We may still be in the 12 days of Christmas, but if you're planning on searching for a new job in 2015, now is the perfect time to get ready for the inevitable scramble for new roles that will begin in earnest in January.
Whether you're looking to change careers entirely or just want a fresh start, here are eight steps you can take now in preparation for the inevitable scramble to find a new job in 2015.
1. Set goals
Whether it's a discernible step up, a higher salary or a move in a new direction, set goals to prevent yourself from applying for roles that could derail your career. Keeping those goals in mind as you perform your job search will help prevent you from being tempted by unsuitable jobs, just because the office has free food or a slide.
2. Broaden your spectrum
Your main experience might lie in one sector, but is there an opportunity to transfer your skills into another area? Consider your other options. When job hunting time arrives, although your dream job might not be available, you might find your skills are suited to something unexpected.
3. Look ahead
Alright, so all those stories we've heard in recent months about robots replacing human workers might seem a bit far-fetched - but it's worth trying to ascertain what your industry will look like in five, 10, 15 years' time. Can you hedge against changes, either by moving into a slightly different sector or finding a new way to market yourself?
4. Update your skills and knowledge
Use your few days off to read up on developments in your industry. And if you have skills that could do with a refresh, use online tutorials such as Codeacademy to bring your knowledge bang up to date. (Also, find out about 2014's most employable skills here).
5. Brush up your CV
We all know CVs should be tailored to the employer, but that shouldn't prevent you from having a good look at its various components. Does that personal statement sound a bit cheesy a few years on? Are there skills you've acquired in the intervening period that aren't listed anywhere? Have you included social media accounts?
6. Professionalise your contact points
It might sound obvious, but now is the time to get rid of that voicemail greeting your five-year-old daughter did. Your current employer might think it's cute, but a future employer is likely to be looking for something more professional. Similarly, any interview requests can't be sent to your work address. Time to put "firstname.lastname@example.org" out of its misery.
7. ... and clean up your social media profiles
Whether you like it or not, future employers will look to social media to get a bit more information about your character. If your Facebook account is full of pictures of Christmas party shenanigans, now is the time to figure out how to raise security settings to their highest level. Ditto Instagram.
8. Buy a new interview outfit
The Boxing Day sales are the perfect time to splash cash on a new interview outfit. Whether it's a smart new suit, a pair of shiny shoes or a killer dress, first impressions always count.
9. Practice your interview technique
What are the questions an interviewer is likely to ask? Brush up on your knowledge of the history of companies where you want to apply for roles, and find out what's going on in your sector.
You can't predict exactly what an interviewer is going to ask, but you can prepare yourself to answer the commonly-asked questions, such as "why do you want this job?" and "what are your strengths and weaknesses?".
In the interests of avoiding rambling, it's also worth deciding now what you'll include when an interviewer asks you to "tell me about yourself".