January – the time for resolutions; for change; for breaking new ground – whether it’s giving up booze or giving up the job that’s not giving you the fulfilment you crave. If the festive season has been one of reflection for you, a period of assessing what’s important and whether you’re getting what you want out of your chosen position, January is the time to start afresh.
Indeed, January is heralded as the most popular month to change jobs, with around one in five doing so at this time of the year. Why? Going back to work in a job you don’t like after a joyful Christmas break and all the turkey trimmings – albeit with a side helping of arguments over Charades – is compounded by the dreary days of January. There’s a reason we call them the ‘January Blues’.
It could be that you haven’t found the right level of job satisfaction, or your decision to move could be based purely on the facts and figures – salary, perks, benefits, etc. We all have different motivations and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to finding that ‘dream job’ but ironing out exactly what you want from a new job is the best place to start.
The good news is that there is now a myriad of resources available to help anyone in their job search. From a simple search on Google to more refined online job boards and other job search engine sites such as Reed and Indeed, applying for many jobs can be as simple as clicking a button. Much of the work can be done from your smartphone.
If you have identified a particular company (or companies) that you are interested in working for, many advertise open positions on their ‘careers’ website pages, and a multitude of networking sites like LinkedIn also carrying advanced job search capabilities. If your chosen career is a little more specialised or niche, there will invariably be a recruitment firm that is dedicated to filling positions in that space. So do your research and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to speak to a recruitment expert in your chosen field – they will have sight of the top positions that are out there in the market and will help guide you through the interview process. The great thing about enlisting the help of a recruitment consultant is that it won’t cost you anything; they take commission from the employer, and never the candidates, if they’re successful in making a placement.
To stand out from the crowd, make sure that you take the time to amend your CV for each application and write targeted covering letters that highlight the experience that makes you suitable for each role. If there’s one thing that hiring managers hate, it’s ‘generic’ applications to roles, so pinpoint the triumphs of your career that are relevant. And this isn’t the time to be modest; you need to shout about your accomplishments and how they have benefitted the companies you have worked for in the past. If you can provide an employer with tangible examples of how you could help their organisation, you will put yourself forward as an exceptional candidate.
Lastly, fail to prepare and you should be prepared to fail; the interview process is where you get to shine and research into the company you’re applying to is crucial. Interviewers want to speak to candidates who are engaged with their organisation, can list the company’s values, have delved into its back catalogue of blog articles and can rattle off the senior leadership team and their successes. Read up on trends in the sector, come armed with recent news stories on developments across the industry and demonstrate your passion for the area , backed up by insights from your own expertise. Questions – your questions – are also a key clincher in any interview and these can very deliberately strategic in helping convince the interviewer that you are the right person for the job. For example, ‘What would be expected of me in this position?’ sets it in the mind of the interviewer that you would succeed in the role, while, ‘Do you have any immediate concerns about employing me?’ allows you to instantly allay anything that arises.
On the flipside, avoid asking about the salary and benefits too early in the process. Negotiation can wait until they’ve fallen in love with you!