31 Ways to Jumpstart Your Job Search Before the New Year

January 2016 is just a few weeks away, and companies are going to be hiring like crazy. How can you jumpstart your job search? Here is a list of 31 ways you can be ahead of the job search game by the time January rolls around.

  • Re-design your resume. If you are pleased with the content of your resume, but not so sure about the layout, use this time to change up the design. There are more professional options for resume design other than the templates on Microsoft Word.
  • Write your executive summary. By now, you’ve heard that objective statements are a thing of the past. A three to five sentence paragraph describing your skills, passions, and tangible accomplishments is more effective than an objective statement.
  • Create your elevator pitch. Use your executive summary as a starting point for your one to three minute spiel on what you’re about and why a company should hire you.
  • Refresh your cover letter. Read over your cover letter. If you’re bored to tears after the first few sentences, it’s time to edit it!
  • Google yourself. The first thing many recruiters do is google your name, so make sure your google search is clear of embarrassing pictures. It is also informative to know how high your name shows up on the search and if you should optimize your digital presence.
  • Take a professional headshot. A professional headshot might be out of your price range, but at the bare minimum take a picture that is appropriate for work. Use your new headshot on your LinkedIn profile.
  • Create a personal website. A personal website is the best place to show off your professional accomplishments. Add your resume, any relevant projects, and maybe a blog if you want to show off your writing skills.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile. Your LinkedIn profile should be consistent with your traditional resume. You can also add more skills and accomplishments to your LinkedIn profile that don’t fit on your resume.
  • Give out, and ask for, LinkedIn recommendations. If you have a deserving colleague, give them a glowing recommendation. Don’t be afraid to reach out to former co-workers and managers you have a good relationship with and ask them for a recommendation.
  • Join a LinkedIn Group. Find LinkedIn groups in your chosen field and see what the hot topics of conversation are. Participate in the conversation to start building a presence in your field.
  • Start a blog. If you haven’t started a blog on your personal website, consider writing on Medium or LinkedIn. Your post will be more discoverable and shareable with tags.
  • Write out your ideal job description If you’re still unsure what you’re looking for in a job, daydream and brainstorm what you want to do with your life. Then, write it out like a real job listing and search for jobs that sound the most similar to your dream job.
  • List your top 10 companies. Write down the top ten companies you want to work for, research them, and check out their careers page and social media profiles.
  • Discover the key players in your industry. Research the key players in your industry, and take notes on their career path. It will also be helpful to see the key players at your target companies, too.
  • Utilize Twitter Lists. Twitter Lists make it easy for you to follow your target companies and the key players in your industry.
  • Sign up for job alerts. Make your job search even easier by signing up for job alerts with your chosen specific keywords.
  • Add 5 connections on LinkedIn. Expand your online network by connecting with five connections you know on LinkedIn. You never know who will lead you to your next job lead.
  • Plan to go a professional event. Some face-to-face interaction with others in your field can lead to your next job.
  • Use holiday parties to network. Holiday parties can serve as a time to catch up with old friends, but also time to let them know you’re on the market for a new role.
  • Create a networking spreadsheet. Keep track of everyone that you’re meeting with a networking meeting. It should have their contact information, but also what they’re looking for or how you can help them.
  • Help someone else find a job. Helping someone else look for a job can show you any gaps in your job search strategy.
  • Check out your college alumni association. Your college alumni association is a great place to start your job search. Look out for alumni mixers and networking events.
  • Use a job search engine. Job search engines like SimplyHired.com gives you access to plenty jobs tailored to what you’re looking for and your experience.
  • Scan job descriptions for keywords. Once you find job listings that you love, note common skills and keywords. Optimize your LinkedIn profile and resume by adding in these keywords when relevant.
  • Arrange an informational interview. Schedule an informational interview with someone you’ve met from a professional or holiday event in a role that you’d like to know more about.
  • Buy your next interview outfit. The hiring process can happen quickly, so you want to be ready for anything. Having your interview outfit ready will cut out extra stress.
  • Ask for feedback. If you weren’t called back for a job but you felt like you built strong rapport with the interviewer, politely send an email to him or her to ask for feedback.
  • Prepare your answers to common interview questions. There are so many resources online to how to answer common interview questions. The better prepared you are for the interview, the more likely you’ll shine to the interviewer.
  • Read up on a skill, or sign up for a class. Read a book or take a class on a skill that will bring you closer to your dream job.
  • Teach a friend a skill. Teaching a friend a new skill will not only help them, but it will make you even more of an expert.
  • Take on a new project at your current job. Even if you’re not at your dream job, you can still take steps towards it at your current role. Ask your manager if you can take on a project that interests you and will develop new skills.