Make Light Work of Job Hunting in the New Year

I’m not always one for New Year resolutions but I do think of January as a good time to take stock of things and to see what I want from the next year. One big element of this for many people is looking at their job, their career. This is why job hunting is a popular New Year task but if you do it right, it doesn’t need to be a hard one.

Preparing for job hunting

If my New Year plans involve starting job hunting, then I always do a little preparation work during the first week or so of the month (sometimes even on New Year’s Day if I’m up to it!) and the first place I start is my CV. There are loads of great templates available and plenty of good advice sites on the Internet to help you get the right information in it. Don’t forget to adapt it for the job in question each time and not simply send out a generic document.

As well as checking my CV is up to date, I also check through my social media feed and make sure all the professional stuff is in the right place. One of my friends recently had an interview where they asked her about something on her Facebook wall as she had published it for anyone to see (!) so that makes me a little cautious about what I saw.

Finally, it can be a great time to brush up on your interview technique. There are big changes in terms of interview styles and questions that have been inspired by the big US companies such as Apple and Google. This means preparing for the standard questions isn’t always enough – look out for those weird and wonderful variations.

Finding the job

Once you have done your preparation, you are ready to stand out from the crowd. Use job boards and other places around the internet to find the kind of jobs you want and start applying for them. if you aren’t ready to apply yet, start making contacts and keep records of the kid of jobs that match your ambitions and your skillsets.

New Year could even be the time to think about doing a little retraining if you want a change of direction. Many college courses that are shorter term do a fresh intake in January after the Christmas holidays and this can be a great time to prepare for that big change you want to take.

Keep at it

I know I am guilty of it and we probably all are – we build up for this job we have taken a liking to and set our hearts on it. But it is important that you don’t get disheartened if you’re unsuccessful – it may just mean it wasn’t the perfect job after all! Every time you get a ‘no’ then you are working towards that ‘yes’ down the line and you learn something – don’t forget to ask for feedback from the employer who said no to look at what you might need to alter next time around.

2017 Income Booster Guide

There are lots of reasons we could do with a New Year income booster – make life easier, afford a great family holiday, make renovations to the home to mention just a few. There are lots of ways to do this, even when you are working full time and here are a few tips to boost your income in a variety of ways.

1.      Check benefits

If you are married or have kids, then you are entitled to certain benefits or tax deductions and if the government doesn’t know you qualify for them, then you aren’t going to get them. You can increase your income simply by ensuring you receive all the help you are entitled to.

2.      Look at your credit cards

Most of us have credit cards and there’s nothing wrong with that. But they can require a big monthly minimum payment if you aren’t in a position to clear them entirely. A simple way to boost your income is to look to manage your credit cards better – could you do a balance transfer to a new provider who are offering 0% interest or a lower monthly minimum payment? Once you take a card, swap the balance then simply shut down the old one to avoid temptation and keep your credit record in good order.

3.      Consider second jobs

When you work full time, the idea of a second job might sound like hell but there are lots of modern ways to earn extra income that don’t require adding another four hour shift onto your day. One example is being a tutor online – if you have something you can teach there are lots of sites where you can get paid to help people. It can be as simple as answering questions and can be done when it suits you, say after the kids have gone to bed.

4.      Doing freelance work

Similarly, doing freelance work can fit around your schedule and is a great way to earn extra cash. Say you are an accountant assistant as your full-time work – you could do some bookkeeping as a freelancer. As long as you declare your earnings to HMRC and pay applicable tax, you are able to work as much as you want.

5.      Check out PPI

The PPI scandal has been a boost for some people – a few of my friends have received an unexpected windfall for policies they didn’t know they had. While some banks automatically give you back any PPI paid, others require you to apply for it. So go through your papers and see if you have any accounts or loans you may have had it on – query it with the bank and they will tell you if you did and if you can claim it back.

Conclusion

Having extra income isn’t about being greedy – it’s about doing the things you want to do. Increasing your income can help if you’re applying for a mortgage, for example, or if you want to start your own business and need to put aside some capital in order to do it. It can make life a little easier and allow you to do the things you struggled to do before. And that’s what life is all about.