12/01/2016 Stephanie Anderson

New year, new job: The smart timeline to success starts now

shutterstock_252366133You’ve done the exercise thing. You’re already eating healthy. Your house is organized and winter travel plans are confirmed. All those standard New Year’s resolutions don’t matter this year anyway, because in 2017 you have a new goal: an awesome new job.

Many people hope for a new job in the new year. However, most people put off job hunting to-do’s until Jan. 1. This can be a big mistake. By waiting, you’ll join thousands of other eager candidates who are sprucing up their resumes and organizing their contact lists once the holidays are over. The competition is guaranteed to pick up, but you can get an edge against other candidates by starting job search steps right now.

With the holiday hubbub in full force, it might seem impossible to squeeze in time for job search essentials. Don’t worry. Starting a job hunt need not make you a holiday Scrooge. This smart timeline full of helpful to-do’s is an easy solution so you can get a head start on the competition while staying merry and bright all December long.

1st week of December: This is the best time to focus on the fundamental tool of a smart job search: a concise yet compelling resume. Revise, edit and then revise again. With each pass you’re perfecting the main document used to sell yourself to a hiring manager. Once you think it’s near perfect, have at least two trusted friends or professional contacts review and provide honest feedback. Then make adjustments as necessary.

2nd week of December: Start week two by sprucing up your LinkedIn profile. Use your updated resume to refresh your online information and add a new professional head shot to capture more eyes. Next, spend time creating your employer wish list. This is a document of all the companies you’d like to work for if offered a job. Join talent communities at each, researching options at various social media platforms. Follow these communities daily and interact as necessary with posts and comments.

3rd week of December: It’s time to set up job alerts that focus on positions that pique your interest. Use industry keywords to ensure you get the right information funneled to your inbox. Then create a spreadsheet tracking jobs you’ve flagged as top opportunities. Soon you’ll also use this document to track where you are in the application process so you stay organized and on top of next steps.

4th week of December: Networking is essential to getting a new job. However, many people are busy during the holidays so it will be difficult to connect and create any traction. Instead, make a list of people you want to connect with right after the holidays to discuss your professional endeavors. Perhaps an invitation for coffee to toast the new year will be the perfect networking opportunity that will land you your new gig.

In just four weeks you’ll be ahead of the curve so you can hit the ground running in the new year. While everyone else is starting from scratch, you’ll be leading the pack in 2017 and beyond.

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