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This is part three of our three-part post-holiday season job search series. Read part one and part two here. So you have had your New Year’s kiss and you need to find a new job soon if you expect to ever pay off your student loans. Job hunting can be stressful, especially when it is imperative that you make a move now. To lessen the load, we asked hiring and recruitment professionals to share tips to help boost the effectiveness of our readers’ job searching, so they can work smarter, not harder. Here is what their advice. Focus your search “I think the best thing that you can do to find a job in the new year is to job hunt smart. The number one thing I hear from people is how many applications they've filled out and how many jobs they have applied to. Just because you're applying everywhere, doesn't mean you're doing the right thing. Instead of blindly filling out applications, focus on the jobs and industries you actually want to apply for. We work with thousands of employers and the reason they are hesitant to look at all the applications they receive online, is because most people apply to any job they see online. Use websites that filter applicants for employers, making both of your lives easier … When you do this, you also won't be as tired and burned out while filling out the applications.” — Ladan Davia, Founder and CEO, Beeya Narrow your skill gaps “Identify skill gaps to address in the New Year. Maybe your goal is to get a new job or elevate yourself to the next level, but you lack certain skill sets needed to do so. Spend this time researching job descriptions that match your ideal role. Look at the top qualifications and determine which ones you may be lacking or need in order to be competitive. Consider ways you can work towards building these in the first quarter, whether that’s asking for additional responsibility in your current role, taking outside courses, or online workshops, or perhaps even going back for a degree program. Spending the time now to research and plan out your strategy will make position you more competitively in 2019.” — Dana Leavy-Detrick, Director, Brooklyn Resume Studio Use online tools and resources “The first thing to do is to make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are current and up to date. The next thing is to set up job alerts so you can know once a job is posted that aligns with your career interests.” — Tiffany Gibson, Creator of “Get the Job” app, Career coach/ integrative life coach and blogger, Get the Job App Research target companies and build a lead list “Research companies and study the job description. Filter out all the companies or job positions you wish to apply to. Study the job descriptions carefully to look for any red flags — like some specific skills they want which you are not adept in but might cause you difficulty later on, or if you could develop these skills through some short certification course. Other than this, study about the companies you are going to target to better understand their business verticals and market horizontals and how you think your role could fit into the organizational objectives. This process will also help you be better prepared for any telephone interviews if you happen to receive calls from companies in the future.” — Ketan Kapoor, Co-Founder and CEO, Mettl“Use the ‘downtime’ (the weeks leading up the holidays and New Year) to do your research. Look into companies of interest to see what kind of roles they’ve hired in the last year, what openings they currently have, and to learn about their culture. Having a short-list of companies that interest you will help you prepare your applications in advance so they’re ready to send out after the holiday season wraps up.Create a short-list of prospective job opportunities. The end of December is not the ideal time to respond to job postings, as hiring moves slowly, and many people involved in the decision making progress are on vacation. Particularly if it’s a high priority role, spend the weeks leading up to the holidays identifying your top 10 positions to apply to, and crafting an impactful resume and cover letter tailored to each one. Then get ready to submit them after the holiday. While it is a risk to wait it out, there’s also a good chance that submitting your application during the holiday rush will cause it to get overlooked or lost in the shuffle." — Dana Leavy-Detrick, Director, Brooklyn Resume Studio “Try to brush up on industry knowledge and build a lead list of companies and contacts that you can reach out to after the holidays. Just because the holidays slows down interview process doesn't mean you can't make progress on your search." — Jordan Wan, Founder and CEO, CloserIQ Ready your resume "Get your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile in order. Do a quick audit of your personal brand — everything that is public facing to hiring managers — and make sure it’s consistent and effective. That can include everything from your resume and cover letter, to your LinkedIn profile, website, social profiles, even your appearance in the job interview. The goal is to make sure you are speaking to the roles you’re targeting (versus the role you have), and that you are presenting yourself consistently across all platforms." — Dana Leavy-Detrick, Director, Brooklyn Resume Studio “A lot of businesses are on a reset mode and thinking of growth and expansion in the new year. These companies are on the hunt to hire new people to meet the new perspectives and business expectations for increased success and revenue for the next year. A lot of actions and plans are finally set into motion at the time of new year and hiring is certainly on the minds of a lot of companies. You have to hone your skills and craft a convincing resume and cover letter mentioning your key skills, education, experience, and recognition and upload them on relevant platforms. Don’t forget to add the right number and frequency of keywords to your curriculum vitae to immediately rank higher as a great candidate on the radar of top companies. The keywords must be highly relevant to your industry and market niche which you can also search on the internet.” — Ketan Kapoor, Co-Founder and CEO, Mettl Use free tools “Leverage LinkedIn during your job search. It's a great platform to not only connect with recruiters and hiring managers but also to connect with employees at the companies you're interested in working at. Set up informational interviews and learn about what it's like working at your dream company.“ —Kyle Elliott, MPA, CHES, Career and life coach, Kyle Elliott Consulting“According to US News, 95 percent of recruiters utilize LinkedIn as a major sourcing tool to find candidates — and it's free to create a profile on the site. Make sure you have a clear heading, professional picture and a keyword rich summary. Think beyond job boards. A highly effective job search involves real world networking and informational interviews. When clients tell me that their job search is stalling, one of the first questions I ask as a follow up is, how are your in-person networking meetings?” —Sarah Johnston, Job search strategist and founder, The Briefcase Coach Use the end-of-the-year slow down to your advantage “My top tips for people who are unemployed during the holiday season or who are looking to make a career change right away in the new year is to take advantage of downtime and days off to work on your job search, but hold off on sending emails and applications until at least Christmas is over. Definitely send before the New Year, however, since HR departments are likely looking for new talent to bring on right away in January. Spend time on your days off researching different companies, tailoring your resume to different positions, and updating your portfolio if you have one. It’s also a great time to practice for your interviews, either with family members who are willing to help you out or on a platform like Pramp. Apply to the most recently posted jobs first, as these could be new positions that have gone up since departments have reviewed their end-of-the-year needs and are looking to grab new people for the start of 2019.” — Valerie Streif, Senior Content Manager, Pramp Timing and balance “When heading into the holiday season, employees need to find balance when searching for a new job, while also enjoying their holiday break. Many people know that searching for a new job is a full-time job. If at all possible, employees seeking a new job should only make themselves available to do phone interviews or screening interviews before the holidays kick off. This will alleviate the candidate from stress by completing the first interview before the holiday, so it is not hanging over their head during the holidays. Similar to the interview candidates, hiring managers are not going to be interviewing over the holidays. It is important for candidates to leave a lasting impression so the hiring managers remember them when returning to work after the holidays. Employees should stay on top of their current work while also having a strong follow up for the prospective jobs that they are applying for.” — Jacob Dayan, Esq., CEO and co-founder, Community Tax When to send “An encouraging piece of information I have is that January may be a slow month for companies, but the silver lining is that hiring managers are looking at a fresh new year and have a strong sense of what jobs they need to be filled. However, while it may be tempting to get started sending resumes and cover letters starting January 1, my advice is to hold off for a bit. Give managers a chance to recover from the holidays first. If you send your application too early, it may get lost in the massive amount of email collected over the break. Wait two weeks and then start submitting applications. This will keep your application fresh in the minds of hiring managers and put you in a good position to receive an interview/offer in the first quarter.” — Matt Dodgson, Director, Market Recruitment Coping with your job hunt “First, remember that you are not alone in the job search. Try to find, or form, an online or in-person support group. Create time to meet up with fellow job hunters to discuss strategies and potentially share or discover opportunities. Secondly, create incentives and reward yourself. If you're unemployed while job hunting, your budget will certainly be tight. It's important, though, to stay motivated through little rewards. Say you gave up your daily Starbucks habit. If you hit your goal for number of quality job applications submitted, or you get an interview, treat yourself to that latte that's been calling you. You deserve it.” — Matt Dodgson, Director, Market Recruitment
This is part two out of three in our post-holiday season job search series. Read part one and part three here.Job hunting at any time of year can be stressful. While we wait for The Secret to take effect, we have to take action and get working on manifesting our employment dreams, or even just our employment needs. One of the most common buzzwords in the job search and recruitment world is networking. This skill and/or activity can be hard to grasp for those unfamiliar. We asked hiring industry experts and professionals to share advice for people hunting for jobs directly after the holiday season. Here is what they had to say to clear up the clear-as-mud world of networking. Networking for opportunities “...[A]sk your network to introduce you to people in the industries and even the companies you are interested in. Getting meaningful introductions to the right people in these companies can uncover hidden jobs and create an awareness of you and your abilities for future opportunities. Job seekers should not focus on the HR or talent acquisition departments unless these are the areas of business they want to uncover jobs in. Focus your networking and conversations on the leaders of the departments you are interested in working in. Job search is tough, especially across the holiday seasons. It's important to believe in yourself and to work a process of researching, networking, getting into open conversations, and asking for that next conversation over and over again. This may seem daunting, so start your networking with people you already trust and respect. Success is right around the corner if you commit yourself to the work needed to uncover the hidden opportunities. The economy is doing well and businesses are finalizing their 2019 budgets. I have heard from many of my clients that they committed hiring new employees who can help them grow their business.“ — Teddy Burriss, Certified career coach and social networking professional, Burriss Consulting, Inc“If you're looking to get a job early next year, one of the smartest things to do is to plan your job hunt strategy and start expanding your network during the holidays. It may not be the best season to get hired, but it's the perfect time to establish connections and strengthen loose ties with other members of the industry.“Take a look at popular community events websites like Meetup.com or Eventbrite where many companies may have holiday parties or last minute recruiting push events you can attend.” — Jordan Wan, Founder and CEO, CloserIQ“...'tis the season for networking. Professional and trade association holiday functions are great opportunities to chat informally with potential employers. Personally, I was offered two positions as a result of attending holiday functions.” — Frank Grossman, Resumes that Shine“Lastly be sure to research your contacts and the firms they represent. Beyond job postings are articles in local papers about new businesses opening up in your area, often these are in the business section of the paper. Some firms also hire interim workers over the holiday break to allow staff to take vacations. These interim positions can be a great way to earn a little cash and build a relationship with a company that could lead to a full-time position. Volunteering at local charities can also lead to opportunities as you often meet the sponsors for the charity during your volunteer work. This can be another way to get into the job flow over the holidays.” — Jonathan H. Phillips, Magellan International Identify advocates in your network “For job seekers looking to hit the ground running during the first quarter of 2019, the fastest track to success will be to reach out to your closest contacts in your network. Often small local businesses will be looking to jump-start the new year and preferentially hire people they or someone they trust know well. Go through your contacts and choose advocates from your network list. An advocate will be someone you know well either personally or professionally who is associated with a small to medium-sized business that is growing in your local community. If your contact is particularly active offer to start even before year-end to get a jump start on next year. Do not overlook friends and neighbors, especially over the holidays. Conversations can be relaxed and social, just mentioning you are looking is often enough to get the ball rolling.” — Jonathan H. Phillips, Magellan International Work on your follow-through “One of the keys to job searching is to be consistent. Many people start the new year with a wish for a new job, but they don't do the work to find the new job nor are they consistent in their approach. My number one tip is to follow-up after sending a resume or job inquiry. And, if you have an interview with an organization, send a follow-up e-mail, along with a handwritten thank you card in the mail. Many individuals forget these small details and don't realize that it is just one more time for the hiring manager to see your name. Another tip is to consistently look for networking opportunities to expand your circle of influence. Let others know that you are interested in making a move and ensure they are aware of your skill-sets. Ideally, you can build this network prior to needing it, so even if you don't find a job within the first two months of the new year, take that time to join a chamber of commerce, attend a fundraising event, or visit a networking group. Then, follow-up with those individuals you meet and schedule one coffee date or lunch connection each week. The more you help others, the more likely they are to remember you when a job opens that may be the perfect fit.” — Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, Owner, Feather Communications
This is part one of our three-part post-holiday season job search series. Read part two and three here.Whether they are out of work or looking to upgrade their paycheck or career, many people are on the hunt for a new job after the holiday season. Searching for a new job can be frustrating, no matter the time of year. To reduce the stress, we asked recruitment and hiring professionals to share their advice and experience for people looking to improve their employment in the first part of the year. Q1 hiring trends “In more than 15 years of recruiting and resume writing experience, one trend has always remained the same — hiring picks up significantly in January / at the start of the New Year. Part of this can be attributed to the fact that hiring budgets renew, and candidates should take advantage.” — Dana Leavy-Detrick, Director, Brooklyn Resume Studio “[W]e plan on hiring two to three additional employees in January 2019. We've known for a while now that we needed to hire additional employees but we decided to hold until after the holiday season. I can't imagine we are the only company that has followed this timetable. In fact, I think candidates will see an influx of job postings around the middle of January. Whether the job openings are from small businesses like mine that decided to wait or larger corporations that finally set 2019 budgets, I think there will be plenty of opportunities for job seeking candidates, come the New Year." — Matt Ross, Co-owner and COO, RIZKNOWS and The Slumber Yard “A lot of companies, not only individuals, like to start fresh and plan for the New Year, so January and February can be great times to look for a new job. Do your research before contacting the company and lay out a specific plan of how you can help them reach their goals or fill in a weakness or blind spot they currently have. When you present to them how they can get the year started off on the right foot, they will be much more likely to hire you and get you in as part of achieving their New Year's resolution." — Stacy Caprio, Founder, Growth Marketing “As the founder and chief executive of a recruiting firm, I have had excellent results placing clients in the first few months of the year. Many job seekers take a break early in the year, believing that the slower pace after the holidays means the pace of hiring in most businesses slows as well. In fact, more companies hire during the first quarter than at any time in the year. Most companies begin a new budget year in January and have money available for hiring. Managers and executives are planning the year ahead and looking to fill talent gaps in order to get a good start on their annual goals. Another trend that works in job seekers' favor? Many people make a New Year's resolution to find new jobs or seek promotions. So, in addition to new jobs that companies typically add at the beginning of the year, there are the inevitable openings in existing positions, too. The combination of a smaller pool of active candidates and a bigger pool of available positions adds up to a positive job market for a post-holiday search.” — Chris Chancey, Founder, Amplio Recruiting “Spend time updating your resume so you are ready come January. Start setting up auto searches or alerts on career pages of companies you are interested in. Companies tend to slow down their hiring at the end of the year because of the holidays. Managers may be out of the office and have less time to interview. Once hiring budgets and sales forecasts are set in January, companies will be more eager to hire again. Also, some companies pay annual bonuses in December, and expect some people will leave right after.” — Steven Davison, Operations Recruiter, Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope
This holiday season, most consumers say that when compared to last year, their household finances have improved or held steady, while 26% say that their finances have worsened. Only 22% plan to spend less than they did last holiday season, according to the Deloitte 2018 Holiday Retail Survey. If retail therapy is your favorite sport, living within the confines of a budget, even one that you set for yourself, can feel draining. It can also take away the one thing releases your stress. If you are already worried about money, trying to find the best deal on everyday items like groceries or pharmacy goods, or a one-time purchase such as a birthday or holiday gift is very important. Remember your plan Keep in mind that you have a “higher purpose.” While you may grow weary of living within your budget boundaries, remember your motivation. Whether that is to get out of debt, save for school, or enjoy a fun vacation next summer, you made your goals for a reason. Don’t let an unexpected expense get in your way. If you need help remembering your plan, print it out and put it on the mirror. Also, consider using a budgeting app like Mint or YNAB (You Need a Budget). These will let you quickly check on your monthly progress and visualize your savings goals. Strategize While you can opt to shop for the high and then return your items a few days later, you can also wait for the items you need to go on sale. If it feels daunting to be constantly searching for deals, make sure your friends and family know what you are looking for so they can let you know if they see a sale. Use technology to help lighten the load. Sign up for promotional emails from the store or brand in question. You can also sign up for alerts about a product or company. Slickdeals.net offers deal alerts. You can sign up for items and brands that you are interested in and then you get alerts when they go on sale. Slickdeals is a crowdsourced deal website, so users up-vote the best deals, making it a good resource to help decide where to buy a certain item as well. Another great tool to help you stay within your budget when grocery shopping is mygrocerydeals.com. Just type in your zip code and you’ll see which grocery store near you has the items you want on sale this week. This free service compiles the weekly ads for you. There are a variety of apps and websites dedicated to helping consumers find a coupon or a deal. Make sure you check them out before you make a purchase. Everybody makes mistakes While 65% of Americans set a holiday spending budget, a whopping 77% of those readily expect to exceed the budget they have set, according to Coinstar's 2017 holiday survey. What if you make a mistake and purchase something that you hadn’t budgeted for? Ask yourself, is this a once in a lifetime deal? How often would I use this? If you aren’t going to use it in the next month, then see if you can return it. If you can’t return it, check to see if the retailer has a price matching policy. If you can find it for a cheaper price with a competitor, then you can ask for a partial refund. Above all, if you make a mistake, don’t give up on your budgeting goals. Treat every week (or month) of your budget as a blank slate. A periodical fresh start will keep your will to save as strong as possible.