“New year, new you” right? What better way to make a change than by starting the new year off with a new job? With the holiday season coming to a close and employees everywhere filtering back into the office to settle back into the “daily grind,” some might be realizing that a change is on the horizon. This could come in the form of increased duties with your current company, or maybe a completely new job.

The unemployment rate in the United States, as of November 2018, was at a 49-year low at 3.7 percent. This means that the market favors the job seeker, and since the beginning of the year usually signifies a hiring surge, there is no time like the present to find a new job.

According to Monster.com, the top job search day in 2017 was January 4 and the top 10 search days of the year were in January (four) and February (six). If you’re looking to start the new year with a new job, you’re clearly not alone. In order to stand out from the competition, the folks at CNBC Make It asked career experts for their advice for those looking for a new job in the new year.

Know Your Motivation

Why are you looking for a new job? Do you feel stuck? Maybe you’ve decided to quit because you simply cannot take it anymore. Regardless of the reason, it is important to understand the motivation behind looking for a new opportunity. Is it the culture that you’ve realized doesn’t suit your personality or is the work you’re doing mundane? Most people want more money, but this could be a motivator for making a change as well.

“Make sure you know why you’re making the move and it’s not just about making a New Year’s resolution,” said Kareem Bakr, head of recruitment firm Selby Jennings’ New York branch.

Once you understand why you want to make a move, you must take it a step further and determine what is important to you in a career. Look back at your past roles and identify what you liked in each of them, then figure out how to incorporate them into your next role. Accepting a new job is a big life moment and filled with emotions. If you hate the job you currently have, it might be hard to separate those feelings when presented with a new opportunity. Are you actually excited about the potential role and is it going to help advance your career, or are you just looking for the first chance to get out of your current job?

Do Your Research

After figuring out what motivates you and what you’re ideally looking for in a new opportunity, it is time to do your research. In the Internet-age, the amount of information available at our fingertips is seemingly endless. Not only can you get great interview tips from resources like our site, but resources such as Glassdoor can provide salary insight and company reviews for you to get a glimpse at the culture.

Searching for new opportunities when currently employed can be a somewhat awkward experience. When you have one foot out the door at your current job, your productivity may suffer and rumors may swirl that you’re actively seeking new jobs. One thing you do not want to do is use your job hunt as leverage with your current employer. According to Bakr, “From an employer’s perspective there is a wariness about candidates shopping around to negotiate a counteroffer. Be aware that a counteroffer would be just keeping your seat warm. Every year we see people being replaced a few months later in April.”

Don’t Hang Around

So, you’ve decided that a job change is the best thing for your career development and personal life, now what? Instead of hanging around your current job under the mindset of having a job you hate is better than having no job, get your resume out there. The first thing you should do is make sure your resume is up-to-date. Check out our resume tips here!

January is a popular time for job seekers because of the time off surrounding the holiday season. More downtime provides a greater opportunity to take a look at what kind of jobs are out there and if any fit what you’re looking for. The job search is already a very competitive process, so in order to put yourself in the best position during this popular time, you should start your search before the holiday surge.

Wrap Up

If you’re thinking about looking for a new job, what better time to do so than the present? Considering it is the beginning of a new year, companies are eager to hire and onboard new employees to get the ball rolling. Once you figure out why you’re looking for new opportunities, it is important to get your resume out there sooner than later so you can beat the competition.

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