Written by Rachel Shepherd, Editor, Graduate Prospects, December 2013
The countdown to Christmas might be on but don't relax just yet. Getting ahead of the game with some festive job preparation can make things easier in the New Year
It has been a tough year. As 2013 draws to a close, jobs are hard to come by, the economy is still struggling and the country is in a rebellious mood.
It's enough to make you want to forget all about job searching over Christmas and down mulled wine while watching endless reruns of Home Alone in front of your parents' fire instead.
So, how can you spend the last few days of 2013 making sure 2014 works for you? By following this 12 days of Christmas action plan.
Make sure you rewrite and tailor your CV to each job application. Always think about what the recruiter wants to find out - and give it to them early. Most recruiters scan CVs, spending less than 15 seconds on the first page, so get to the good stuff early. Find out how to write a CV and take a look at some example CVs.
Run your job search like a military campaign. Rather than simply firing off application after application, compare what you want to do with what you are qualified to do. This might make other career options open up for you. Options with your subject can help you decide how best to use your degree.
If you haven't begun looking for jobs on Twitter, LinkedIn™ and Facebook, you are missing out. Advertising jobs is costly to companies, so many recruit through social media. Joining the big three above also leads us into…
Chatting to recruiters informally and keeping up to date with their companies is a great way to find out about jobs before anyone else. Get on Twitter or LinkedIn™ and connect with them. Be useful, link to interesting news and ask questions. Make phone calls and arrange to meet for coffee. What's the worst that could happen? Find out the reasons why you should be on LinkedIn™.
Increasingly recruiters are looking at your online presence and will Google your name, so make sure you keep those dodgy Facebook pictures private. Look through your online history - you’ll be surprised how much you want to hide. Then, tomorrow…
Why not have your own site showcasing your capabilities? You should tailor your project to your job interests, so a wannabe journalist should show well-written copy while someone with an interest in fashion should demonstrate a keen eye for the latest trends. A great example of showcasing your ability is web designer Robbie Leonardi, who made his CV like a computer game.
You have found a job you like, tweeted the recruiter and are looking to take the next step. Make sure you do your research thoroughly. Look through the company's media centre and see what it has been up to in the press. Read articles about the sector it operates in. Be critical. Think about what you would do to improve the business.
Chatting to recruiters informally and keeping up to date with their companies is a great way to find out about jobs before anyone else
It's easy to be downhearted over Christmas if your job search isn't going well. Don't take rejection personally and remember that a recruiter's needs change, so that no could become a yes.
Sometimes you need a treat and Christmas is the perfect time to do this. Make sure you're ready for a potential interview by dressing smart and feeling good.
You are probably already looking for jobs across the UK, but have you considered working abroad? Europe and the USA are always popular options, but with industry booming in the Middle East, China and India, why not be adventurous?
Make your New Year career resolutions early. Don't forget to make social, personal and money goals too, and review them monthly.
You are now prepared for the January job hunt. Grab a mince pie, it's Christmas.
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