January is generally one of the most competitive times for job seekers applying for roles online but a relatively quiet month on the recruitment landscape for employers.
Many are still on holidays and some have started catching up on the time lost over the Christmas period or have started working towards next year’s goals, leaving little time to think about hiring new employees. If you are entering the New Year excited to explore new career opportunities, January may feel like a fruitless month. However, there are some proactive steps you can take during this time that will set you up for a successful 2017.
Write a career plan
Before you can know what the next step in your career is, you have to understand your current situation. Start with an honest assessment of yourself and the market you are currently in by conducting a SWOT analysis.
Below is a basic template with questions you can ask yourself to understand your current situation.
Develop SMART goals
Write down clear goals that you can assess and review regularly. Ensure all goals follow the SMART principle; simple, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. This ensures your goals are not broad and unachievable. Set out one to two goals under each of the headings below, these are excellent to refer back to when you are applying for roles down the track.
Industry – Work within the FMCG or consumer goods industry within the next 12 months.
Role and responsibilities – Gain role as a senior brand manager (from brand manager) for a high profile brand, with revenue and management responsibility within 6 months.
Salary – Gain a new role with a salary of $130,000 plus super, plus bonus within 3 months.
Organisational culture – Work for an organisation that values family and work-life integration by providing flexible hours, above standard maternity leave and the option to job share or work part-time.
Achievements – Identify category drivers and new segments to increase category growth by 2.5% within one year.
Update your CV and social media profiles
Update your CV with your most recent career, including details of your most notable achievements. Always provide clear examples and data to back you up. Follow this link for more information and a CV template.
It is also vital to update your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a valuable professional networking and research tool and shouldn’t be overlooked. Your LinkedIn profile should be a summary of your CV; make it short (at least half the size of your CV), sharp (use bullets and chunk text) and impactful (with examples and data). Again, achievements should feature here (keeping in mind commercial sensitivities).
Make a hit list
Compile a list of organisations you would like to work for, this may also extend to people in your field you respect and admire. This list will become especially handy in the next stage; connecting with a recruitment consultant. The table below will help organise your thoughts.
Partner with a recruitment consultant long-term
Connecting and gaining the help of a good recruitment consultant can prove invaluable (even if they don’t place you). Find someone who legitimately specialises in your field, and do your research. See who is posting jobs in your field, ask your colleagues for referrals of recruiters that they found to be knowledgeable and professional, look at their activity on LinkedIn (are they part of relevant groups, do they share interesting insights?) and see how well connected they are.
Contact two consultants that you would like to partner with long-term and build a relationship with them. Good consultants will be able to give you advice on the market and your career, and consult back to you on your hit list.
Let your network know (where possible) that you are exploring new opportunities. Referrals are the best way to get a new role. Attend meet ups, seminars and thought leadership events to ensure you are at the forefront of your industry and the opportunities that are available.
January offers the perfect opportunity to set yourself up for a successful career transition in the New Year.