There are plenty of reasons to look for a new job. Maybe you didn't get the raise you were hoping to snag, or maybe, despite being qualified, you've once again gone a full year without a promotion. Even if your motivation to job hunt boils down to simply wanting a change, the start of a new year is a great time to get that search going. So if you've yet to dust off your resume, it's time to get moving.

The upside of early year job searches

Though there's no saying you won't get a new job if you kick off your search later in the year, hiring tends to pick up substantially in January and February. The reason? At that point, budgets have been renewed for the year and employers have the money to start bringing in new staff.

In addition, those tasked with hiring tend to be slow during the holidays, when absences are common and funds are frozen until the new year kicks off. As such, internal recruiters are often eager to get moving on posting jobs in January.

A woman sits at a small table in a restaurant drinking coffee in front of a laptop computer that says "Job Search"


Gearing up for your job search

If you've ever looked for a job before, you probably know that it can be almost as time-consuming as actually having a job. As such, you'll need to approach your search strategically, especially if you're already employed.

First and foremost, you should have an updated resume available, as well as a few different versions of that document on hand if you're applying to jobs in more than one field. Along these lines, have some sample cover letters written and ready to tweak. Though you generally won't get away with submitting the same cover letter over and over again, you can certainly draft a couple of different versions of a baseline cover letter and tweak it as you go.

Another thing: If it's been some time since you've gone on a job interview, work on boosting those skills. That could mean preparing to tackle tough questions or doing trial runs with the help of a friend so you get more comfortable with the process.

Finally, decide what your goal is in getting a new job. Are you after more money? A better title? More interesting or meaningful work? Narrowing down your objectives could make for a much more focused search.

Along these lines, it helps to go into your job search with a list of deal-breakers so you know which roles not to apply to. For example, if you're keen on working from home a few days a week, stay away from jobs that require you to report to an office five days a week. And if you're opposed to traveling, don't take a job where you may need to pack a bag once a month.

Though you won't necessarily lose out on the chance to get a new job by postponing your search to mid-2020, it pays to start looking now if you really want to get hired elsewhere this year. And the more prepared you are going into that search, the smoother it's apt to go.