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We are approaching the holiday season - hurrah - time to relax! College students wrap up their semester and many young professionals will have some well-earned time off. While it’s great to enjoy your time relaxing, it is also important to use this pause to prepare to launch your career. Whether you seek an internship, full-time job, or a career transition – taking some steps now, over the holidays, will set you up for career launch success in 2024.

If you are simply not sure what you want to do with your life, this is a wonderful time to step back and seek career direction. More on that below.

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Holiday Networking Can Boost Your Job Search

If you have a clear career direction - congratulations - having clarity on how you will use your education, skills and experience is a terrific. If you believe that you are ready to confidently execute your job search, use this time wisely.

First, harness the power of gatherings and conversations to share your goals and objectives with everyone. Literally everyone: tell your relatives, teachers and coaches from your youth, friends, their parents and your buddies at the gym. If this takes you outside your comfort zone, you need to do this anyway.

Start with one or two people and go from there. Learning to network and ask for help might not come easy but get started and keep going. As a student, completing your education involved learning to push yourself and broadening your perspective.

Moving into your professional life, you need to engage with your community and part of that requires you to master networking.

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Get Job Search “Ready”

Job Search Basics, Interview Prep, & New Technology

Next, set aside time to complete simple tasks that can be done in little chunks of time. By tackling these now, you will be ready to act when you see an interesting opportunity in the coming weeks.

  1. Update your resumé, LinkedIn profile and cover letter: Ensure job search materials reflect your end of semester grades, activities, new skills and recent accomplishments. Make sure these incorporate keywords that employers use to describe the talent they are seeking, and be certain that your resume is machine readable for success in getting through corporate applicant tracking systems that leverage AI.
  2. Get ready for video and in-person interviewing: Prepare to interview by building answers to interview questions. At Priority Candidates, we prepare clients by having them develop robust answers to common questions. Use your travel time to tackle developing and refining your story. Small investments of time can help you master the art of conversation for both interviewing and networking. Video interviewing might be new to you. Invite a friend to catch up over Zoom. Check your settings, your equipment and your surroundings. Fix any issues. At Priority Candidates, we use the same tool that many corporate employers leverage, to provide a practice space for video interviews.
  3. Master Technology Driven Research Skills: If you are not yet using ChatGPT, get started.

Learn to comprehensively prepare for specific interviews. Plan for efficient company research – establishing a repeatable method to ensure you fully understand the company, its industry and news events. Don’t forget to prepare substantive questions that you will need to ask about a company’s products, training and growth plans. Get current on events – spend a time each day catching up on your desired industry. Who are the thought leaders, what are the major issues - what is happening globally, nationally and locally? You need to be well versed during interviews.

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What If You Lack Career Direction?

If you are in the stage that you simply are not sure what you want to do with your life, this is a time to step back and seek direction. You should consider a career and skills Assessment guided by a trained professional if you are feeling unsure of what direction to pursue. An assessment expert will help you explore your options, discussing your skills and what you love to do. This is the time to figure out how you might combine your passions with roles that are needed by employers. If you can uncover where your passions lie and how they can align to business opportunities, you can then move forward with designing the components of a job search.

Start Your Job Search Early

Keep in mind, this job search is likely the first of many throughout your career. If this all seems to be overwhelming, recognize that it is a lot of work, so it pays to start early and get underway. Remember, tackling these steps now, while you have a break is likely much easier than trying to balance job searching with your school work and extracurricular events after the holiday season.

Let’s talk about how you can find career success

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Preparing for a well-executed job search takes a plan, practice and engagement. Consider finding a partner, like our experienced coaches at Priority Candidates, who can help keep you find career direction and then provide job search coaching to help you strategize, build and execute your plan.