January is a great time to reset and renew. It's why so many people make resolutions and do their best to develop new, healthier, and lasting habits, like hitting the gym regularly or saving more money.
Or, perhaps, finding a new job. And, given the great market conditions for job seekers, those seeking a fresh start this January have a unique opportunity to make a career move.
"January tends to be a very busy month for both hiring and job searching," says Vicki Salemi, a career expert at Monster. 2018 data from Monster shows that January is indeed a wild month for job seekers, with 8 of the 10 busiest days for job searches on the platform occurring during the first month of the year.
The hiring bump isn't industry limited, either, but if history is any measure, many tech and health-care companies will look for candidates at the beginning of the year.
The government reported that the economy gained more than 300,000 jobs in January of 2019, almost twice as many as expected, despite a government shutdown. While those numbers greatly exceeded expectations, Salemi says that blockbuster jobs numbers aren't unusual for January. It's a month when employers are primed to hire — they have their budgets, know what they need, and go after candidates to fill open positions.
Video by Courtney Stith
With January fast approaching, here are some things that experts recommend you do now to prepare for a New Year's job search.
- Reach out to references. If you plan on looking for a job, let your references know that they might be getting a call. That way, they won't feel put on the spot when or if a potential employer reaches out.
- Polish your resume. If you haven't revised your resume in a while, take some time over the holidays to spruce it up. Make sure all of the information is current and that you're including keywords and phrases that are relevant to your industry and the specific jobs that you may be applying for come January.
- Narrow your search criteria. Salemi says that you should spend some time thinking about what you want from a new job, so that you're effectively narrowing your search parameters when you're ready to start applying. This way, you can avoid wasting time applying or interviewing for positions that you may not be interested in.
- Snag some nice clothes while they're on sale. The holidays are rife with retail sales and, though you may have already stretched your budget buying gifts, it can also be a good time to pick yourself up some new clothes. Appearances matter, and dressing well may actually help you land a new job.
- Refine your elevator pitch. Start thinking about how to make your interviews work for you. Specifically, prepare for questions about you and your desire to find a new position. Make sure you practice your elevator pitch, Salemi says, so that you can communicate clearly and concisely. It's also important to highlight how you'll bring value to the new role or new company.
"The impression that you make within the first couple of minutes during your interview is going to shape how that person thinks," Chelsea Goodman, president and career evaluation expert at Got The Job, recently told Grow. "There are many people who don't start on the right foot and then they have to recover from that." So make sure you practice what you will say in advance and be prepared with the right answers for some of the most popular questions.
And if you miss the January job-search window, Salemi says, don't panic: Companies are always looking for fresh talent. "There is no bad month for hiring," she says.
More from Grow: