It doesn’t seem so long ago that every Friday night was all about drinks and cake in the boardroom, bidding another three or four staff good-bye. It was January, the month of job transition! Typically, January is a great time for job hunting because everyone is quitting! They hang around for those lovely end of year public holidays and then use up all that sick and holiday pay before giving notice and heading off to new opportunities.
Those new opportunities have often been secured in November or December in preparation – so the two week period begins early January. What does that mean for you re-entering the workforce? There’s plenty of ads but there’s also plenty of competition… With those new year’s career resolutions fresh in mind – it’s a turbulent time – but it’s well worth diving in!
Five tips for making yourself the only choice!
- Be quick. January is a difficult time in most workplaces with high staff turnover and team members out on holiday. Be quick to respond to job ads and you may just find yourself head of the short list.
- Want flexible working? Be flexible. Jobs with flexible working arrangements are in high demand but chances are prospective employers want you to start ASAP. If you can make arrangements for the end of the January school holidays, you can put yourself forward as “available right now” – which might just give you the edge.
- Focus on your ‘unique” benefits. The application letter is the most important part of your application. Be sure to sell yourself. That means putting yourself in their shoes and telling them exactly what they need to hear about your skill set. If you were a Childcare Centre Manager, which person would you interview?
Person A) I have five years’ experience in a childcare environment.
Person B) With five years’ experience in a busy childcare centre, you can be confident that I thrive under the pressures of the childcare environment. I have the skills to assist not only the room group leader but also centre management. I complete centre paperwork and reporting accurately and in a timely manner. I believe that a great childcare manager gets great support from all her team.
- See it their way. If you’ve been away from the workplace for several years, you can put a positive spin on how your parenting skills are transferrable – but what they really want to know is that you’ve not become rusty. Prove that while you were parenting, you were updating your skills, staying on top of industry developments and excited about getting back to work. If need be, take a day or two reading up on this stuff, practicing on software and the like before hitting the interview.
- Not everyone plays fair (and why you should). There will be employers who won’t hire women over 40. There will be employers who won’t take women with young kids. There will be employers who won’t take women who use “Ms” on their resume. All illegal, all ridiculous and all commonplace. When a sweet job comes along it might be tempting to play down your personal situation. The issue is that the interview is just one morning, the job is for every single day. Do you really want to work for a boss who grumbles every time your babies are sick or be 40+ in a room full of 22 year olds (imagine the water cooler conversations!)? A great job is more than salary, perks and prestige – it’s a great fit too.
January is a good time for job hunting. Dive in with confidence and an open mind and you could find your career resolutions coming true!