IT careers: 5 steps to get hired before the holidays

Hiring doesn't stop during the holiday period: You can land your dream job by year's end. Take these actions
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One of the biggest misconceptions about job searching is that hiring stops during the holiday period. Job seekers often wait until the beginning of the year to restart their job application process, but there’s no need to take a break.

Organizations are looking to fill open spots before they close the budget for the end of the year. Many are desperately looking for candidates. By strategically applying for opportunities during the holiday period, you can increase your chances of landing a job even before the start of the next year.

[ What tech skills are most valuable now for IT job hunters? Read also: Open source IT jobs in 2021: 15 statistics. ]

5 job-hunting tips for a new role before January

Here are five strategies you can follow now to land that dream job.

1. Update your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is an often-underrated but highly productive social network for professionals. It is easy to build a network here, and your ideal job may be waiting for you right on the platform.

The first step to finding your ideal job is to build an updated LinkedIn profile. Every keyword gets indexed by Google and is part of SEO. Job application websites like ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Glassdoor, and others use these keywords to search for candidates like you, so it is crucial to keep your profile updated.

Consider adding a professional headshot along with a catchy tagline. For example, instead of “Looking for opportunities in software development,” say “I love to write code that builds great products.”

Be sure to update your “About” section – this is your elevator pitch, which lets potential employers know why you are the right person for the job. This is your opportunity to shine and precisely convey what you bring to the table. The “About” section should provide three pieces of information: What you do, how you make an impact, and what your skills and strengths are.

Finally, update all other sections of your LinkedIn profile and add as much information as possible, including relevant keywords. Include every relevant experience along with key details – unlike your resume, your profile has no space limit. You never know when a recruiter might spot some detail that helps you stand out.

2. Create multiple versions of your resume

Using one resume to apply for different roles is like wearing your workout gear for everything you do.

The most common mistake people make is using one resume to apply for different roles. This is like wearing your workout gear for everything you do, from hiking to attending board meetings and even weddings. You may be more comfortable and it’s certainly easier, but it doesn’t make sense, and others won’t take you seriously. Similarly, you need different versions of your resume based on the different jobs you want to apply for. For example, a marketing position will need a different resume than a sales position. Highlight the skills and experiences most relevant to the role.

Limit your resume to one page (two at the most). Recruiters and managers spend less than 30 seconds skimming resumes, and the shorter and more relevant yours is, the better your chances of grabbing their attention.

Add keywords specific to the roles you are applying for in your resume. Hiring managers look for these specific terms to ensure candidates are the right fit. One way to find relevant keywords is to search for existing job descriptions that are similar to the position you want.

Finally, versioning may help you keep track of which resume you sent to which job. For example, I might send “R_Subrameyer_Resume_1.0” for marketing positions and “R_Subrameyer_Resume_1.1” for sales positions. This will also come in handy when tracking applications (see #5).

3. Block out time to apply for jobs

Applying for jobs can be overwhelming: How many jobs should you apply for? When should you apply for them, and how?

Start by determining how many jobs you want to apply for each week and break that down into manageable goals. For example, if you decide to apply for 50 jobs per week, shoot for ten jobs per weekday (leaving your weekends free for recharging).

Next, set a specific time you will dedicate to the job application process each day – say, between 10 am and 12 noon. If you develop a routine for applying for jobs, it will become a habit instead of a chore.

4. Subscribe to job alerts

Subscribe to alerts on different job sites to be notified of new positions when they are posted. Use keywords such as “quality engineer,” “QA manager,” “UX designer,” and “sales manager” to receive daily/weekly emails about jobs that interest you. You can also use keywords to target specific companies and organizations.

Job alerts provide a push approach (emails are automatically sent to you), instead of a pull approach (you manually search for jobs daily). For easier access, create a rule in your inbox to put all the job alerts in one particular folder.

5. Track your job application process

Once you have applied for multiple jobs, you need a system to track the status of all your applications. If you are contacted by a perspective employer, you should be prepared to discuss the specific job requirements for the role.

Create a spreadsheet with the following fields: company name, position name, date applied, job link, whether you followed up on the job, and any comments. Leave room for additional columns. You may also want to track which version of your resume you sent (see #2) so you can send the same one later if necessary.

It is essential to follow up on all jobs you apply for. This final step is often overlooked, so doing so will help you stand out from other applicants. Following up about five days after submitting the application shows the recruiter that you are interested in the job and are putting extra effort into being considered. Careful tracking of the application process can make all the difference in landing your dream job just in time for the new year.

[ Get exercises and approaches that make disparate teams stronger. Read the digital transformation ebook: Transformation Takes Practice. ]

Raj Subrameyer is a tech career strategist focusing on helping people to land their dream job and become successful leaders. He has given multiple TEDx talks and is a sought-after speaker at various conferences and has been featured in numerous TV news segments, podcasts, and publications.