6 Strategies to Land a New Job By January 

With Halloween gone and Thanksgiving just around the corner, you can easily get distracted by all the festivities and put your job hunt on hold. It’s actually a common misconception that hiring doesn’t happen over the holidays. In reality, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Find a New Job by JanuaryWith Halloween gone and Thanksgiving just around the corner, you can easily get distracted by all the festivities and put your hunt for a new job on hold. It’s actually a common misconception that hiring doesn’t happen over the holidays. In reality, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Last year I delivered documents for a client on November 23 and by early January, he started a new 6-figure job. The year prior, I bumped into a client in November who had been in transition for several months. I told her to not slow down her search over the holidays. She emailed me in early January to say she was starting a new position.

Hiring does happen over the holidays. Here are six ways to make the most out of the holiday season for your job hunt.

1. Ramp up Your Job Search During the Holidays

Most of your peers slow down their search because they think that “people are busy”, or “no one is in the office.” So that means there is less competition out there for you. The last quarter of the year is actually pretty active. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the hire rate for December 2015 was more than 5 percent higher than in January 2016. Oftentimes, companies have head counts that they will loose if they don’t fill it by year-end. Or they know they are getting approval to hire in January so they start searching now in order to have the new person starting in early January.

2. Re-engage Your Network With Holiday Greetings

The holidays are a perfect time to reconnect with your network — recruiters, colleagues and previous employers — and provide a reminder that you exist. It’s as easy as dropping them a note on LinkedIn, or arranging a time to meet and catch up.

3. Work the Room at Holiday Parties

Social events are pretty synonymous with the holidays. Not just family events, but events at work and any associations you may be a part of. No one is expecting you to be fishing for job leads at one of these events, so it’s easier to keep things more casual. But people feel more giving around the holidays and want to help.

If parties usually make you feel like running the opposite direction, seek out the other person standing alone and engage in some small talk. Ask some questions about their holiday traditions or their favorite thing to do over the holidays. Eventually the conversation naturally leads to, “So what do you do?” This is when you can mention your career goals or that you are looking for a new challenge.

4. Reach Out to ThirdParty Recruiters 

Lack of open positions is not the challenge for recruiters during this time of year — in fact, the challenge is in the pool of candidates drying up. Recruiters are motivated to fill any open positions by year-end so they can earn their commission. So make third-party recruiters be your secret weapon to snag an offer and have a great reason to celebrate on New Year’s Eve.

5. Be Flexible

Those involved in the hiring process may be trying to take some vacation time themselves. So if you can make yourself available you’ll likely have an advantage over your competition. This may mean you need to be willing to come back early from vacation or shift holiday plans. There is no reason to go extreme and cancel without an interview secured, though. That will just disappoint you and your family.

6. Update Your Personal Marketing Materials

Finding time to job search while you’re employed is not always easy. Make the most out of your time off and get your resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letter up-to-date. Gather your reviews and make notes about the projects you’ve completed over the last 12 months. Ask your colleagues for recommendations on LinkedIn. Better yet, gift your colleagues and former managers by writing a recommendation for them, first.

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year to be in job search! Companies don’t stop hiring just because it’s the holidays. Happy job hunting!

How to Beat Ageism and Get Hired

Ageism — age discrimination — in the job search is a reality that’s hitting both ends of the spectrum. As a job seeker, it’s pretty easy to fall prey to it (especially when you don’t get the job you’re after) if you don’t have the right attitude.

Can you guess which generation I’m describing?

  1. Old school. Stodgy. Unwilling to change.
  2. Lazy. Entitled. Selfish.
  3. Pessimistic. Disillusioned. Skeptical.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are pretty prevalent, and my guess is most of you had no problem identifying A as Baby Boomers, B as Millennials or C as Generation X.

Ageism — age discrimination — in the job search is a reality that’s hitting both ends of the spectrum. As a job seeker, it’s pretty easy to fall prey to it (especially when you don’t get the job you’re after) if you don’t have the right attitude.

A friend of mine — a young-looking 55 year-old — is coming up on the two-year anniversary of being in transition. He has had lots of interviews and been the second choice a couple times, so clearly he’s able to generate interest. However, when you ask him why he can’t seem to land the offer, he’ll tell you it’s because of his age.

Do you believe he’s right? I don’t.

You will experience ageism in your job search, but it’s not the cause of everything going wrong in your job search. Once you accept that it will be an obstacle you can’t control and change your focus to things you can control — your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, interviewing skills — you will no doubt land faster.

Avoid Looking Your Age on Paper

Whether it’s your LinkedIn profile, cover letter or resume, chances are hiring managers or recruiters will first meet you on paper (or online). A Millennial, GenXer or Baby Boomer “star” will either sizzle or fizzle with how they present themselves in writing.

Star Millennials will pounce on the opportunity to showcase their writing ability in their cover letter. It makes an impact because, unfortunately, most people don’t even bother writing one. It’s also a good way to debunk the myth that Millennials are only able to text and cannot write in complete sentences.

A star Millennial’s resume WILL NOT include the following:

  • Lists of tasks: Just because you’re a doer by the nature of a lower-level role, doesn’t mean you didn’t make an impact to your employer. What results did you help achieve?
  • Smugness: No jokes, irony, Millennial buzzwords or exaggerations. Just professional in tone and presentation.
  • Language errors and typos: “Your” and “you’re,” “there” and “their.” You get the point. No mistakes!
  • GPAs: Anyone that’s been out of school more than three years needs to scrap it from their resume.
  • Self-centered summaries: You need to focus on what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you.

Gen Xers are in the middle of their careers — and in the middle of the workforce, so one strategy to take in your cover letter is to indicate how you serve as a bridge between Millennials and Baby Boomers. It can appeal to a hiring manager who may be older or younger than you.

When it comes to your resume, Gen Xers should quantify achievements with numbers and results. Many members of this generation have had managerial experience, so it’s great to highlight any organizational results here as well. A star Gen Xer’s resume WILL NOT include:

  • Overdone, meaningless cliché’s: “Results-oriented,” “passionate” and “guru” should be deleted.
  • Basic technical skills: Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint are assumed skills and should be left off the resume.
  • References: “References Available Upon Request” should be left off because it’s assumed and having it there, just dates you.

When it comes to a star Baby Boomer’s cover letter, clearly illustrate how you’re willing to embrace new things and how you can help mentor younger employees. Highlight your unique qualifications and recent accomplishments (not from 10+ years ago). You might even tackle difficult issues here — things like resume gaps or why you’re coming back to a corporate environment after running your own business.

A star Baby Boomer’s resume WILL NOT include:

  • Volumes of your life story: Keep it under two pages at the most, focusing on your most recent 10 to 15 years. Anything prior to this can be included in a summary paragraph with dates left out.
  • TMI: Every single job you’ve had does not need to be clearly described and listed. Only relevant ones to the position you’re offering.
  • Descriptions of outdated skills: Outdated technology and skills should be simply documented as part of a job.

Avoid Appearing Your Age in Person

Now that we’ve got you looking good on paper, the next step is to look good in person – the interview. According to a survey of 2000 bosses, 33 percent claimed that they know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether they will hire someone. That means first impressions really count.

Your Job Search Is Like a Marketing Plan

The modern-day job search is not like it used to be. Long gone are the days of applying for jobs online and getting calls for interviews. Depending who you ask, there’s only a 2 to 4 percent response rate for posted positions. Yet, so many people start their job search this way because that is what they know. Essentially, what they are doing is marketing without a plan.

Job SearchA client recently came to me frustrated.  He had been applying for jobs for about a month and was not getting any traction/response. In the past he had never had a problem, and he couldn’t figure out what might be going wrong. From my experience, I know he is not alone in his thinking.

The modern-day job search is not like it used to be. Long gone are the days of applying for jobs online and getting calls for interviews. Depending who you ask, there’s only a 2 to 4 percent response rate for posted positions. Yet, so many people start their job search this way because that is what they know. Essentially, what they are doing is marketing without a plan.

When I first got introduced to direct mail 15-plus years ago, I was told, “Direct mail is like the salesman that lands in your mailbox.” Well, this scared the heck out of me, because I was coming from a graphic design job and knew nothing about sales. Yet, those words always resonate with me whenever I plan marketing campaigns. In job search, it’s really no different. Your LinkedIn profile, resume and cover letter are your sales team. And they are going to help your ideal employer find you.

So, you really need to run your job search like a marketing campaign. Let’s walk through the critical components of a campaign. Then I’ll show you how it translates to job search.

1. The Target = Your Ideal Company and Position
You would never go to market without knowing who your target audience is. So why would you launch a job search without knowing where you want to end up? Everyday I see people launch their job searches by updating their resumes and then blasting them everywhere. In reality, it pays to take the time to figure out where you want to be.

Just like you have buyer personas for your company’s products, you need a company persona for your job search. With your company persona in mind, it will be easier to write your career marketing materials. Answer questions like these when creating your company persona:

  • What industry?
  • What size company (staff and revenue)?
  • Agency or Corporate?
  • B-to-B or B-to-C?
  • What type of culture are you looking for?

Once you have your company persona, start researching companies that fit your description. Find out what their pains are and how you can solve those pains.

If you want to go a step further, write out your ideal job description. It can serve as a guide when you’re wondering if you should apply for a posted position.

  • What title do you want?
  • Who do you want to report to?
  • What type of projects do you want to work on?
  • Do you want to manage or be an individual contributor?

Now, you truly have your target defined. Then instead of searching for a job, you’ll search for companies with specific challenges you know you can solve!