I'll start off this blog with a good news/bad news scenario. First the good news, it's a brand new year and a fresh start for all of us. The bad news, for those involved in the frustrating world of a job search and it can appear to more of the same from the previous months of last year.
The reality is that it's a fresh start both for the employer and the job seeker. For the employers, several factors come into play that make things better than the end of the previous year. Company budgets are often set up on a calendar year basis and hiring slows toward the end of the year as budget money tightens. With the start of a new calendar year and a fresh budget, hiring picks up considerably and hiring managers/HR staff are anxious to get things moving again. Along with the availability of budget funds, new planning takes place during the early months of a new year, which often means new or expanded positions are created. The hiring attitudes are fresher as well, with managers no longer concerned about going over budget to fill a much needed vacancy. As a job seeker, you should soon see more job listings available than the meager opportunities at the end of the year. Employers that did have open job listings at the end of a year will often repost vacancies with updated job descriptions and requirements. These updates frequently make a difficult to fill positions much more appealing to job seekers and increases their candidate pools.
For the job seeker, it is best to take a hard look at what you did last year and evaluate what you did right and what didn't work. This evaluation can be anything from your resume and cover letter to where and how you submit your information for job openings. Start with the resume and cover letter and consider having a professional assist you with creating or revamping the resume. I've seen volumes of resumes over my years in HR and although most have the information needed, the format is sometimes detrimental to being read. Keep in mind that yours is not the only resume being received and it is usually one person going through the stack to pick out whose a fit and who isn't. If who you are doesn't jump out to the recruiter or hiring manager within the first 30 seconds, your resume is probably ending up on a reject pile. Unless you are someone that has been on the hiring side for many years, you won't know what a professional reviewer looks for and that is a common mistake for most job seekers. The cover letter is another missed opportunity for job seekers and using a "generic" cover letter for every job submission is a very bad idea. Again, a professional in the business can help overcome many of the usual pitfalls. The cover letter should be unique to each company you submit to for a job opening and tailored to fit the position you desire. It can be a "generic" format but the wording should always vary from company to company and position to position. Use the cover letter to enhance the resume and provide incentive to read the resume in more detail.
How you find job openings and apply for them is extremely important and an area to streamline in the new year. Most job applicants rely on the various job boards on line to find job openings. This is a convenient tool and should be utilized to your best interests. One thing to remember is that there are hundreds of others also using these job boards and applying for the same jobs you are. It is always good to have an edge over the competition and where to find job openings is key. Companies have to pay big bucks to list jobs on the job boards but they can list job openings on their own company website for free. Many businesses will list openings first on their own site and only revert to using the job boards if the job is difficult to fill. As a job seeker, you should locate the websites for any company you are interested in and drill down through the various tabs until you find their careers link. You should be able to apply direct through their website or there will be valuable contact information to apply with. One of the drawbacks to applying directly via the internet job boards, is there is no company contact information available for application follow up. Having a name, e-mail address or phone number can create contact options for better feed back and status updates. There are generally fewer candidates for company website listings than there are on the big job boards, which increases your chances for an interview. Applying direct to a company also adds your resumes into their candidate database for future job openings, as opposed to having it be just one of millions on the big job board sites that only headhunters tend to search.
Networking is a job search tool that is seldom utilized by the job seeker but can be an extremely valuable asset to your search. It is surprising the number of personal and business contacts you've been associated with over the years and when multiplied exponentially with their contacts, it can sometimes open doors that otherwise might not be there. LinkedIn.com is an excellent networking resource and it's free to register for and use. As you build your network, you'll be exposed to the networks of your contacts and it continues to grow and grow. You can list your resume on-line with them and post comments as well as send/receive private messages between contacts. A much easier method is to just call on friends and previous business contacts to let them know you're in the job market and would appreciate any leads or referrals they hear about. Many sets of eyes and ears are so much better than just one set (yours).
These are but a few insights into the world of jobs and job seekers entering a new year .... take advantage of learning something new, trying out a new approach or just feeling refreshed and ready to hit the ground running as Jan 1st looms near. Good luck in your search from HR-Employment Solutions.