Leveraging the Holiday Lull

A friend reached out, saying they wanted to start interviewing in the new year, and asking what they should do right now to prepare. This was a really smart question – if you have a holiday lull at your current job, December is a great opportunity to set yourself up for a successful job search in January. So, I thought I’d share some of my quick tips with this community!

Brush up on common interview concepts like algorithms, and skills that are key to your ideal role (eg, React for a front-end role at a startup). This might also mean learning a new skill, especially if you’ve worked mostly in a single framework for the last few years. And share work that’s relevant (and not protected by your current company!) in your preferred open source community. If you’re not sure where to start with your studies, our Way-too-long technical interview prep guide has resources for many areas. Oh, and don’t forget to take some assessments on Triplebyte–and share the badges you earn. :slight_smile:

Do a self-review of your accomplishments and your resume. (A bonus of starting to prepare in December: it may with the annual review you’re doing at your current job!) I really like to run through the questions Geoffrey Smart proposed in his book, “Who?”.

For every role, starting with your current one, build answers to the following questions:

  • What were you hired to do?
  • What was your greatest accomplishment? Why? What was the impact on the team/business/etc?
  • What was a low point in that job? How did you handle it? What did you learn/what would you do differently in a future similar situation?
  • What would your manager say were your strengths? Your weaknesses?
  • How strong was the team you worked with? Anything they did really well that you learned from? Anything you taught them to do better? What would have made the team stronger?
  • Why did you leave? What would have prevented you from leaving?

Building crisp, genuine answers to these questions will help you craft a narrative about your professional self. Try to be specific, and use real examples. This will make the “walk me through your resume” question a breeze!

Think about who you would ask to serve as a reference–and reach out to them if it’s been a while since you last spoke! It’s good to give them a heads up so they are prepared to sing your praises when a hiring manager/recruiter eventually requests their perspective.

And on the note of references…keep working hard at your current job! You never know what might change, and you don’t want to burn a bridge professionally. You might want to use this role for a reference someday!

And finally, take a break! It’s been a long year for everyone. It’s great to get ahead of the game, but you’ll need to be ready to hit the ground running in your next role. Taking time off now means feeling rejuvenated later.

Good luck with your job search, and Happy Holidays! Looking forward to hearing how folks in this community are using any extra time this season.