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If you’re actively in the job market, your timing is good…if you’re prepared.

The first week of January is usually a bust.  Employees may have physically returned from the holidays, but it takes them another week to become mentally present from their sugar-cookie-induced hazes.

Gina B.

By the second or third week, executives are ready to make decisions about their hiring needs.   They’re starting with clean budgets, and they’re ready to engage some new talent for the hiring surge in February and March.

But here’s the thing . . . and you knew it was coming . . .you’re not alone in the market.  While this is the best time of year to launch a job search, it’s also the most competitive.  Some people have received their year-end bonuses and feel it’s a good time to make an exit.  Others want a new start for the new year.

Whatever the case, you have serious competition.

As you might imagine, I get a lot of outreach from candidates, and I ask the same two questions:

  1. Is your resume updated?
  2. Is your LinkedIn profile complete?

Don’t even think of dipping your toe in the job-search pool until you’ve nailed them both.  Without them, you might as well not exist.

The resume is common sense, right?  Whether or not you’re in a job search, it should always be updated and ready to go.  While you’re at it, please don’t underestimate the importance of your LinkedIn profile.

Most people have a profile on LinkedIn, but only the truly savvy candidates really know how to work it. (I talk about LinkedIn a lot, and I promise this isn’t a sponsored article – although a girl can dream.)

I’ll let you in on a little secret . . . I spend ALL DAY on LinkedIn, because despite all of the intellectual property that I’ve gathered on candidates over the years, their LI record is typically the most accurate and updated. More often than I should, I find bare-boned profiles that don’t give any real indication of accomplishments, and I tend to ignore those people, largely because they haven’t given me any real reason to consider them.

Here are a few basic tips to get your LinkedIn profile on track and be a true competitor in the job market:

  • If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, sign up for one. A basic account is free!
  • Make sure that your LI profile is a near replica of your resume. Why?  Because your resume tends to be descriptive, and recruiters find candidates by keyword search.  The fewer keywords you have, the less likely you are to be found.  Your goal is to be discovered!
  • Consider a Premium account. There is a fee, but there are advanced jobseeker benefits, such as placing your profile on the top of the list in searches, etc.
  • Understand your privacy options. I talk to a lot of people who are concerned that their LI profile will telegraph to colleagues and bosses that they’re in the market.  Not necessarily!  Access your privacy settings, where you have a variety of options to remain undercover.
  • Become familiar with the job seeking function! Found in your account settings, this is an amazing feature that signals to recruiters that you’re open to opportunities.  Most recruiters have special LinkedIn subscriptions, and as part of our benefits, we can view candidates who are in active job searches.  There’s also a nice built-in option that obscures your profile from recruiters from your own organization.
  • Include your contact information in the body of your profile. The goal is to be easily found, and recruiters love it when we can send a quick personal email about a new opportunity.
  • Connect with friends and associates! The more connections you have, the more likely you’ll be found in profile searches.

I would wish you good luck, but as we know, luck and success lie in the intersection of preparation and opportunity.  Having said that, be ready!

Gina B. is an executive search consultant, podcaster and President/Chief Alchemist of Naturals by Gina B. To learn more about Gina B., consult her website – www.iamginab.com.

 

 

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