Now’s the time to get started on your resolution to find a new job in the new year. The holidays are the perfect time to begin your search. Yes, many HR departments are on vacation and hiring appears to halt. But, it’s a great time for you to lay the foundation to stand out in 2014.
First, you should revise your resume. Update it to include your professional accomplishments from 2013 such as a project you just completed or a promotion you received. If you’ve served on nonprofit boards or have volunteer experience, include it. It paints a fuller picture of you as a person. This can be helpful when you meet with someone who may not relate to your industry specific expertise.
You will also want to update your cover letter and LinkedIn profile. The best part about updating your LinkedIn profile during the holidays is that your boss and coworkers are less likely to notice changes that may tip them off that you’re looking.
Next, move on to your biggest opportunity: networking. Holiday parties are an ideal way to reconnect with friends and colleagues. Learn about what they’ve been up to this year, and share the latest on your life and career. Make sure to dress appropriately and keep indulgences in holiday spirits to a minimum.
If you have the chance, hint at your future goal of finding a new opportunity. With closer friends, you can be more direct in your approach. Have discretion however and realize that it’s easy for others to pick up on your conversation in this environment. The last thing you want is for your current employer to get wind that you’re looking for a new job.
Be sure to exchange business cards. After the party, follow up with your contacts via email and ask to set up a time to connect via the phone or over a coffee. You will find that although many folks are out of town near the end of December, they will gladly schedule a time to catch up when they return. This will put you before everyone else on their 2014 calendar.
The bottom line is to keep pushing ahead on your search, even during the holidays. Updating your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile now will prepare you for interviews next year. When the holidays wind down and managers are ready to get serious with hiring, you will be ahead of your competition. In fact, you will already have phone calls and coffee meetings set up.
For most candidates, a successful job search is built on preparation and networking – both of which are at your fingertips during this holiday season.
Angela Copeland is CEO/founder of Copeland Coaching, www.CopelandCoaching.com. You can follow Copeland Coaching on Twitter (@CopelandCoach) and Facebook (Facebook.com/CopelandCoaching).