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New year, new job?

When it’s a new year most of us think about losing weight, quitting smoking, exercising more – or perhaps finding a new job.

Filed in Changing jobs

It's no surprise that January is the time when many of us think about looking for a new job. Perhaps we were dissatisfied for much of the previous year, and just put the decision off until the next year arrives - fresh year, fresh start and all that. Or maybe the break gave us time to reflect on what we really want - and made us realise just how tired, overworked and under-appreciated we all felt!

According to research, between a quarter of us (according to fish4jobs) and a half of us (according to Jobsite) will be looking for a new job in January. We're more inclined to believe the bigger number - we find January to be particularly busy in terms of candidate activity.

So, is now the right time to find a job? Are we just fed up because we've got the post-holiday blues? Or do we really need the change? The answer is going to be different for everyone, of course - but it does seem that many people put off the change until January as they believe that it's a better time to make that all-important career move, perhaps because of the psychological benefits of 'new year, new job'.

Before you leap, it's worth getting your thoughts together and understanding why you want to change your job - and appreciating that you may be applying for jobs in what is the most competitive time of the year.

Here are some things to think about:

  • Don't get drawn into 'change for change's sake' - if you have a career plan, stick to it; if you don't, now's the time to think about your long-term goals, not just your immediate needs. If you're going to make a change, make sure that change supports your long-term goals, if not, it could be a pointless step. Keep focused on what you want to achieve - and imagine yourself in that ideal job. What's it going to take to get to it? One move? Two? More? Get planning!
  • Why do you want a new job? More money? Less hassle? A new challenge? To support your long-term career goals? Or to cut down on travelling, so you can spend more time at home? It's important to think about your goals, so that you don't swap a job for a similar situation - make sure that any move benefits you in the way that you want it to.
  • Who's going to help you get your job? In the learning and development industry, specialist recruitment companies (such as - ahem - Blue Eskimo) can help you to get the right results faster, because they understand the industry better. The larger recruiters won't spend as much time with you and are less likely to understand your needs. Don't leave how you find your job to chance.
  • Assess potential jobs in terms of how much you will enjoy the role. It's important to do a job you love, so make sure that any job you apply for is one you will get pleasure from. Anything less is a disservice to yourself and, unless you really hate where you work, is a step backwards (or, at best, sees you treading water). A job change should represent career progression - otherwise it's not worth doing.
  • Revamp your CV. And by that, we don't mean just updating it. If you really want a new job, you need to do everything in your power to get it - and your CV needs to sell you hard. Show your CV to friends, your partner - get advice. Listen to the advice and make notes. Then start afresh with a clean-looking professional CV. Keep it short, keep it clear and make sure it sells, sells, sells. Be ruthless - ditch things which aren't really that valuable. It may seem counter to the accepted way, but for those with a lot of experience, think about even ditching much of your education information - it's really not that relevant to who you are now and what you can do. Think about what the employer is going to want from you and make sure that your CV addresses it. Make sure your CV says what you are looking for from your next job and demonstrate a desire for success.
  • You're probably going to get rejected at least once. We all do - don't take it personally. Learn from it and move on. (It's worth asking why you were rejected - show a positive attitude, ask what attributes you were missing, and take those comments on board.) Update your CV accordingly so you don't get rejected on the same score again.
  • Think objectively about your skills, strengths and weaknesses. If your skills are lacking in a particular area - especially if it's one you want to progress into - what can you do to get yourself into a position where you have those skills? Now might not be the right time to apply for a new job - if you want to move up the career ladder, you might well need to learn some new skills.

A new job is something that you're likely to have to live with for a while, so make sure the move is a positive, well-considered one. Don't jump ship for the sake of change and make sure that your new job is going to contribute to your overall career plan.

If you want help planning your next career step, feel free to talk to us. We're not going to try to press you into applying for jobs if you're not ready, but we could help provide some objective and practical advice. But we really can't help you to lose weight or quit smoking - that is definitely down to you!

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