What is the new year, if not a fresh start? It’s a chance to reset your thinking and turn potential into reality. Make a few career-related New Year's resolutions and commit yourself to achieving them in the next 12 months. It could also be time to take a new approach to your professional life. So it’s time to begin looking at what you can do to score a great new job for your fresh start.
Make a list of all your goals
Make a list with your experience, skills, and goals to figure out what comes next. Be as specific as possible—if there are certain companies you’d like to target, don’t be shy. Brainstorm all the changes you want to make — all that you want to accomplish. You may only end up with a few goals, but if you are facing a key crossroads in your life, you may have a handful of goals about your future. Be specific here. Don’t say your goal is to find a new job; say your goal is to find a new job with an employer that offer workplace flexibility.
Work with your network
Once you start the job search, you may need introductions or recommendations on short notice. Take the year-end time to reach out to former colleagues or acquaintances who are related to your wish list jobs or companies. A new year is a great time to find ways to grow your network. Consider attending networking events, perusing networking sites, cleaning up your social media profiles, and using social platforms to discover new contacts in your profession. That cup of coffee or friendly email chain could translate into great opportunities or support in the new year.
Refresh your skills
If any jobs on your wish list are a bit of a stretch, skill-wise, that’s easily fixable. If there are classes that can help you build those skills, fantastic—sign up ASAP. If not, assign yourself some self-study. Consider courses that offer an opportunity to learn a completely new skill, or try deepening a skill set that you already possess. And don’t forget about honing your “soft skills” to make yourself even more marketable. Set aside time during the week to look into the areas where you need some help, and spend that time doing online research or reaching out to people (via social media or websites) who could help you get more information and build those skills.
Build your personal brand
Even if you don’t want it known that you’re fishing around for a new job, you can do some discreet social media scrubbing and updating on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. to better position yourself for your goal jobs. Revise your profiles to show the strengths or themes you want your target companies/industry to see. This should be the consistent lead in your résumé, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. It is the simple answer to the question: "Tell me about your (professional) self" in no more than two or three sentences. Your brand should describe what you do professionally, and convey how you set yourself apart from others who do the same or similar things.
Keep your current job
If you’re looking for a new job—especially if you’re not totally satisfied with your current one—it can be tempting to slack off a bit while you look for new opportunities. Don’t give in to this temptation! No matter how “done” you feel, try to be more proactive about taking on responsibilities. This could be an organic way to enhance skills you may need later, but also make sure you keep a stellar reputation.