The lunar new year is associated with new beginnings and fresh starts. It’s a time for reflection, appreciation, fireworks, and saying yes to new opportunities.
Whether you choose to take a vacation or not over Chinese New Year, it’s the perfect chance to plan out your career goals for the year to come, particularly if you know you’ll be looking for a job in the new year.
The right way to set goals (and actually achieve them)
As the new year begins, it’s a great opportunity to really reflect on where you’re at with your career. With the vacation period, take the time to sit with yourself (or family and friends) and evaluate what you were able to achieve last year, and where you want to be by the end of 2019.
It might be tempting to set out a goal and leave it at that, but psychologists have found that you’re more likely to be actually achieve your goal by following the SMART method: by making sure they’re specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-specific, goals go from abstract ideas to concrete, clear, actionable steps.
Looking for a job? 4 strategies to help you prepare
If part of your plan for the Year of the Pig involves looking for a job, then there are some easy steps you can take to set yourself up for success.
1. Research your next role
Be clear on exactly what it is you want from it. Be honest with yourself because the more precise your criteria, the better you’ll be able to narrow down your options.
With your criteria in mind, start your research. What are the requirements for the role? How can you demonstrate that you meet them? What is the salary range? Robert Half’s Salary Guide is a helpful resource to help guide your expectations.
If you know people in the role, reach out to them. If you don’t, can you find someone who does and ask for an introduction? The best insight comes from the people who have been there and done that. Networking is an important part of looking for a job, so don’t be shy!
2. Refresh your CV
When it comes to updating your CV, keep the job you’re applying for in mind. If you have a specific posting in mind, use the advertising copy to guide your language and tone of voice. What are the keywords they use? Be sure to use the same keywords and style of writing to ensure the hiring manager reading that you’re a good match.
Don’t forget to highlight your achievements. Quantify them if you can; numbers can be powerful when it comes to demonstrating the value you can bring to a role.
3. Job interview prep
Looking for a job doesn’t stop with submitting your application! While some companies let you know in advance the style of interview they’ll be using, most will follow the traditional format. Consider and practice how you’ll answer some of the more common interview questions:
- Tell me about yourself?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- How do you handle stress and pressure?
- What are your salary expectations?
If you have the chance, practice running through your answers with someone who will point out any gaps or helpful information you may have not included.
But it’s not just preparing your answers to interview questions. Interviewers are also interested in the questions you ask, so it’s important to be engaged in the process. Remember: you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you! In order to determine if the company and position is a good fit for you, prepare some questions in advance.
4. Professional development
Looking for a job can take time, and that’s okay! While you’re waiting for that perfect new opportunity, it’s a great chance to fill any gaps in knowledge, skill, or expertise you might have.
Can you brush up on your digital skills? Is there a piece of software you could to learn that would be a boost to your application? Would it be helpful to learn a new language to familiarise yourself with a new market? Are there soft skills you can improve upon? These are all ways to boost your career development potential.
Take advantage of the fresh start a new year brings to plan how you’ll achieve your career goals for 2019.
With a little preparation and forethought, you’ll be setting yourself up for a successful year ahead.