New Year, new job: the resolutions you need to make

New Year goals - handwriting on a sticky note against grained wood with blank notes
New Year goals - handwriting on a sticky note against grained wood with blank notes

The Christmas break is a good time to sit and take stock of your life, and it's no surprise that there's a rise in job moves every New Year.

As with all New Year's resolutions, though, it's easy to let things slide - and before you know it, the year's drawing to a close.

This year, make sure you see things through: the chances are good, after all. According to jobs website Adzuna, the number of job vacancies has increased by almost a third in the past year, to almost 1.2 million.

Meanwhile, competition is low, with Adzuna's research indicating that
there are currently more vacancies than job-seekers in 41 out of 56 British cities.

"Job competition has fallen to its lowest level since the recession, which should spell good news for those searching for work," says Adzuna's Andrew Hunter.

"But despite the number of positions growing with a new vigour, the significant skills shortage within the labour force means vacancies are increasingly being left empty. Many cities don't have enough home-grown talent to fill new positions, meaning companies are increasingly relying on workers from elsewhere in the UK as well as from overseas."

So where to start?

Don't spend too long thinking about it
It's all too easy to spend all your time wondering what job you'd like best, without actually doing anything practical at all to get it. You may be lucky enough to come across a dream vacancy that you're a dead cert for - but the chances are you won't.

If you really do want to change jobs, start applying for anything vaguely appropriate - you can always pull out later. But anything that takes you in the right direction will be an improvement on where you are now - and you can always try getting closer still in a year or two's time.


Update your CV...
One pleasant side-effect of updating your CV is that it can be a tremendous confidence boost. Read through the finished version, and you'll see all the things you can be proud of - and you're probably more successful than you thought.

Add in information about your present job, and prune out any trivia from earlier years. And if it's been a while since you last looked for a job, check out the CV templates available from jobs sites such as Monster, to make sure yours doesn't look too old-fashioned.

...and the rest of your online presence
Hopefully, your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts are already employer-friendly - in other words, not full of drunken photos and sweary posts.

And these - plus more obvious sites such as LinkedIn - can often lead you to a job: in one survey last year, 11% of people said they'd found work this way.

Think about the job descriptions of the sort of work you're looking for, and try and make sure your LinkedIn profile includes as many of the relevant key-words as possible. Join any relevant careers forums you can.

Don't fence yourself in
If you have too clear an idea of the job you're after, you may be in for a long wait; take a broader approach and you may find that one particular position is more interesting than you thought.

And aim high: "Many workers, especially those new to the workforce, may automatically dismiss a position because they don't have the exact skill set needed. While companies want qualified candidates, they're also willing to train workers who may have some, but not all, of the skills required for the job," points out jobs website Careerbuilder.

"Emphasize your strengths and how they're relevant to the job at hand, providing examples of ways you've contributed to organizations in the past."

Don't just answer ads
Many jobs now aren't formally advertised at all, so it's worth thinking laterally. First, and most obviously, ask everyone you know - not just work contacts but friends too.

Once you've got your LinkedIn profile up to scratch, start making occasional posts and joining career-related forums - it'll all help to raise your profile.

Pick companies you'd like to work for and send spec letters - although this approach won't help a bit if you make your letters vague. Each one will have to be carefully targeted at that particular organisation.

Large companies will usually have an online list of job vacancies; and it's also worth following them on Facebook or Twitter, as job opportunities frequently appear here first.

Finally, be persistent - and next year you could have one fewer resolutions on your list.

The Best Apps to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions
The Best Apps to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions