New Year, New Career: 5 Tips for January Job Hunting
The new year is often a time for change. Inspired to start over, we join the gym, declutter the house, take up new hobbies and focus on personal development. Professional growth may also be on your mind if you’re planning to look for a new job.
January job hunting season is busy for recruiters as budgets are renewed and organisations look to grow their teams for the year ahead. So if you’re hoping to take the next step in your career this year, it’s time to set yourself up for success. Here’s how to prepare for January job hunting and beat the competition.
1. Set actionable goals
Just as you might have set yourself some new year’s resolutions, it’s also important to set some actionable career goals. These will help you to stay on track and to hold yourself accountable for your job search.
These goals should be achievable—for example, you could aim to apply for at least four jobs a week. Setting and fulfilling smaller tasks like this means the job search will feel far less intimidating. It’s easier to accomplish larger goals by breaking them down into step-by-step actions.
2. Reflect on long-term career goals
As well as those smaller actions, you also need to reflect on your longer-term career goals and how your job search can contribute towards these. For example, your long-term plan may be to become a community outreach coordinator, but in order to climb the ladder, you may have to start as an outreach advocate or by taking on a relevant internship.
By reflecting on what you want to achieve in the long term like this, you can shape your job search and determine which roles you should be applying for this year. Create an actionable plan and be sure to stick to it. It’s a good idea to use the SMART method—i.e. ensure that goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based.
3. Attend events and functions
Networking is an important part of your professional life, especially during the job search. Seeking out both online and in-person networking events can be an ideal way to mingle with important players in the charity sector. Be sure to follow up with anyone you meet afterwards. You never know what opportunities they might offer you for the coming year.
If you already work in the charity sector, either in a voluntary or paid position, then joining CharityConnect can be a great way of meeting other charity professionals and getting your work-related questions answered. As well as online community discussion boards, CharityConnect offers virtual ‘Connections’ events. These are a chance to hear from an industry expert and then meet in small groups with your charity peers.
4. Update your CV
Every successful job search must include an updated CV. You certainly don’t want to rely on an older, outdated version to win you a new job. So, before you begin applying, it’s important to give your CV a refresh.
Start by thinking back over the past year. Be sure to add any new skills you’ve gained, any recent achievements and any additional experience or voluntary work. Make sure these are relevant to the role and industry, of course.
You should also remove anything that is no longer needed. If you’re stuck, consider using a CV template to help guide your updated application.
Last but certainly not least, the job search can take time, and it might feel like a busy few months. That’s particularly the case if you’re still working while you’re job hunting or if you’re doing voluntary work in the meantime.
Make sure to give yourself some time to relax. January can feel like a pressured time anyway as you strive for personal and professional development. So take a break wherever you can and, most importantly, be kind to yourself.
It might take longer than you anticipated, but the perfect role will come along when the time is right.
Get ready to start your job search
Your job is an integral part of your life. Once you’ve made the decision to take the next step in your charity career, it’s never too early to start preparing. Using the five tips we’ve outlined, you can put yourself ahead of the competition and jumpstart your January job hunting.
So don’t delay—update your CV and start getting actionable goals in place right away. Then you can start looking at which charities are hiring this year.
This post was originally published in 2023. We’ve updated it to ensure relevance and to reflect the current job seeker experience.
Andrew Fennell is the founder and director of StandOut CV, a leading CV builder and careers advice website. He is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to publications like Business Insider, The Guardian, and the Independent.