021! For this reason, it’s even more of a perfect time than normal to start your job hunt this January.
Tip 1 - Set Objectives & Make Plans
- 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?
- Do you want to learn new skills?
*If relocation is on your mind, check out our blog Researching Your Relocation in Games to read our tips on this!
From these answers, you can start forming clear picture of what you’re looking for. Knowing this from the beginning will make sure you know what is important to you, and will help you to sift through the job adverts. It’s much better to know now what you want, rather than realising further down the line and having to start again!
Knowing this will allow you to plan out how you’re going to reach these your goals and you may even like to set personal deadlines, so you can work efficiently towards them.
Tip 2 - Update your LinkedIn profile
You want to make sure that recruiters and potential new employers can find you, and when they do they can get a clear picture of who you are – so make sure your profile is up to date! Remember that this doesn’t need to be a copy of your CV. You want this to be short and easy to read, showing off the real highlights of your most recent work.
Things to remember:
- Make sure your location and industry are up to date
- Your profile summary should outline what you do in a maximum of two lines – you can go on to explain more but the first two lines are all that shows up initially so make them count!
- Ensure your contact details are up to date, including links to any website/portfolio of relevance
- Use the multimedia and featured links to show off work and be as specific as you can. Showing off finished projects is great, but make sure you’re clear about exactly which bits you did yourself
- List all skills relevant to your sector, make sure they’re endorsed by others where possible
Throughout all of this, keep asking yourself if your profile depict who you are and how you want to be received? If not – change it now!
Tip 3 - Update your portfolio/website
If this applies to you and your craft, make sure your portfolio or website contains your best, most up to date work! You can still show off other work, but if the first thing on your website is showing your work from five years ago, it will give the impression that this is what you’re most proud of and that it’s your best work. Also make it clear if there is any work you’re doing that is under NDA, as this is widely accepted and is better than not having anything recent and not mentioning it.
Tip 4 - Google Yourself
77% of employers admit to Googling potential new hires. You want to ensure they’re not going to be met with anything surprising when they search you up! You'll want to try you name along with combinations of your past and current companies, past and current locations, awards and achievements and any other aspects of your life that might identify you!
This especially goes for social media – you don’t want embarrassing tweets from 2012 to be the first thing your potential new boss sees! Go in and change your privacy settings where necessary to avoid this.
Tip 5 - Networking
The festive period is the perfect time to catch up with old colleagues, old mates, and mentors of the past. Use the opportunity to network with your contacts in the industry and get a feel for what is out there!
While this year you won’t be able to do this at the pub, everyone is more comfortable than even with a quick skype or zoom so you’re not limited by location and it’s even easier to catch someone for a 10 minute chat, even if they normally couldn’t fit in a whole evening in this busy time of year.
Also your current contacts aren’t the only people that can help you with your job search. Most, if not all, in-person networking events have been cancelled or postponed this year but this has allowed them majority to become online events, so it’s easier than ever to network with, and introduce yourself to other industry professionals!
There are still a few online games industry events to go this year, have a look at the Games Industry Biz events list to see what is coming up and get your calendar filled for next year. You never know who might be your key to finding what you’re looking for.
Tip 6 - Register your CV on job sites
The next step is to hunt down the roles you are looking for, which can certainly be a time-consuming task. One way to speed this up, and a great reason to be ready before the jobs get posted, is to set up job searches on multiple and speak to a recruiter. This means jobs will get sent directly to your inbox rather than you having to go searching every day.
Our top tip here is to set up a new email address for this. It will ensure you don’t miss any alerts if they’re mixed in with the normal personal emails in your inbox. It’s quick and easy to set up a new email address and this will help you to focus when you’re dedicating time to your job search. Just make sure you do not use your current work email!
You can also register your cv on our site or give us a call to chat about what you’re looking for. Our consultants are specialists, so let us know what you do, and we will make sure you speak to the right person and get told about new jobs as soon as they’re out.
Tip 7 - Research companies
- What can you find out about the company culture?
- Who already works there?
- Do other people like working for them?
- What kinds of projects do they work on?
It’s good to be aware that not all companies will use job boards so it’s good to also make yourself a list of your top companies that you’d like to work for to keep an eye on directly.
But before you start searching their job pages – take some time to go back and read your objectives list and see if those match up with what the company are telling your about them! Through their website and social media pages you should be able to get a good view of their values, as well as seeing what kind of projects they work on. Does this match with what you’ve been looking for? If not, why are they on the list? Could it be that your objectives need changing - or maybe you’re interested in the company name more than the actual company? Again, realising these things now will help you to form a great picture of what you want and need from this next job!
Make sure as well to have a look on Glassdoor to see what current and past employees have said about working there.
Tip 8 - Tailor your CV to Different Roles
As tempting as it is to send your CV off to jobs as soon as they pop up, don’t do it! Having one main CV but tailoring it to each job you apply for allows you to stand the best chance possible for receiving a response.
This is all about understanding which of your skills are most relevant to each role and editing your CV to ensure these are the most prominent. And remember that sending a tailored CV on the second or third day, is better than getting in first but not showing off your skills, and not getting the follow up! So don’t dawdle for too long, but give yourself some time to make it the best application that you can manage.
Tip 9 - References
Most likely when you get to a certain point in the recruitment process you’ll be asked for references. It’s best here to have a range of options available so that you can choose the most appropriate people for the role you’re applying for. But most importantly, choose people who think highly of you and that you have had a good working relationship with.
Use this time over the holidays to get in with each of the people you’d like to use, to make sure they’re happy to be contacted and that you have their up to date contact details. Down the line when you’re waiting on a job offer, you don’t want to be finding your references have changed their email address recently and causing yourself more stress!
Tip 10 - Online courses
2020 has been a great year for online courses with lots of free sessions on offer throughout the pandemic. Depending on your skill level, experience, and industry, there is bound to be an online course available to help you expand your knowledge during the downtime before New Year.
The Open University are offering a huge range of free courses of differing lengths and difficulty, so it’s worth having a browse through to see if there’s anything relevant to you on there that you can get on with.
Proactive, independent learning will give you an edge over other job hunters looking for similar roles. So, take advantage of the knowledge the online world has to offer.
LinkedIn Learning also has a huge range of courses and a free one-month trial! Have a browse through them when you want to take a break from the family and really take advantage of your Christmas break.
Tip 11 - Prepare for Video Interviews
If there’s one thing that 2020 has taught us, it’s that (almost) everything can be done through technology, and the recruitment process is no exception!
So it’s time to prepare for video interviews!
The main things you’ll be able to do over the holidays is to sort out your technical setup and scout out the best location. Good audio, video and a strong internet connection are essential, and you’ll want to have some good indoor lighting, as especially with the shorter days we can’t rely on sunlight at the moment. Why not get some family members to help you walk round the house to find the best spot? Maybe do a rearrange of the kitchen/living room to give yourself an ideal spot?
And for more guidance on preparing for video interviews, have a read of our blog where we share our best before, during and after tips on how to make it a success: How to Ace a Video Interview.
Tip 12 - Take a Break!
The holidays are almost here! So, make sure you take a break from your screens and reflect on the year, as well as getting excited for the next. Yes, it’s great to be prepared but you’re never going to put your best foot forward if you don’t give yourself a break sometimes. You want to hit the January job search feeling your best so sometimes the best thing you can do to prepare is have that lie in, enjoy some great food and spend time doing things that you love.
Don’t forget to get in touch with us if you’re looking for a role in the Games & Interactive or Enterprise Systems industries! You can keep up to date with our newest games jobs here and keep an eye on our LinkedIn and Twitter to stay in the loop with all of our job postings and latest news.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at Skillsearch, and hopefully we can help you find your dream job in 2021!