If you are on the hunt for a new job, fourth quarter is a great time to start the process. Companies are finalizing budgets for the upcoming year and accounting for new positions. These companies are often ready to post positions and start interviewing in January and February. In addition, employees with job offers are waiting to resign after receiving year-end or Q1 bonuses. Here are a few steps that you should take over the next three months in order to launch a successful job search in 2020.
Update your resume and LinkedIn profile. Create a strong general resume (this resume is a foundation that can be tailored appropriately for each position). Be sure to highlight your accomplishments in each position: identify the problem that needed to be solved, the solution, your role in delivering the solution, and the impact on the company. Once finalized, use your resume as a basis to update your LinkedIn profile. Carefully proof each document to make sure that company names, titles and tenure in each role match.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile photo looks professional. Unless you are in an occupation such as veterinarian, trainer, or host of a show on Animal Planet, it is better to save the photo with your dogs for other social media sites. If you do not have a great headshot, have a friend snap a few photos of you, professionally dressed, in front of a bare, neutral-colored wall. A photo of you in a professional capacity is also appropriate. As an example, if you are on the lecture circuit, a photo delivering a speech from a podium is fine.
Review and clean your social media accounts. This is not meant to deny anyone’s right to self-expression. That said, many employers peruse potential candidates’ social media accounts. Simply ask yourself, if a Human Resources Director were to view your Facebook profile, is that the first impression you want to make? Then adjust privacy settings and remove content accordingly.
Identify target positions and companies. Once you have pinpointed the correct next step in your career, research different positions that will allow you to achieve that professional goal. Next, identify companies that offer or may even be in need of those types of positions.
Network! Find people working in your target positions and at target companies and ask for informational interviews. This is an opportunity to hear about the day-to-day responsibilities of the job and what the career path into that position might be. You also gain insight into a company’s culture, strategy and goals for the next year. An informational interview is NOT the time to push for a job offer. It is an opportunity to learn, build relationships within an organization, and improve your own interviewing skills.
Identify potential references. Think about former and current colleagues, supervisors, and clients, as well as individuals with whom you served on boards/committees that would be willing to act as a reference and can be trusted to keep your job search confidential. Reach out to these individuals, a few weeks prior to sending out resumes, to ask for permission to list them as a reference. Assure each one that you will contact them, once a potential employer requests references, to provide information about the role and who will be calling.
Identify recruiters in your search industry. Recruiters receive a lot of resumes, many from people who did not research our areas of search concentration. You may be interested in making a career or industry change. When sending a resume to a recruiter in your new area of focus, simply recognize that. Tell the recruiter, “I am interested in moving into the healthcare technology field.” Then, briefly identify some of your transferable skills. “I have been teaching computer science classes to high school students for five years and recently received a Master of Science in Health Infomatics.” This information tells the recruiter that you have done your homework and are not blindly shooting off a resume.
Searching for a new job is a big undertaking. Following these seven steps over the next three months will help you get organized and increase your odds for success in the new year.
Amy D. Bauer
CA Search Advisors, LLC