Driving home for Christmas? Top tips for January job-seekers

My drive home for Christmas can be anything from four to six hours depending on the traffic on the M1. It’s a great time for reflection on 2019’s achievements. Sitting on the M1 heading North, car full of gifts for the family, Chris Rhea on repeat trying to get myself into the Christmas spirit and trying to forget about the million and one things I haven’t managed to get finished in the office before I left. It’s a time for reflection on the year gone by for sure.

It’s also the time when a lot of people give consideration to their career. Are you in the right job? Are you on the right path? Are you working for the right company? Do you feel like you’re getting the right salary? Do you feel valued? Do you have a clear path for progression?

Or is 2020 going to be the right time to start looking for a new job? Here are some of my top tips for January job-seekers.

First of all, are you actually looking for the right job? Establish what you want – is it a better salary, the chance to do more creative work, service better clients, learn new skills, or enjoy more perks like flexible working?

Research the market – are you aware of what and who is out there? What current vacancies there are and who is hiring? Did you know that companies often give their roles exclusively to recruiters and ask for no ads to go in the public domain? Often a company’s internal politics prevents public advertising. Sometimes it’s because they don’t want their growth plans or their hiring strategy and salary budgets to be exposed to their


Choose the right recruiter – one that specialises in your sector. Experienced consultants can advise you on the market, the skills that are in demand, how to tailor your application, and improve your prospects. And make sure you choose a recruiter who takes the time to get to know you and what you are looking for, rather than simply banging out CVs without checking with you first.

Get some career advice – should you change direction, or look to move from the public to the private or third sector, or adjust your sights because your market value differs from what you thought? These are all questions your recruiter can help with.

Rework your CV – a lot of the CVs we see are – frankly – a bit dull. Could yours do with a rework? Are you really tailoring it to suit each job you apply for, or just doing a quick keyword swap? If you have a portfolio, tailor the work examples for each vacancy. Highlight your transferable skills and if they don’t match the work that’s out there, update them. Check that your references are relevant for each job, rather than listing the same names each time.

Interview techniques – if you’re getting plenty of interviews but no job offers, get some feedback from your recruiter. Maybe you come across as over-confident, or your shyness looks like arrogance. Or you might be talking too much and not listening closely enough to the questions. Dress to suit the job and the culture, and research the company and its competitors so you can ask sensible questions about their market.

Rather than droning on too much about your general achievements, show your interviewer how well your skills and interests apply to their culture and environment by having tangible examples ready to show your interviewer.

Review your online profile – 70% of hiring managers and recruiters head straight online to check out candidates so make sure your online presence gives off a professional image by removing anything inappropriate. Make sure there is nothing inappropriate on your social networking pages or that your security settings mean your pages are not public. It’s vitally important to ensure that your LinkedIn career history matches up with your CV.

Stay motivated – it’s hard to stay positive in the face of rejection emails, especially if you are unemployed, but try not to get downhearted, it obviously wasn’t the job for you! Talk to your recruitment consultant to get continuous feedback on your job search and your applications – it will help to keep your determination strong and it’s something you won’t get if you apply for jobs online.

Stay upbeat – keep in touch with your contacts and what’s going on in your industry by contributing to online debates and getting out to networking events.

See setbacks as lessons you can learn, rather than rejections. And team up with a good recruiter if you want to give your 2020 job search a kickstart.

For permanent or freelance recruitment in the Creative, Marketing and Digital Sector in Milton Keynes contact Jo Carter, Managing Director of Concept Personnel. www.linkedin.com/in/jo-carter-concept