Every New Year there are people who, reflecting on the past year, decide that this year they are going to make a positive change and look for a new job. As a result, we tend to see quite a lot of movement in the job market in late January and February as people leave their existing job and take on new roles. But just because you may see more jobs advertised or get more calls from agencies, do not make the mistake of getting complacent or lazy during this time – more people looking to change jobs means YOU have more competition for the roles for which you are applying. So in line with all those other ridiculous New Year's resolution articles that saturate the media and advertising (lose weight, get rich and find love), I bring you these tips for finding a new job in the new year:
- Remember the competition. Be realistic and understand that you are not the only person who is applying for their ‘dream’ job. So make sure your resume and cover letter clearly outline your relevant experience for the role.
- Sweat the small stuff. Spell check, grammar check... get someone else to proofread your documents before you start sending them out.
- Have a clear idea of what sort of role you are looking for. Wanting to change just because you’re bored and a bit stale in your current role is fine, but you need to have a clear idea of what it is you ARE looking for in a new job. Someone who is able to articulate what they want is going to have a much better chance of identifying the right opportunity and being able to ‘sell’ themselves to a future employer.
- Always be positive and use positive language. Nothing turns a future employer or recruiter off faster than someone banging on about how miserable they were in their last job.
- Read the advertisement. Don’t just look at the job title, think, ‘I can do that,’ and hit ‘apply’. Often the advertisement will contain specific requirements for the role. If it says that you need SAP or a typing speed of 85wpm and you don’t have those skills, you are going to be behind the eight ball from the start. If you DO want to apply for a role where you do not have the required skills or experience, do not apply only online. Ring the consultant to discuss the role. Your only chance of overcoming the obstacle of missing skills is if you TALK to someone and convince them that you are still worth considering.
- Stop ‘spraying and praying’. It’s not about the quantity of jobs you apply for; it’s the quality of the jobs you apply for. Here is a hint: most agencies have IT systems whereby they can see how many of their jobs for which you have applied. It’s not a really good look when the consultant sees you have applied for every role from mail clerk to financial controller in the past six weeks. It makes you look like you have no focus and, at worst, no clue.
Good luck, people. I am a firm believer that there is a job for everyone out there, but not every person is right for every job. Know your strengths, be focused and be positive! After all, this is the year we are going to be richer, slimmer and find the person and/or job of our dreams!