12 Things Job Seekers Should Gift Themselves

employee engagement
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employee engagement

‘Tis the season for eggnog, ornaments, Michael Bublé, and … stress. If the job search process is putting a damper on your holiday spirit, you’re not alone. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 73% of job hunters say the job search is one of the most stressful experiences in life.

Like with anything, though, it’s important to set aside time for yourself to relieve some of that stress. Indulging in a little self-care boosts feelings of positivity and confidence, helping job seekers start 2020 off on the right foot!

Forget the french hens, turtle doves, and golden rings — here are 12 things to gift yourself now to improve your job search in the new year: 

1. New interview attire

Splurging on a new interview outfit or two not only makes you feel much more confident, but also helps you appear more professional. Not willing to break the bank on a new interview wardrobe? Not a problem. Wait for end-of-year sales to score great deals on blazers, business suits, and dress shoes galore!

2. Career coach sessions

People generally don’t like asking for help. Job hunters are no exception. But when it comes to finding and landing your dream job, take all the advice you can get! Reach out to a career coach for pro tips about how to narrow down your search field, craft an effective cover letter, best present yourself over the phone and in-person, etc.

3. Professionally revamp your resume

Resume writing is no joke — that’s why there are professionals who specialize in it. Hire someone to redesign and edit your resume. An objective opinion may be exactly what you need to streamline your resume and finally get noticed.

4. Earn additional educational credits

Almost everyone these days has a college degree and internship experience. Invest in learning opportunities to earn new credits and certifications that will set you above the other candidates. Focus on the topics that interest you and will be most beneficial for your career, then build up your professional portfolio on your own schedule.

5. Invest in new job search apps

Ads on YouTube, radio channels, and podcasts might have you thinking there’s only one job search app worth your time. But the truth is, job hunters have a multitude of options when it comes to browsing job postings. And a lot of job search apps, like CareerShift, are becoming more intelligent. Research apps available and pick the one best suited for you.

6. Join networking groups

You’ve heard it before: Sometimes finding the perfect job is all about who you know. But what are job hunters supposed to do once they’ve exhausted their existing list of contacts? That’s where networking groups can help. These social circles, both paid and free, are a great opportunity to meet people who can help you grow professionally and possibly even connect you to a new job opening.

7. A day off

An occasional mental health day is 100% justified. Take time away from your current role and job seeking to enjoy some much-deserved rest. Sleep in, go for a hike, read a book, binge your latest Netflix obsession … whatever you need to recharge your batteries. Your emotional and mental well-being is just as important as your skills and qualifications.

8. LinkedIn Premium

Not sure if you’re willing to splurge on a LinkedIn upgrade? Try the free, one-month Premium trial for active users. After signing up, you can assess how (and if) features like inMail improve your job search process.

9. Professional email templates

In several facets of life, we try to make things easier for our future self. Filling the car with gas before a long trip, stashing savings away every month, packing your phone charger in your carry-on bag, etc. Why not take the same approach for your job search? Be prepared by drafting and saving email templates so that you’re always ready to send a cover letter, follow-up message, and thank you note.

10. Social media branding expert

Ready or not, social media is now a part of the job search experience. Employers often browse candidates’ accounts, taking online posts into consideration during the interview process. Hire a pro to clean up your profiles and make them look professional/unique to you. Companies pay people to create their employer brand on social media, so why shouldn’t you?

11. LiveCareer Apply

Job hunting is hard work — filling out application after application, day after day, only to be met with minimal interview requests. The repetition alone is enough to drive job seekers crazy. Cut back on wasted time (and frustration!) with LiveCareer Apply, a free autofill tool for online job applications.

12. JobScan

You probably haven’t heard of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), but it plays a significant role in whether or not companies notice your online resume. It’s a complicated system to understand, which is why we recommend letting JobScan do all the hard work for you. This software analyzes how well your resume aligns with job descriptions, then optimizes it to help you get noticed.

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the co-owner and leader of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, LinkedIn.