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Jan 6, 2017
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

Don’t you just love New Year’s and the fresh, clean slate that it brings you? January means new beginnings and a full 365 days of continual self-improvement, right? Yeah, me neither.

But a new year does mean new budgets, new searches to work on, and a whole new set of market changes and challenges. Which means that you’ll need to keep fine tuning your arsenal of tools, and stay on top of what’s being talked about in the market.

And I know, you’re already thinking “I don’t have time for more.” Well, that may well be true, but the only disservice you do is to yourself if you ignore your professional development. So, in the spirit of fresh starts, here’s a few things to put on your to-do list for 2017. You may not get to them all, but start with just one and take it from there.


Explore 1-2 New Tools Per Month

They are out there, and in many cases they are free. Chrome extensions are so abundant right now that it feels like there are almost too many. Many of the popular ones out there now include:

  • Aevy – for mass sourcing of candidates across social platforms.
  • Prophet – contact information extension.
  • Hiretual – contact information extension, analysis on industries and salaries. (Full disclosure, I advise Hiretual)
  • Extensity – A great tool for managing all those new Chrome Extensions!


Learn To Live Without LinkedIn

Chances are, at some point, LinkedIn will ask for more than what your organization’s budget can handle. For you, this means less money to spend on LinkedIn “all-access” features, and needing to learn how to survive in the future when you need to be more nimble. Premium access accounts are already being limited in function, which may be a sign of things to come with their new parent company, Microsoft.

So start spending some time each week where you ban yourself from going to LinkedIn while doing a search. Start small, with maybe half a morning, and work your way up from there. Talk with others in your groups on Facebook, and see what tools your peers are using. Ask a question, because the community gives both ways. It’ll be well worth your time and effort.


Dedicate Time For Learning

Seriously. Devote just 20 minutes a day to reading industry publications such as ERE, SourceCon, RecruitingDaily, ATAP or your favorite industry writer. Go and checked out HR Open Source (HROS), where sharing and learning are the M.O. of that group. You’ll be able to stay ahead of what’s going on in the industry, which can only aid you in your day-to-day searches. Looking for time to do this? If you commute via public transportation, then you have a built in window.

Try also to spend one hour a month on learning to enhance your skill set. Whether it’s a webinar or podcast, or spending an hour tinkering with a new tool you’ve downloaded, you’ll keep your skills fresh, and stay engaged with the profession.


Get Out Of The Office

Your fellow recruiters are facing many of the same challenges you are; you can be assured of that. Get out of the office and spend some time picking the brains of your colleagues. You may even be able to answer some questions for them.

Many cities in the US now have organizations devoted to the local recruiting and sourcing communities. Cities such as DC, Tampa, Boston, Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago and the Valley have thriving communities. Many of these groups also host meetups and conferences on a regular basis. So if you can’t make it to a national conference, start locally. An additional bonus of this is that as you get out there, you’re building your personal brand.


Commit To Your ATS

While many of the tools out there are pretty amazing, all good searches should start in your backyard. If you are not already an expert in how to search deep within your ATS, the time to start is NOW.

“But the search function in our ATS stinks.”

Yep. That’s a common sentiment across the industry. Very few, if any, applicant tracking systems were developed by recruiters or have recruiters as product advisers. So the next best thing is to look for add-ons to your system that will allow you to search better. You might want to look at products like Restless Bandit or others that can aid in helping refresh the data in your ATS and make searching easier.


Final Thoughts

Remember that doing these things can also help you make a stronger business case for attending some of those national conferences. As recruiters and sourcers, we need all the help we can get when making a case for the extra budget money.

It’s early in January. Take 2017 by the horns and get ahead of all that’s coming this year.


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This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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