How to optimise your job search for the first week of the year

Baby it's cold outside but the words of Dean Martin, Cliff Richard and Noddy Holder et al seem a mere eggnog induced dream as we gaze with glazed eyes at the opening page of our Frozen 2015 calendars.

The first week of the New Year, promptly welcomed in by 'Massive Monday,' has become an unofficial annual event with more Brits expected to apply for jobs over the next few days than at any other point this year.

Though the scenes might not be comparable to the rush for the January sales and you're unlikely to come away with a flat screen TV (or black eye) knowing how to optimise your job search might just see you start the new year on the cusp of a new career.

Take a considered and measured approach

Though you may be forgiven for assuming that finding a job is little more than a numbers game, it appears that a quality over quantity approach is more effective when filling out applications. The infinite volume of unturnable job pages promises great fortune (well, a wage) and it can be easy to blindly reply to five adverts whilst Facebook stalking and feeding the Amazon machine. Now while there's absolutely no doubt that you'd be an excellent astronaut or circus juggler, it's best to be honest with yourself and target jobs that meet your strengths. You're much more likely to garner a response from the one job role you're suited for, than the five that you're not.

Tailor your CV to the position

The whole 'tailor your CV' adage may sound like a broken record to regular perusers of career advice, but it's amazing just how many candidates insist on sticking by their same old resume. Why would a construction firm be interested in your one time appearance in a Hovis advert? Or what is it about your 131 Twitter followers that a financial institution should be so impressed with? Employers need to know what you can do for THEM and why you're the best person for the role open. Do your industry research, throw in some specific key words and aim to address as many as the desired skills as listed in the advert; you'll soon be separating yourself from generic candidate A, B and C.

Social network

Did you know that social media can be used for more than sharing pictures of your lunch and stalking your ex's new partner? It turns out that more than half of all employers use the likes of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook when recruiting so it can pay to brush up on your social networking skills. Following and interacting with the right parties will give you access to industry knowledge as well as the latest vacancies. It's important to remember the two way nature of social media though as potential employers are likely to take your online profiles into account when considering you for a position. So don't forget to clean up your virtual presence to prevent it ruining your job prospects.

Search smart

Using the internet to find a job can sometimes feel as effective as throwing a dictionary in the air and seeing what page it lands on in order to find a specific word. The online world presents a bottomless scroll bar of job adverts and you'll find these to be a lot more relevant if you refine the search. Customising parameters such as time period and location will display the most recent vacancies in your area whilst using key words / phrases like 'graduate' or '£1 million p.a.' will also help cut down the billions of immaterial results. Utilising social media should be a given, whilst RSS feeds and subscribing to email alerts should help make your job hunt a little less of a hunt.

Employ the help of an agency

Mother might usually know best, but her knowledge of the job market is no match for the recruitment aficionados employed by local and national agencies to facilitate UK employment. Armed with listings, contacts and typical James Bond finesse (ish) consultants will look at your qualities and try and match you with a role that makes the most of your skills and experience. Many employers will leave most of their recruitment operations to an agency meaning that you'll have access to vacancies that won't be advertised anywhere else.

The festive break affords us a time for reflection and this can be enough to prompt a change of direction for the disillusioned rat race runners. It's easy to get lost in the post-Christmas job maze though so a measured and tactile approach is needed if you're going to come out of it with a new title. Just imagine how much cooler it'll be, in summer.

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