The decorations are away, the tree’s at the curb, and your pants are fitting a little tighter. That can only mean one thing: ‘Tis the season for job hunting.

Kick start your job search by networking in-person with Leidos recruiters at their January 24 open house. Register here.

If you’re a security-cleared professional, January is a good time to be looking for a job – and there are plenty of cleared job opportunities out there. There’s something about the switch into the new year that encourages job seekers and hiring managers; ClearanceJobs’ site traffic is proof of this. January consistently has some of the site’s highest traffic with over 600,000 visitors. That’s not all.

  • January 2017 and 2018 both broke records for most job seeker registrations on ClearanceJobs in a month. January 2018 still holds that record with 9,222 cleared professionals registered in a month.
  • Job applications on ClearanceJobs increased 34% between December 2017 and January 2018.
  • Users increased by 17%, pageviews went up by 25%, and session durations on the site increased to an average of more than 5 minutes from December 2017 to January 2018.

What do all of these numbers mean? If you are looking for a career change, January is a great time to make a move. Here are some helpful tips to land you that new position for the new year.

Make the Most of Your Network, Referrals, and Career Fairs

“The number one way people land jobs at Leidos is through referrals and other types of networking,” explains Michelle Carper, talent acquisition operations lead at Leidos. Many of these referrals are what you’d traditionally expect – an employee recommending a past colleague who then interviews and gets the role – but that’s not the only kind of networking that can lead to a new career.

To expand your network, you can:

  • Attend career fairs like Leidos’ upcoming open house on January 24. Leidos is looking to fill a host of positions in the new year – from network administrators to linguists and everything in between.
  • Maintain and keep in touch with your network, both personally and online.
  • Connect with recruiters on ClearanceJobs or other career platforms.
  • Follow and engage with companies’ social media accounts.
  • Be willing to talk with anyone, anywhere. You never know where a conversation will lead.

There’s no bad way to get a foot in the door.

Don’t think you have a ton of connections? Maybe you’re not thinking broadly enough. Is the recruiter the cousin of the friend of your acquaintance? Run into a hiring manager at your kid’s softball game? No problem.

“There’s never a bad way to apply for a job,” assures Carper. “Nearly everyone has a story about the different—or even odd—way they found their way into a job.”

Plenty of Leidos employees have interesting stories about how they landed their jobs. Arin Karimian saw a digital communications job opening on a job board. He then applied directly to Leidos’ career page and reached out to a friend who worked at Leidos. His friend knew the hiring manager and recommended that he consider Karimian based on their past work together. Of course, Karimian still had to go through the rigorous interview process, but that nudge from his friend was a foot in the door.

Another Leidos employee met a fellow fan at a sporting event, who happened to be a Senior Vice president at Leidos. The Senior VP encouraged the new acquaintance, who was previously unfamiliar with Leidos, to apply for a job.

Never underestimate the power of a little networking—even if it seems like a longshot.

Have a Plan

You may not serendipitously run into a hiring manager in line for popcorn at the movies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make some of your own luck. Have a strategy that is clear and focused. Ask yourself, “What am I looking for? What am I missing in my current job that I hope to find elsewhere? What kind of salary change can I accept?”

Know what you’re looking for – and what you’re not. This will help you know which jobs to apply for and which to pass over; you don’t need to send out 500 resumes roughshod, just a few good ones.

Also, don’t forget the basics. Make sure that your resume and social media offer a desirable impression to employers. You wouldn’t show up to a career fair in a sloppy t-shirt using bad grammar – so don’t do it on your profile or resume, either.

Looking to start your 2019 job search on the right foot? Sign up for the Leidos Open House on January 24.

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