Don't assume because few people move jobs at the end of the year that now is the time to sit pretty where you are. In fact, the tail end of 2017 is the perfect time to start looking for a new role, particularly if you want to leave shortly after the bonus check hits in January or February.
“Historically, on average a role takes six-to-eight weeks to fill from the time that it’s open and posted to the time that the person joins, so if you start a search now you might not actually start working there until February or March anyway,” says Laura Mazzullo, the founder of recruitment firm East Side Staffing.
Now is the time to start looking. What can you do?
Update and edit your resume now
Get your resume in shape. “Update your resume now – don’t wait until January – and make sure someone in your trusted network edits it,” says Kim Ann Curtin, the founder of the Wall Street Coach. “A second set of eyes always helps.”
The same goes for your social-media profiles.
“Make sure your profile reflects the position you hope to get, and make sure your profile pic is a great photograph, because people will dismiss you so quickly if they don’t see a professional headshot,” she says. “Start connecting to people who are working at the organizations you’d like to work at, then see what contacts you have in common.”
Look internally first
Are you sure you want to leave your current firm? There’s a chance that you can earn a promotion or transfer internally to a role, desk or group that is a better fit for you.
“The grass isn’t always greener – maybe it’s working in a different division or another office or for a different person,” Curtin says. “It might be easier to transition to a new role within a company you’ve already been accepted to – maybe go for a promotion or lateral move to a more interesting role rather than look to jump to another firm.”
Get out there and find the right company and role for you
Research helps you to identify what companies offer the job and work environment that you're looking for. Research target firms’ social media pages and websites, attend association meetings, and ask friends and family who they know in the field and companies that interest you.
“Do informational interviews and dig deeper into what a typical day is like, what they like and don't like about the job and company and what it takes to be successful,” says Maggie Mistal, executive coach at MMM Career Consulting. “You'll know there's a match or not and whether it's worthwhile to pursue a job.
“Research also helps you build your referral base,” she says. “Most jobs are still landed by who you know, so whether you want to stay in your field or change into a new industry, you’re going to need contacts to get there.
Use the holiday season for networking, but be useful
Make an effort to be more open to connecting with other people, setting up coffee meetings and introductory phone calls. In addition, you shouldn’t be afraid to send introductory emails and social-media messages.
“It doesn’t have to be for a specific job, but it’s good to get your name out there a little bit,” Mazzullo says. “Don’t just ask for favors right off the bat – send an introductory message or email, talk about industry trends, share an article that’s interesting or comment on something they’ve posted rather than immediately asking for a job or a favor, because some people may feel that it’s a little too aggressive or presumptuous.
“There are a lot of industry events – including specific banking or PE networking functions, conferences and holiday parties – happening around the holidays, so it’s a good time to get out show your face and meet people,” she says.
Get out from behind your desk and network with others in the areas and companies you think you'd like to work in. Look to your university alumni association and attend charity events in person.
“I suggest making a goal of doing one to two informational interviews a week while you’re preparing for your job search,” Mistal says. “Reach out to old contacts and find out how they’re doing.
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