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January is one of the best times of the year to look for a job. Here’s how to prepare

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If a new job is what you want in the new year, you may want to start preparing now.

That's because January and February are the best times of year to look for a job, since companies that have a calendar-year budget tend to post new positions during that time.

"This is an opportunity to use December as the runway to the job you desire," said workplace strategist Holland Haiis.

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To be sure, you won't be the only one looking for work. There will be another wave of the "Great Resignation" — or as some are calling it, the "Great Reshuffle" — in January, after people return from the holidays, receive their bonuses and start to think about what's next, predicts Muse CEO and founder Kathryn Minshew.

"While there is a lot of competition, and there are a lot of other people looking for jobs, the volume of interest on the employer side, so far, has consistently been higher than the number of people looking for work, which means it continues to be a great time to be out there looking for a job," Minshew said.

However, career coach Priscilla Claman, president of Boston-area firm Career Strategies, thinks the sheer number of people looking for work may be a barrier for job-hunters.

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"The fact that so many people are looking for jobs is sort of muddying the waters if you are looking for a job," she said.

Here's what you can do now so you are ready to jump into your job hunt and stand out among the competition in January.

Reflect

Look back on this past year and note down your key accomplishments, as well as any activities you engaged in or praise you received, Minshew suggests.

"It is also a great time to look ahead and set goals for the new year, to think about skills that you might want to invest in learning to take you where you want to go in your career," she said.

Prepare your LinkedIn profile

Recruiters and potential employers will look at your LinkedIn profile, so make sure it aligns with your resume and is complete so that it appears in search results, Haiis said.

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Pay close attention to your headline. One that says unemployed or actively seeking opportunities won't spark anyone's imagination, she said.

"What you want to think about is what defines and describes what you do, what you're looking for, and the value you can bring to the organization," Haiis said.

Update your resume

Before you read your resume, make a list of your five to 10 top career achievements. Compare that to what is actually what is on your document, Haiis said.

Also, look to see how any of your descriptions have changed and if any new vocabulary is now used to describe your roles.

Own your accomplishments

katleho Seisa | E+ | Getty Images

Think about what sets you apart and makes you an amazing asset for an organization. Make a list and start practicing how to get that across. This is particularly important for women, who have been taught not to brag, Haiis said.

"This is not bragging," she said. "This is your personal brand.

"Being comfortable with who you are and what you achieved is different than bragging."

Narrow your focus

Write down the companies and industries you want to work for, so you can immediately start focusing on those in January.

Use holiday parties to network

The holiday season means social gatherings and parties, which makes it a chance to talk to people who may help you in your search.

"You have the opportunity to do that in a way that you don't the rest of the year," Claman said.

We get a rush of good brain chemistry when we help other people.
Holland Haiis
workplace strategist

You will be surprised how much people want to help.

"Our DNA as human beings is wired in a way that we get a rush of good brain chemistry when we help other people," Haiis noted.

Show gratitude

Think about the people who have helped you over the past year and use the holidays as a time to reconnect and say thank you.

"This is another great way to get back on people's radars and to both express genuine appreciation, while also kind of staying top of mind for someone," Minshew said.

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