bigstock----goals--New-Year-resoluti-54914528Article by Tim McNamara – Firebrand

As sure as the sun rises, gyms and personal trainers will start advertising immediately after Christmas to entice the overindulgent to sign up.

It stands to reason there’s also a ‘purple patch’ for seeking out a new job. Want to know when it is?

Right now.

I wrote in a previous post about how many job seekers look at the calendar year as containing several ‘choice’ months, in which their chances of being hired are better than others. It’s true, to some extent.

The prepared, however, don’t give a rats what time of year it might be. They make it happen through careful planning, and flawless execution. Like the gym marketers, they do the hard yards behind the scenes so they’re ready when it’s ‘go time’.

You might be thinking of testing the market in 2014, be restless in your current position, or you might be actively looking right now. Whatever stage you’re at, think about what you want to achieve and put in place steps to get it done.

Before you do, however, it helps to get a ‘lay of the land’.

What are the challenges?

There will be many, don’t worry about that! Whole industries and sectors have transformed in recent years, and the best talent transform with them, meaning they’re always ready to make the jump if enticed or forced.

One challenge in particular that we’ll likely see over the next 12 months is a continuation of the technological advances that are changing how we interact with each other, how we work and, as we all know, how we search for, apply, interview for, and even accept, jobs.

Don’t let this ‘creative destruction’ tear you down!

As competition increases for roles, differentiating oneself will be extremely important. With that in mind, those who don’t possess at least a basic understanding of the digital landscape are potentially differentiating themselves for the wrong reasons.

If you’ve been contemplating dipping your toes into any one of the plethora of new media channels, now might be the time. Early adopters might sometimes get their fingers burnt, but laggards more often find themselves out in the cold.

What are the opportunities?

That glass is half-full, so forget the doom and gloom; 2014 will be full of opportunities. While in Australia there is constant talk of the end of the mining and resource sector investment boom – as well as persistent chatter about the death of the manufacturing sector – opportunities abound in other, emerging industries. As already mentioned, technology will likely play a part in determining where the real growth will be.

Think about your own skill set; how is it transferable? What additional training or insight do you need? Is there someone you can talk to now? Having a good understanding of what you’re capable of will likely result in a realistic – and achievable – path forward.

What can you do now?

The scattergun approach to job hunting doesn’t work, so do the little things well. If you’re going to be on the hunt in 2014 – whether by necessity or choice – take the time to map out a plan. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date. While you’re at it, do a spring clean of your online presence. Got an out-of-date blog? Kill it off for good. Think your online photo is looking a bit dated? Get another one sorted. Need a more professional contact email address? You know what to do.

Oh, and make a list.

It’s amazing the kind of momentum you can generate by making a list, completing items on it and then enjoying the feeling of crossing that item off. Why not try it?

With a little planning, 2014 can be your year. It’s up to you; what do you want to achieve?

About the Author:
With a background in journalism and communications, Tim has contributed columns and features to dozens of domestic and international newspapers, magazines and websites, on topics rangings from career development to the rise (and fall) of club culture. Currently working in Corporate Communications with a Fortune 500 company in Brisbane, Tim regularly indulges his love for design, music, technology and pop culture on his blog;

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