Your New Year’s Resolutions – Building a Job Search Strategy for 2016

The year is 2016. Not 1999, not 2009, and definitely don’t job search like it’s 2015!

It was a rocky year last year with numerous layoffs, takeovers, acquisitions and organizational changes in Canada. Whether you are in transition or seeking new opportunities to grow your career, make yourself a few of these resolutions!

1. Get on the Cloud or get out!

If you cannot access or send your resume/cover letter within 5 minutes of a phone conversation, you’re too slow! No more “Let me get home tonight and send you my updated resume from my desktop PC”. Your updated resume should be at your fingertips ready to be sent any moment. While Google Drive is my favourite, there’s plenty other cloud storage services like Dropbox, and Microsoft’s OneDrive.

2. Learn to code!

If you’re wondering, “Why does an accountant like me need to learn to code?”, then you’re falling behind. Kids in high school these days are learning to code and learning how it can be applied to all fields. Automating tasks, data management, rapid reporting will replace jobs, reduce headcount needs and improve business decision support. Toronto is home to many coding bootcamps for SQL and there are plenty of courses for learning VBA.

3. Understanding technology trends in your industry!

Going back to #1, Get on the Cloud! I’m seeing more and more of my clients migrating to Cloud-based ERP/CRM systems and tools to work faster, smarter and more collaborative. Forget sharing an Excel file around the office and mixing up revisions and overwrites! Learn to use Sharepoint, Google Apps for Business, and Evernote.  Attend trade shows and seminars to see what new tools are coming up that would make your day to day easier, and close out month end faster!

4. Let your smartphone make you smart!

Be organized, send emails with zero typos and mistakes, and the very least learn to turn off the ringer during an interview! If you fear your smartphone, what will you do when the workplace starts integrating work processes with smartphones beyond emails and calendars? Make it a promise to yourself to be more tech savvy this year.

5. Update your LinkedIn Profile!

You should be doing this on a regular basis, just like your resume. Adding and removing items that are relevant to your goals, accomplishments and items you want to be noticed for. Connect and reconnect with old colleagues, vendors and clients to expand your network. My own little success story: I have been staying in touch with my favourite vendor contact who is now my boss through LinkedIn! He messaged me on LinkedIn the very day I just happened to be down the street from his office in Mississauga as I just finished a job interview. I dropped by to chat and I’ve been with The Mason Group since then!

6. Communicate like it’s 2016!

Voicemail will go the way of the fax machine, fade away and disappear. E-mails and instant messages are more effective. While it still does not replace live phone conversations, it’s far more efficient to message someone to arrange a time to chat over the phone. A voicemail takes 1-3 minutes to leave a message, and another 3-15 minutes for the receiver to call into their voicemail box and listen to every message in chronological order. Other than the phrase “pet peeve”, voicemail is my worst pet peeve, and I really hate the phrase “pet peeve”!

7. Update your LinkedIn Profile Photo!

Make sure it’s professional, simple and proper. I’ve ranted and raved how awful some LinkedIn profile photos are, from incorrect white balance and off-colour, cropped group photos, and taking a photo of a printed photo. A photo is a thousand words, make sure it says all the right things about you.

8. New year, new suit!

As we always advise, dress your best for interviews! I’m not a fashionista/style advisor but I do know it’s a good idea to update your wardrobe from time to time. Since your other New Year’s Resolution is getting fit, you might need a new interview outfit!

9. Lose the attitude from 2015, start fresh in 2016.

If last year was rough for you, whether it be a tough job search, failed interviews, getting passed on promotions or restructuring, start this year with a fresh positive outlook. New year, new opportunities! Change your morning routine and you will feel the difference in your day, at work and in front of interviewers.

10. Stop doing the same thing over and over again!

As Einstein once said “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Do something different, ask someone for advice, change your approach. Take the time to step back, review and strategize.

The job search is a journey you don’t have to go alone, The Mason Group’s Search Consultants are available to offer insight, share great opportunities and advise your next career move. I can be reached by e-mail at or through LinkedIn Messaging when you’re ready for 2016.



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