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New year, new start - 10 tips to help you get ready for the January job hunt

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

According to a survey by Glassdoor, January is the most popular month to search for a new role. So, while many of us are recuperating from Christmas and New Year festivities, one in five of us are thinking about something else entirely – job hunting.

With so many people looking for a new challenge, competition for the best roles will be fierce and so the following tips may be useful.

1. Decide what you want to do next

You may want to stay within the same industry or profession, or perhaps you want to transfer your skills across to a completely new sector. Whatever you decide, start by having a clear understanding of what you are good at. What are your key skills? What motivates you? What do you enjoy? What do you want to get out of a role? Use these questions as a starting point to help define your requirements and look for roles that play to your strengths and promise to meet your expectations.

2. Be realistic and targeted

Don’t waste your time by applying for jobs that are not relevant to your existing skills and areas of expertise. It may be difficult to discount a job that interests you, but if you chase unrealistic opportunities, you may well end up losing confidence in your own abilities and wasting your precious days off.

3. Update your CV

Update your CV to include your most recent role. Remember to not only describe your main responsibilities, but results and achievements too. Keep it brief, carefully check for typos and always get someone to proof read it.

4. Think about your contact details

You’d be surprised at how many candidates I see that still have silly personal email addresses. Make sure your email address is sensible – ideally just your name. Sync your emails to your phone and set up alerts so that you can be on the ball with responding to interview requests. Ensure your mobile phone number is correct and have a professional and clear voicemail which you check regularly.

5. Check your privacy settings

Take a long hard look at your social channels through an employer’s eyes. Is there anything that can be seen which makes you look unprofessional or might paint you in a negative light? Recruiters and employers can and will check your social channels so make sure that they represent the best of you. And don’t forget to check your privacy settings!

6. Be prepared to move quickly

I understand that it is difficult for candidates to attend job interviews at short notice, but clients often want to move quickly and as I’ve mentioned before, the market is extremely competitive. Always be upfront about your availability and if you can’t make a physical meeting at short notice, try suggesting a video conference instead.

7. Don’t be afraid to make a direct approach

As the saying goes ‘you create your own opportunities in life’ – and the same goes for job hunting. Do you have a dream employer that you aspire to work for? Get online, find out as much as you can about the organisation as well as the name and details of their hiring manager and approach them directly with a speculative application. You never know…

8. Make contact with a specialist agency

Job hunting can be a minefield, but there are specialist recruiters out there who can help. When using an agency, ensure that they’re knowledgeable and have a proven track record in your field and/or target geographical area. Ideally choose a recruiter that you can build rapport with and who is willing to invest time in meeting you and getting to know what you’re looking for.

9. Allocate time to your job search

When you think that job searching involves updating your CV, managing your social channels, speculative applications, talking to agencies and searching and applying for jobs, it’s little wonder that the whole process often feels like a job in itself. Treat it as such and set yourself clear targets, dedicating time to achieving them each day.

10. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Even if you’re down to the final interview for what appears to be your ideal job, don’t stop looking. Hanging all your hopes and efforts on one role is a gamble which may not pay off. There is no reason why you can’t put yourself forward for more than one role. This approach will help you discover where you truly want to be and expose you to different working environments and opportunities.

Whatever you decide, I wish you the very best of luck!

If you’re looking for your next role in Oxfordshire, then we’d love to hear from you. We recruit for permanent and temporary roles at all levels in PA and Administration, HR, Marketing and Finance. We also have a dedicated Executive division for our most senior appointments.  Please get in touch with me at to find out more.

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