As a new year rings in, we look back at our resolutions and tell ourselves that we will be productive, that we will stick to our goals and that we will make positive changes in our lives.
Before we know it, February hits us with another wave of celebrations with the arrival of the Chinese New Year, bringing us closer to the end of the first quarter.
If career advancement is one of the items on your to-do list, there is no time for procrastination!
Here are some tips for job seekers that are looking to jump start the year and land their dream job.
1. revamp your CV
Your CV is usually the first opportunity to impress prospective employers, so make sure the basics are right – easy to read, well structured and without spelling mistakes. Update your CV with any new information such as new skills or roles and your most recent achievements.
Research your desired role so you can include relevant keywords to increase your chance to be shortlisted. This is because, on average, hiring managers only spend 30 seconds on one CV. For example, if you are looking at a technology role, including an updated and in-depth summary of your IT skills can catch the attention of hiring managers and showcase your relevant experience.
It’s a competitive job market, so demonstrate clearly how your unique skills and experience is beneficial to that particular employer. Professionals in creative roles are beginning to use infographics and visual resumes to present information in new and interesting ways which showcases their skills right off the bat.
2. review your career path
Ask yourself if you are already working in the industry you desire. Before you rush into your job search, take time to think about your career goals to ensure you are moving towards your dream. Consult a mentor who can advise and coach you along the path. Investigate the career path other successful professionals in your field have taken to reach their position – LinkedIn is a good tool for this. Find out how you need to upskill in the new year to move closer to your goal.
3. research on companies you would like to work for
You can start looking for companies that fit your criteria after you have clearly identified your goals. Often, businesses like to advertise job openings on their websites before resorting to job boards. Research the company history, look at the online presence to get a sense of their brand, find out about company culture from someone you may know at the company or reach out to a recruitment consultant who specializes in that sector and possibly works with the employer as a client. Ultimately, the more information you are able to uncover about the potential employer, the better positioned you are when you are interviewing.
4. sign up to regular job alerts
Be the first to know about new opportunities by following your target companies online, signing up to their newsletters and job alerts. Keeping up to date with company developments will also help you impress your interviewers.
5. write targeted cover letters
Instead of sending a generic cover letter, think about each individual role you apply for. Look at how the responsibilities and qualifications required match your skills and expertise. Wherever possible, quantify your accomplishments – “achieved a 20% sales increase” certainly stands out more than “increased sales revenue”.
6. practise your interview skills
Before your interview, take time to review the job description and how the responsibilities of the role reflect with your past experience. If you can, try to practice by role-playing with a friend or family member. Being prepared will help you remain confident and secure your dream job.
7. promote your personal brand through social media and professional networking channels
It is important to note that if your Facebook profile is open to the public, this includes recruiters as well as prospective employers. Take time to thoroughly go through your social channels to ensure your personal brand is reflected in a positive and professional manner. Use professional networking sites like LinkedIn – update your profile and connect with like-minded individuals in your industry. You can also demonstrate your passion by writing or sharing industry-related news on networking platforms. For example, if you are enthusiastic about luxury products, blog about it.
Conduct a self assessment of your current skills and the skills required to land your dream role. If there are gaps in your ability, try to invest time and money into attending a training course. Possessing strong transferable skills is a plus, especially if you are considering to switch industries. Knowing a foreign language may also put you at a significant advantage, particularly if you are working in the front-line. Coding skills are in great demand, not only in IT industry, but also industries like banking, insurance and retail.
9. request for referrals or testimonials
Whether it is asking former managers, past clients or suppliers to write a recommendation letter, referrals are one of the most powerful ways to show off your track record to prospective employers. LinkedIn also provides the opportunity to request for endorsements and recommendations, which gives credibility to your profile.
10. contact your personal network
Reach out your personal contacts to notify them you are open to a new career opportunity. Be sure to tell your story – outline your past experience and achievements as well as your current aspirations and goals. Many jobs are landed through personal referrals so don’t be shy to ask your friends to lend you a hand.
Finally, here is a bonus tip: Persistence pays off! It is important to appreciate that no matter how long your job search may feel, the best thing you can do is to persevere. Finding a new role is often a job itself. It may take a months or even years to land your dream job, but it will never happen if you do not keep trying!