It’s January and you’ve just returned to work after the Christmas break. It’s cold, bleak and the festive fun is over – and like many others, you begin to think about changing jobs.
The New Year is when employees are most likely to think about quitting and starting somewhere new, with almost one in five citing January as the most popular month to make a move, according to a survey by Glassdoor.
In fact, so many people think about moving jobs that the first Monday back at work in January has been dubbed “Massive Monday” in the world of recruitment - the day when record numbers of jobseekers apply for new positions.
So why is January so popular for job seekers - and how can you prepare yourself for applications beforehand?
The old cliché ‘‘New year, new job’ is still going strong,” says Graeme Jordan, a CV writer and interview coach. “I know from my business that I have seen an uptick in demand the past few years during the month of January. On one occasion I received a brand new enquiry on January 2nd, from someone very quick off the mark. It goes with the idea of a fresh start and ‘If not now, when?’”
In the New Year, employers may be feeling motivated and eager to attract skilled workers. With a clearer schedule at the start of the year, they may be less likely to be tied down with deadlines and projects, making them more responsive to job applications. Job seekers are also more likely to see a wave of new job roles opening up.
Many employers are also given a new budget at the start of every year which can give candidates a better chance at finding a new job and being hired. If salary is a key reason for moving jobs, you may have better luck finding a higher-paid job in January.
With all this in mind, December is a great time to polish up your CV and update your LinkedIn. Not only will you be ready to send applications to recruiters as soon as a position opens up, but it also allows you to assess your achievements, skills and career progress so far - and decide how you want to move forwards.
“Taking time in December to update your CV can be good, if you are in the mindset of reviewing how things have gone during the year, and everything is fresh in your mind prior to the significant break,” Jordan explains.
“There is something about the time of year that lends itself to a consideration of our purpose: I find Christmas break the most substantial of the year,” he adds. “Unlike the summer holidays, when you may be checking emails and are likely to be busy in the run-up and aftermath of your holiday, Christmas has a different feel. You wind down to it. Then everything stops. Fewer emails to check, because no-one else is at work either.”
And when you return to the office, work might not be as hectic as other times. This can help bring clarity of mind and give you more time to review what you want from your job.
“Whatever time of year you update your CV, there is no mystery to it,” Jordan explains. “Find out what your target audience - future employer - wants and give it to them. But give it to them credibly, and with examples. I call it the marketing approach to CV writing.”
The main thing that matters is being relevant to the job you are applying for. “So ditch the abstract rules about what you should and shouldn’t include,” he adds. “Don’t be distracted by the minor issues like ‘Should I be writing I’. Ditch the clichés, the description of your skills and tasks. Instead write about your achievements.”
Before updating your CV, think about new skills or accomplishments you should include – and keep a note of them as you work throughout the year.
“There may be new things to add to your CV, that you may struggle to recall if you leave it until later,” Jordan says. “I find this a lot with clients. I have to draw on all of my interviewing experience to draw from them the achievements that they didn’t know they had.
“It might be some CPD (continuing professional development) that you have completed, some increased responsibility, a major project, development of people, or that time you made the company a fortune, or saved them money. Keeping track of this will make your life easier in the future.”