I’m a planner – I love sitting down with my notebook, coming up with new ideas, writing new headlines, constructing new offers. Planning and building, to me, is one of the best part of working for myself, wherein a lot of other people hate it. I find it thrilling to go out there and do the research, see what opportunities are viable, and start building towards it.
And I like to trickle down that aspect to my readers and clients, as research, planning, and preparation are as much a critical component of career management as the physical tools (resume, cover letter, bio) themselves.
Middle to end of December is a great time to be focused on the research and planning aspect of your search, or preparing to start one in the new year. Hiring, while not completely stagnant, tends to be slow moving, and you can take advantage of that by using this time to plot out your next moves, instead of rushing to get all your applications out the door before December 25.
Here are a few ideas for using the coming weeks to plan, and conduct some serious job search intel that will put you ahead of the game come January:
1) Setup Google Alerts
for company names and job titles that interest you, so that you’ll be alerted the moment they’re posted and picked up by Google.
2) Create a top prospect list of your top 10-20 companies
you’d like to work for. Follow their company pages on LinkedIn so that you’ll be notified of new openings or changes in staff, and connect with them on social media so you can get involved in their conversations and build visibility. Finally, make it a point to check their company website once a week for new openings.
3) Go through your prospect list and use LinkedIn to find any mutual contacts
you might have at the company, whether it’s former colleagues or supervisors, friends of friends, or anyone else who might be able to hook you up with an introduction. Remember – referrals carry 10x more weight than blind applications, since they come from a trusted internal source.
4) Use search engines like Indeed, LinkedIn’s job board functionality, and niche job boards to do research around the different titles
that might apply to you, but perhaps you’re not aware of. You can do a member search and look at other people’s profiles and get a sense of the language they’re using to describe themselves. The goal is to ensure that you have the best keywords and search terms to maximize your search results (see point #1).
Finally, take advantage of these gratis resources, guides, and worksheets to help kickstart the planning process, from writing a resume summary statement, to creating an impactful digital brand presence, to building a financial exit strategy to quit your job.