As the year draws to a close and the pre-year-end rush begins, it’s not uncommon to find yourself jaded with your current workplace. At the same time, it’s easy to get swept up with the “new year, new me” sentiments, and together they are a heady combination.
As budgets for 2024 generally get signed off in October or November, hiring usually begins in January but often job ads will go live in December.
While most people wait for the NYE confetti and fireworks to fall to begin their job hunt, savvy job seekers get ahead by completing the prep work before 2023 closes and ideally start applying for roles too. Here’s where to start.
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If you’re unhappy in your current role, really look at the why. What do you want from your working life? What do you value and does your workplace share these values?
Let’s say you’re in a high-growth scale-up where priorities are always shifting causing dead ends, wasted work and ultimately, frustration.
When you’re applying for roles, perhaps look to more established organisations that are likely to have longer-term strategies in place, or talk to employees of that hot scale-up about the management and strategy approach.
Modern companies love to brag about brand values, so thankfully this information is easy to find, but often employees are disappointed to learn companies don’t actually live their own values. This is where having the inside scoop of an existing employee is vital.
While certain companies or roles may sound great on paper, if your values don’t align, the phrase “out of the frying pan and into the fire” may unfortunately be very relevant.
Tech is always evolving and each year interest grows and wanes in specialised areas. 2024 is set to continue trends already seen with demand predicted in cloud computing, data analytics, AI, and DevOps, while experience in white hat security and UX/UI design remains appealing to organisations of all kinds.
Invest in learning about new disciplines within existing technologies, such as AIOps.
Look through job specs and note down commonly listed skills and programming languages in the jobs you’re interested in. Keep these safe, you’ll need them for your CV and upskilling plans later.
In our increasingly AI-driven world, workplaces are renewing their interest in soft skills. This is an area that many people learn on the job, from consciously watching or subconsciously taking in communication from management and leadership in particular, but also learning from colleagues at all levels.
With remote working now so commonplace, much of this everyday learning is a lost art. Thankfully colleges across the UK and online learning platforms are meeting this need with CPD (continuous professional development) courses in developing soft skills, and these are usually adapted for communicating digitally too.
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You knew it was coming. Turn the task everyone dreads into something manageable by breaking it down into small chunks: write your professional statement, revisit the skills you noted down in your job board search and match your hard and soft skills to these.
You can also compile your programming language knowledge list, tweak your experience to include results, and add interests and volunteering information. Remember, it might be easier to write your professional statement last.
Now, edit, edit, edit.
Rope in a pal or trusted colleague if you find yourself getting bogged down too much in the details, or even hire a career coach to help you refine this. You can use your CV information across your digital profiles so it can be a worthwhile investment.
If you celebrate Christmas, you might have some time off from the day-to-day grind to upskill, and if the celebrations are not part of your culture or traditions, you might even have time at work to upskill.
Be strategic with your choices here; look at gaps in your experience and industry trends. There are many free online courses offered by Google for example, or you may wish to invest in a more formal self-learning CPD, short course or micro-credentials.
If it’s related to your current role, your employer may even pay for it, though be mindful that education budgets may be mostly spent by this time of year.
As many people take time off in December, it’s an easy time to check in with former colleagues, managers and associates to wish them a peaceful break and a happy new year. It’s also a good time to make coffee and lunch dates for January, and this will automatically prompt you to read up on industry trends and prepare some smart outfits. Plus, it’s just nice to have things to look forward to in this dark and dreary month.
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