Starting a new job search can be both exhilarating and challenging, especially in an evolving economic time in Canada. As we step into 2024, the job market is expected to remain resilient. According to Robert Half Canada’s latest State of Hiring survey, 54 per cent of hiring managers plan to add new permanent positions in the first six months of the year while another 40 per cent anticipate hiring for vacated positions. What does that mean for job seekers? Now is a good time to job search. Competition tends to be tough at the beginning of the year as more candidates start thinking about their next career move with the fresh start of a new year. If you’re looking for a job, you’ll need to put in some work to differentiate yourself from other candidates with similar skill sets.
Here are Robert Half Canada’s top 7 job search tips you can start doing now to help you land you a position that matches your skills, experience and interests in 2024:
There are probably a million other things you’d rather be doing than writing a resume. But it’s worth the time to have an up-to-date document at your fingertips. People often put off revising their resumes until they find an interesting job opportunity. That’s a mistake that could prevent them from applying for the position right away.
Make sure your resume includes an impact statement that highlights your accomplishments and skills and articulates how you’ve saved time and money or generated revenue for your company. An impact statement will help you stand out from other candidates by demonstrating that you can successfully do the job you’re applying for. While you’re at it, add the impact statement to your LinkedIn profile. Your LinkedIn profile is essentially your online resume, so review it to make sure it reflects the same information as your traditional resume. Recruiters also use LinkedIn to identify passive job seekers. With a strong online profile, you’ll increase the likelihood that a recruiter will take a closer look at you.
Another way to stand out is to improve your skill sets, learn new in-demand skills or pursue a certification. No matter what industry or career you’re in, professional development shows initiative, a commitment to learning, and an understanding of what it takes to excel in your field. It also makes it easier for you to show how you can add value to the organization. Certain abilities and credentials can also help you negotiate a higher salary. See Robert Half Canada’s latest Salary Guide for insight into how much more employers are willing to pay professionals with sought-after skills and certifications for certain roles.
An overwhelming majority of job seekers get hired through networking. Building your professional network is critical to helping you achieve your job search goals. Research local and national events hosted by professional or alumni organizations, or other groups in your profession or industry. Whether attendance is on-site or virtual, remember that first impressions are lasting ones. Dress professionally, bring your updated resume and digital business cards. Don’t limit your participation to just showing up for events – take an active role by volunteering for a committee or seeking an active position on their board or panel. You should also reach out to new contacts on LinkedIn and ask trusted colleagues, mentors and friends for their recommendations. Be strategic and genuine when you request to make a connection. And continue to nurture ties with the professional contacts you already have. It’s well worth the effort to build long-lasting relationships that can help you throughout your career. With the constant changes across industries in Canada, you never know when a connection or collaboration could come in handy. 
Preparation is the key to a successful interview. Research the companies and people who may interview you well ahead of time. That way you’ll be ready to ask informed questions about the company and why you want to work there. Also take some time to brush up on your interviewing skills and practice how you’ll articulate the value you can bring to a company. Most candidates start the interview process online, so make sure you are camera-ready and your technology is working properly. 
Nearly all potential employers will review your LinkedIn profile to get a better idea of your professional experience and career goals (refer to job search tip #1). Hiring managers and recruiters also look at your social media to find out more about who you are as a person. Consider how you present yourself on social media and online forums. You may need to do some digital housekeeping to remove anything unprofessional from your posts. Make sure all your information is current and accurate and presents you in the best possible light. If there’s anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see — photos from a vacation or your unfiltered thoughts about a politician or a sports team’s poor performance, for example — review your privacy settings. This is especially important for recent graduates or job seekers who are just starting their professional careers. 
Now is a good time to assess your job search goals and personal aspirations to determine exactly what type of career opportunity you want to look for. Many professionals today want their jobs to have meaning and a purpose that aligns with their values. This often includes priorities like work/life balance, a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion or employee wellness programs. Maybe you’d like to change industries or take on a more fulfilling role with greater responsibility. Or have more flexibility that can be achieved with remote or hybrid work options. Get a clear idea of what it will take to make you happy, so you can focus your search on getting what you want. It will also help you in the interview process by targeting your questions for potential employers so you can easily know which company aligns with your needs and wants. 
Employers today take great care to hire people who are likely to thrive in their unique organization. So, even if you’re a top candidate for a job, it may take weeks and several rounds of interviewing before you hear back about a final decision. Don’t get discouraged and do follow up with the interviewer to see if they have feedback for you. Send a handwritten thank you note or email that shows your continuing interest in the job. And stay in touch with the hiring manager to keep your name top of mind, even if the first opportunity is unsuccessful. While you’re waiting for an employer to make a decision, keep networking and applying to other jobs that interest you. You should also consider building a relationship with a professional recruiter. Find a recruiter in your city who knows the market inside and out and will use their exclusive relationships with hiring managers to help you access roles that aren’t advertised publicly.
Remember, each job search tip mentioned is a tool in your arsenal to help you achieve career success. Embrace the new year and new career opportunities that come along. Best of luck in realizing your job search goals. Ready to apply? Explore open roles at Robert Half Canada today.