The Job Search Checklist to Complete Before the New Year

Working Christmas

If you’re planning on looking for a new job at the beginning of the year, now is the time to start your job search prep. January marks a clean slate and it’s often the time companies do a lot of their hiring as new budgets open up and people trickle in from holiday vacations.

To make the most of one of the biggest months in hiring, it’s important to have your application materials ready to go. That way when January hits, you can apply to your heart’s content. Here’s what you can do now to make sure you can hit the ground running in the new year.

Decide on Your Dream Role

You probably know what kind of position you’re looking for, but it doesn’t hurt to do some reflection on what you like about your current role, what is making you look for a new one and what you’d ideally like in your next job.

Consider if you want to work for a big or small company or if you don’t care. Think about the size of the team you think (or know) you’d thrive in. Then brainstorm and research what titles companies are using to advertise those types of roles. When you start to apply in January you can set up alerts for specific keywords to alert you of open roles you will likely want to apply to.

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Tailor Your Resume

Once you’ve narrowed down the roles you would consider applying to, make sure your resume is not only in tip-top shape, but reflects the common qualifications that employers seek for those positions. This could mean creating a few different versions of your resume depending on if you’re applying for a more technical role in your industry, or one that requires more client contact than another. Having your resume ready to go makes hitting the “apply” button that much easier.

Write a Cover Letter Template

Just like your resume, you’re going to want your cover letter to reflect why you want the specific position you’re applying for. But that doesn’t mean you have to create a new cover letter for every application you send. Instead, spend time on a template that you can plug relevant information into and use over and over again. Having a framework, plus an already tailored resume, will take a lot of time out of the job application process.

Anticipate Interview Questions

You don’t want to get too far ahead of yourself, but it doesn’t hurt to start thinking about how you would answer common interview questions. Things like: Why are you seeking a new position? Where do you see yourself in five years? What are your biggest strengths? Tell me about a time that you made a mistake and how did you recover?

If it’s been awhile since your last interview, and even if you’re an interview pro, brushing up on your “story” now can relieve stress later.

Consider References

It’s likely you’re not going to want to use your current boss or team members as references for a new job, so think about who can vouch for you once you make it further into the job search process. Send them a quick note to reconnect if it’s been awhile. Let them know you’re searching for a new role, what you’re looking for and what you’ve been up to so if the time comes where you need to ask them for a reference, it’s less out of the blue.

Start to prepare for the busiest hiring season now. Work through this checklist in your downtime this holiday season—spend some time on your days off preparing yourself and your materials so you’re ready when January hits.

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