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3 Job Search Tips for the New Year

Tech layoffs are making the headlines right now. The media is churning out stories about a recession and a slower job market. However, that’s not the whole picture. In fact, a lot of hiring goes on at the end of the year and in the first quarter of the New Year. And you need to get ready for it.

Why Prepare Now?

In the fourth quarter, many companies are racing to get projects done. It’s generally a great time as a contractor to get hired, since companies may need someone through the end of the year or into the first quarter of next year. Other companies are trying to use up money from their budgets (“use it or lose it,” as the saying goes). That means they are still hiring, especially contract jobs, for projects that may go into January and February. 

It’s true that there are some layoffs occurring. Companies often try to look profitable at the end of the year. But they are also getting ready for 2023, and so there are projects they know will carry over. Come January, the new budget money comes in and they can start hiring. Salespeople in professional services and managed services are busy now, setting up work for January. There will be a window in the first quarter where hiring will be fast and furious. That’s why this time of year is a good time to get your ducks in a row.

Things slow down in between Christmas and the New Year, so it’s a good time to work on your job search. Even though it’s quiet, companies will be raring to go come January. If you wait until the New Year to start your job search, you could miss out. Be ready to go at the first of the year. Use this time to do your research and prepare. 

Polish Off Your Resume

First and most importantly, identify what you want to do. That may seem obvious, but just because you were doing one kind of work before doesn’t mean you want to continue in that direction. Identify what it is specifically you want to do, what types of companies and what size companies you want to work for.

Next, take a hard look at your resume. Does it reflect what you want? You may be starting over. You may be doing something in an entry level position where your resume doesn’t reflect it, but your experience can help you with that. Shape your tech resume to match what you want to do.

Your resume is your billboard. It should make clear the business impact that you’ve had in your previous positions. Identify what you accomplished and convert it to numbers – sales, projects completed on time, money saved, etc. For each position, consider how you might complete this sentence: “At XYZ company, I did ____ which resulted in____.” This is powerful. Hiring managers want individuals that can have an impact on their organization. Showing what you have accomplished in previous positions helps hiring managers understand what you can potentially do to make a difference in their company.

Be conscious of how much detail you include about past jobs in your resume. Most hiring managers will focus on your last three positions. Don’t feel the need to add lots of information about a job you held 15 or 20 years ago. Summarize the position and say, “Additional information is available upon request.” 

One last tip. Many recruiters and hiring managers will look at both your resume and LinkedIn profile. Make sure they match, especially regarding timeline. 

Start Your Job Search

You know what you want, and your resume is in good shape. It’s time to begin your job search in earnest. 

Since you know the companies that interest you, start following them on LinkedIn. Learn about the company. See if you have any connections at those companies and reach out to them. Check job boards like LinkedIn, Indeed or Monster to see what they have available. At this point, it’s tempting to just start dropping resumes and hope for the best. But you may already know from experience that it often comes to nothing.

So, before you start applying, consider talking to a recruiter that specializes in your field. They can market you to certain companies – they may already have a relationship with them – and get you to the hiring manager faster. 

A good recruiting firm will build a relationship with you, learning about what you want, your skills and strengths, and what would be the best fit. Once you’ve established that connection, you’ll go into the agency’s database. When that perfect job opens, you’ll be ready to go, with an advocate by your side. Instead of an algorithm deciding, your recruiter – who has already vetted you – can present you to the employer with their trusted recommendation. It puts you ahead of all the other candidates and into an interview faster.

When you put your house up for sale, you work with a realtor. They know the market and how your house compares. It’s very similar with recruiters. They know the job market and they know which skills are most valued, especially to the employer. They know how to position you in the best way possible. They’ve already discussed salary in a general way with the employer. Consequently, recruiters are a great help when it comes to negotiating salaries. For instance, maybe you’d be fine with the offered salary. But the recruiter knows your real value and may be able to get you more money.

When you’re searching for a job, if you don’t put in the preparation, it’s not going to work out. Getting hired is ultimately about entering into a relationship. You both have to like each other. You both have to add value to each other. Hopefully, it will be a long-lasting relationship.

Photo Credit: Canva

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