5 Tips to Land a Job You’ll Love by the New Year

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As the year comes to a close, both hiring managers’ and job seekers’ attention will begin to turn away from the hiring process and on to the holidays. And who can blame them?

While you might be tempted to press “pause” on your job search during the holiday season, if you want to make your New Year’s resolution to find a job come true, you have to keep the job search alive between the turkey dinner and holiday caroling.

Full-time, permanent hiring this holiday season is projected to be the most robust since 2006, with 34 percent of U.S. employers planning to hire full-time employees in the fourth quarter, according to a recent CareerBuilder study — all the more reason to continue your search.

To land a job you love by the new year, here are five things to start doing today:

1. Put together a wish list.

It’s time to put together your holiday wish list — for jobs, that is. With only a few months left in 2015, blindly applying to job posts isn’t going to do you much good.

The first step in any successful job search is to develop a solid game plan. Decide what companies you’d like to work for and what job openings interest you the most. What kind of job or company do you see yourself in? Where do you want to end up by January?

Don’t be afraid to add a few “hopefuls” to the list — it is a wish list, after all.

2. Make a realistic timeline.

Keyword: realistic.

In order to land a job you’ll love by 2016, you need to set goals that are achievable between now and the new year. Start by outlining what you’d like to accomplish each week. For instance, maybe you devote this week to creating your wish list and tailoring your resume and cover letter to each item on the list. You can focus on applying next week, following up the week after that, and so on.

Consider creating a calendar specifically for your job search. This way, you can keep track of the companies you’ve applied to and followed up with, networking events, and interviews all in one place.

3. Reach out to your connections…

To stay in line with your job search timeline, it can help to reach out to any (and every) professional connection you might have. These connections can inform you of job opportunities that aren’t yet being advertised, which can give you a leg up on the competition.

What’s more, your professional connections can also serve as references when it comes time to interview. It’s a win-win.

4. …and make new ones.

The holiday season means corporate holiday parties and events (i.e., new networking opportunities). Take advantage of any holiday events, fundraisers, and parties that are open to the public, and use them to make new professional connections.

Attending and networking at these events gives you an opportunity to meet and speak with the company’s employees, learn about the company culture and current job openings, as well as helps employees put a face to the name on your application.

5. Be open to seasonal work.

While the forecast for full-time, permanent hiring this holiday season looks merry and bright, the holiday season also calls for seasonal employees. If there’s a seasonal opportunity with a company on your wish list, don’t cross it off just yet.

According to the aforementioned CareerBuilder survey, an encouraging 57 percent of employers expect to transition some seasonal staff into full-time, permanent roles — up from 42 percent last year. Who knows? The key to landing the job of your dreams may be to start off in a seasonal position.

What are some other tips for landing a job before the new year?