What you should (and shouldn't) do when searching for a new job in the New Year

ByJulie Wilson via KABC logo
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
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January and February are two of the busiest months for hiring.

December is a hot month for employers to hand out pink slips as companies evaluate projections and future direction, according to Sarah Johnston, Founder of Brief Case Coach.

"The good news is December is one of the best months to get laid off, despite that it's the holidays because January and February are two of the busiest months for hiring," Johnston said.

The best approach to landing a new job is having the right job search strategy. Johnston said not to depend on job boards--with increased accessibility, employers now see more and more resumes, which means you might not stand out in a sea of applicants.

As you work through a strategy, consider starting by developing a list of companies that you would like to work for.

"You really need 25 to 35 companies that you want to work for," Johnston said.

Next, explore who, if you were to get the job, you would report to and what roles you would perform for the company.

Reach out to your current contacts who may already be established at your desired company.

"Hiring managers are significantly more likely to respond to a candidate if they have gone through a referral or someone they know," Johnston said.

If you don't know anyone at the company, reach out to decision-makers. See if you can set up an information interview. Linkedin, Johnston said, is a good avenue to see who is who within the company.

Send a personalized email to that decision-maker. Do you admire work they have done? Mention that and why.

If you can learn about an opening before it happens, that's best.

"If you can have a conversation with the hiring manager before the job gets posted at your target companies, you're going to be one of the first people they think about when they have that vacancy," Johnston said.

When it comes to building your resume, Johnston offers some dos and don'ts:


  • Have shading and headers. This breaks up the text and directs the reader's eye.
  • Have a consistent format.
  • Load your resume with keywords. Johnston says that Job Scan allows you to scan your resume and job description to tell you potential opportunities for keyword usage.
  • Lead with results. List what you have accomplished for your previous company, Johnston says that carries great weight than a description of the work that you've done.
  • Have a consistent font. Modern formats include Calibri and Georgia.
  • Have your contact information easily available.
  • DON'T:

  • Be too text-heavy.
  • Don't have a resume that reads like a job description.
  • Use pictures or heavy graphics.
  • Johnston also notes that the old-school thought that a resume should be limited to one page has passed.

    "The new thought is that your resume can be as long as it needs to be and no longer," she said.