January and February are universally considered the best two hiring months because people generally find something about starting a new year psychologically motivating. We all make resolutions to break old/bad habits, establish new/good habits, and start afresh in terms of health, relationships, and careers. And these feelings of determination and good intentions don’t only apply to people seeking jobs; employers are equally motivated to start the new year off with a bang. After returning from the holiday lull, they’re eager to hit the ground running with a full team of motivated members.
So, how can you take advantage of this climate and jump-start your job search in the New Year? As we will discuss here, the key is to get a finger on your industry’s pulse, leverage available tools, and put yourself in a prominent, highly visible position where you can highlight what you offer.
Know What Your Industry Wants
Pay attention to hiring trends, particularly in your area of interest. Are the companies in your field looking for innovators? Are they looking for adaptability, technological know-how, the ability to work collaboratively, creative problem-solving skills, and/or an aptitude for analytical thinking? Years of experience in a similar position aren’t enough to set you apart; you need to know the ideal candidate in terms of hard and soft skills. That way, your resume can highlight your relevant talents and secure an interview, and you’ll know what to talk about during that interview.
Leverage Available Tools
Once you know what your potential employers are looking for and have determined that you’re the right fit for the job and vice-versa, you need to position yourself in such a way that you’ll be seen. Fortunately, many tools are available to help you stand up and be noticed.
Perhaps you think of LinkedIn as merely another social media platform where you follow your friends, they follow you, and you ‘like’ each other’s posts. If so, you’re missing out on making the most of a robust employment tool. A smart, impressive profile and an intelligent presence on the LinkedIn platform are a must in today’s day and age. Use the following tips to make the most of this tool:
- Structure your profile around your career goals.
- Keep everything up-to-date and don’t skimp on the details (spelling, grammar, lighting, images, titles, etc.—don’t cut corners).
- Use apt keywords (the ones for which employers in your industry are most liable to search).
- Connect with like-minded professionals and expand your network by joining relevant groups.
- Generate intelligent, pertinent content to boost your presence and profile.
Partner with recruiters and recruiting firms who specialize in your field. Like for example manufacturing, technology, medical devices or agriculture. Make sure you team up with a reputable, knowledgeable, experienced executive recruiter with the needed connections. Having someone like that in your corner can make a world of difference. Good recruiters have worked with their preferred companies for years and are deeply entrenched with their hiring managers. Your goal is to establish a solid relationship with your recruiter, so they will work tirelessly on your behalf. Executive recruiters can help you connect with many companies that don’t aggressively advertise top positions because they rely on their executive search firms to find and present them with appropriate candidates.
Job Boards/Website Career Pages
Search trustworthy job boards like Indeed, Hired, CareerBuilder, Linkedin Jobs, Glassdoor, etc., to get a clear idea of what the job market currently looks like at your level. Also, explore your target companies’ career pages, where you’ll see what your ideal employers seek. In the ideal scenario, you put yourself out there so they can find you, but you also put yourself forward and find them.
Once you know what your industry wants, have highlighted those skills and experiences on your resume and LinkedIn profile, and have leveraged the right tools to find positions and get your name out there, it’s time to prepare for the interviews that will doubtless come your way.
Power Statements/Elevator Pitches
Power Statements – Power statements are usually spoken of in terms of resume-building, but they are also one of the most effective ways to answer an interview question. Simply put, a power statement summarizes your actions and their impact. In other words, when asked to talk about your experience, you don’t simply state what you’ve done in your career; you summarize the positive effect your actions had on your colleagues, your company, and/or your environment. Be prepared with several power statements for several different scenarios.
Elevator Pitch – According to Princeton University, “An elevator pitch is a brief (think 30 seconds!) way of introducing yourself, getting across a key point or two, and making a connection with someone. It’s called an elevator pitch because it takes roughly the amount of time you’d spend riding an elevator with someone.” Have your elevator pitch ready when your interviewer says, “So, tell me about yourself.”
With these strategies in your back pocket, you’ll be primed and ready to impress. Happy hunting!
By Octavio Lepe
Octavio is the search practice leader for Executive Management, Sales & Marketing, and D&I in the Americas.
Barbachano International is the premier executive search and leadership advisory firm in the Americas (USA, Mexico, Canada, and Latin America) with a focus on diversity and multicultural target markets. Outplacement and Exe