The end of the year is typically a quiet time on the job front, and this is a great opportunity to get yourself prepared for January when things pick up so you’re ready to kick off your job search in style.

With that in mind, here’s what you can do now to get ahead in your job search, ready for January.

Get clear on your priorities

Have you ever been looking for a job for such a long time you found yourself considering positions that really didn’t feel right? And have you ever gone to an interview, only to find that your gut was right in the first place, after using up valuable time that could have been better spent on actual holiday? 

If this has happened to you, then you’re definitely not the only one. It’s natural once we’re in the throes of looking for a new job to want things to happen asap, especially if things aren’t great in your current job. 

The problem with this is that going to an interview for a job you’re not that keen on in the first place means you’re less likely to stand out and worse still, having a bad interview cold out an unnecessary dent in your confidence. 

This is why when you’re looking for a new job it’s really important to be clear on what your priorities are. Doing this before you delve into anything else will make the search a lot more strategic and it will also make it a lot easier to focus on finding the right job and not just any job because the last thing you want to do is start making decisions you’ll only regret later.

To make sure you end up in a job that you’ll like for more than 5 minutes, take the time to plan things out. It will be so worth it and it will also help when it comes to writing your career story later. 

Here are 5 questions that will help you get clear on your job search priorities

  1. Why are you looking for a new job?
  2. Where do you want to be in your career 2 years from now and what job will help you get there?
  3. What is the most important thing to you right now? eg money, time with family, learning, progression, balance?
  4. What is important to you in a company culture
  5. What are your non-negotiables in a job?

Revamp your resume

Next up, it’s time to update your resume. When you do, make sure your resume really sells your experience in the best possible way. You can do this by checking that your resume includes powerful and compelling words.

Here are some examples of powerful and compelling words that will make your resume stand out.

  • Implemented
  • Increased
  • Reduced
  • Saved
  • Optimized
  • Led
  • Headed
  • Formulated
  • Planned
  • Improved
  • Managed
  • Represented
  • Coordinated
  • Produced
  • Chaired

Impactful words to use on your CV

Update your LinkedIn profile

So, you know exactly what the next job you want is, your resume is on point and you’ve definitely used compelling words to tell your story, now it’s time to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is just as impactful.

Here are the key things to consider when giving your LinkedIn profile a makeover. 

Update profile picture or add one if you don’t already have one. Whatever you do, don’t leave your profile without a picture.

Update your summary 

Add any media 

Request recommendations 

Add all skills. This increases the chances of recruiters finding you so don’t miss out. 

Send out connection requests to relevant people. That means potential hiring managers and recruiters at companies you want to work at. 

Add other interests: volunteering, charity work. 

Update LinkedIn to get ahead in your job search for January

TIP: Make sure your LinkedIn profile includes keywords relevant to your industry and the type of jobs you’re interested in. 

Don’t forget to set your status to “open to opportunities” as well as let recruiters know the kind of work you’re open to hearing about. 

Create a personal website. 

This can be used to showcase more if you in a way that’s not possible on a resume. Easily use square space or other website building tools.

Brush up on your interview technique

Don’t wait till you have an interview looming to prepare for an interview, take this opportunity to make yourself ready for anything. 

Here are some common interview questions that trip most people on: 

Tell me about yourself 

This needs to be a succinct career story that is not too long but includes key highlights

For more tips on how to answer this question check out this article.

Tell me about a time when …

These are competency-based questions and here you can be as detailed and specific as possible.

Review your career so far especially more recent roles and list specific examples. Common competencies that you might want to consider include

  • Adaptability
  • Decision Making 
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Creativity 
  • Problem-solving 
  • Customer Focus 
  • Communication 
  • Focus on Results 
  • Commercial Acumen

Prepare for competency interviews to get ahead in your job search for January

Prepare cover letter templates 

Writing cover letters can be a daunting task when done at the moment. A cover letter should highlight why you want to work for the specific company, what the specific role interests you, and give a short overview of what makes you a good fit. 

While you might not know exactly what the job will be that you’re applying for, if you’re interested in working for specific companies, you can research the companies and at the very least write the paragraph detailing why this company, this might seem small, but it can save you time and stress when it’s time to actually apply. 

Better still… Send speculative applications 

It’s Christmas, people are in high spirits at least that’s the hope. So, why not make the most of it and take things a step further by contacting potential hiring managers and internal recruiters. 

Your details are likely to stand out as you’ll be one of fewer people. If you follow up with a call or email, with people’s inboxes not in such high demand, you’re more likely to hear back sooner rather than later and have a discussion, even if there isn’t currently an open position. 


Taking these action steps will give you an advantage when the job market picks up. You won’t only have all your job search collateral ready to go, but you could be top of mind if the right opportunity does come up at a company you’ve already contacted.