31 Days to a New Job
Increase your chances of getting a job by following this month-long plan of helpful tips and tricks.
When you're applying for jobs, timing is everything. Did you know that while summer is the busiest time of the year here at Care.com, with lots of new back-to-school jobs opening up, January is our second busiest season? In fact, last year there were twice as many jobs posted in January as there were in December!
Whether it's in child care, tutoring, pet care, housekeeping or senior care, we want to help get you ready for all of those new families and companies who need help in the new year. So we came up with a plan: 31 Days to a New Job. And guess what? There are 31 tips. One idea for each day in December to help land you a dream job in January (or any time of the year really).
Below are our suggestions to increase your job-finding chances on Care.com. Follow along, and you'll be ready for all the new jobs that are posted in 2014. And check in with us on Facebook and Twitter for a month-long campaign of how-to-get-a-job tips.
Are there any other tips you would add to this list? Share them in the comments section below.
And for more helpful tips and videos, check out our jobs page.
Day 1: Check Your Schedule
Update your availability with your schedule for January -- no one will be able to hire you if they don't know when you're free.
Day 2: Pick Interview Attire
Go through your closet to make sure you have neat and professional interview outfits -- stay away from jeans and sneakers and go for casual slacks and flats.
Day 3: Go Shopping
If you can't find anything to wear, head to stores or shop online for interview clothes and take advantage of holiday sales! Check out our Pinterest board for inspiration.
Day 5: Look Over Old Applications
Read over any old applications that you've submitted to jobs. How could they have been better?
Day 6: Go Online
Friday is a popular time for goofing off and spending time online. Use that time wisely to clean up your social media profiles, so they're professional for when a potential employer looks at them. Remove old posts that a family or company might find offensive.
Day 7: Take Photos
It's the weekend, so have a little fun! Familiarize yourself with Care.com's photo guidelines and then arrange a mini photo shoot today with a friend, so you have new and polished-looking photos to feature in your profile.
Day 8: Upload Photos
Now add some of those new photos to your profile.
Day 9: Ask for Reviews
Make sure you have at least one review on your profile -- but the more, the better. If you're going to see any friends, family, co-workers or former/current employers at holiday parties, ask them to write a review for you.
Day 10: Update Your Voicemail
Listen to your voicemail message on your phone. Record a new one if it doesn't sound professional.
Day 11: Get Checked
Add a preliminary background check to your profile, so you stand out as someone employers can trust. Want to go a step further? Run an enhanced one.
Day 12: Draft a Contract
Create a sample contract just in case your future employer doesn't have one. It will help you agree on details and make sure you're all on the same page.
Day 13: Share With Friends
Happy Friday the 13th! Share your profile across your social networks today and help potential employers find you faster. Maybe someone you know will be hiring and today will be a lucky day for you. Just avoid any black cats!
Day 14: Handle Money
Update your payment preferences so you can accept credit card payments from employers through Care.com. It'll help you keep track of your finances in the new year.
Day 15: Deal With Stress
It's mid-month, are you feeling any holiday stress yet? Writing holiday cards, shopping for presents, cooking for family, managing your current job or finding a new one. Multi-tasking isn't easy. Use these tips to help you stay calm.
Day 16: Re-read Your Profile
Could it apply to anyone? Set yourself apart from other candidates by making your profile and application personal and specific. Instead of simply saying "I babysat for five years," add detailed fun things you did with the kids.
Day 17: Do Some Q&A
Research interview questions that employers may ask you and brainstorm answers.
Day 18: Look for Errors
Check your profile, cover letter and resume for common spelling and grammar errors.
Day 19: Be Safe
Sign up for First Aid and CPR training or a refresher classes -- caregivers with this education are 2.5 times more likely to be contacted by potential employers.
Day 20: Think up Questions
You made it to another Friday -- congrats, you're almost done! Put in your thinking cap today and write down questions to ask potential employers during interviews.
Day 21: Research Rates
Before you head out to any last-minute holiday sales this weekend, find out the going pay rate for caregivers in your area, to make sure what you're asking is not too low (costing yourself money) or too high (costing yourself jobs). You don't want to spend more than you can afford.
Day 22: Check Out the Competition
Look at profiles of other caregivers in your area -- they're your competition, so you want to make sure you stand out. If you were a prospective employer, what person would you hire?
Day 23: Join a Professional Organization
Sign up for groups for people in your industry -- like the International Nanny Association or National Association of Professional Pet Sitters -- to connect with fellow caregivers and pick up valuable advice.
Day 24: Take a Class
Sign up for a new class or certification that will help you become a better caregiver and appeal to more employers.
Day 25: Get References
Merry Christmas! You should have at least two references listed on your profile, like former and current employers. But if you're attending any holiday parties today, ask a friend or family member to be a reference for you as well -- these types of character references are important to potential employers. Tell people that references make great (and free) presents!
Day 26: Write a Sample Cover Letter
As you're recovering from your eggnog hangover, create a letter you can use when you message employers about new jobs. You'll need to personalize it for each application, but give yourself a strong starting point. Have other people read it over.
Day 27: Explore All Your Options
Think about working for a company. Instead of only applying to jobs with families, would you work for a business like a day care, in-home care agency or housekeeping company?
Day 28: Sign up for a Professional Email Address
You don't want to be contacting an employer from an email like firstname.lastname@example.org. That might give the wrong message. Stick to a combination of your first and last name.
Day 29: Prepare Thank Yous
Head to some after-Christmas sales and buy thank you cards, so you'll be ready to send them out to people you interviewed with in order to follow up.
Day 30: Prep for Interviews
While people are on vacation this week, arrange a mock interview with a friend to get some practice.
Day 31: Celebrate Your Success
Happy Near Year's Eve! While you're enjoying the end of the old year and the beginning of a new one, reminisce about all of the great things that happened in the past twelve months. And think about all of the wonderful things you're going to accomplish with your new job in 2014.
Congratulations on making it through the entire month! Post a comment below and let us know which tip was your favorite. And best of luck finding your perfect new job.
Tiffany Smith is an associate editor here at Care.com. She has written for All You, Time for Kids and the Boston Globe. And as a former babysitter, she knows a lot about fun games to play with kids. Getting them to eat their veggies -- that’s a different story!
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