Almost all of us (except for the really lucky ones) are either back at our desk, or are returning to work on Monday after a sunny summer holiday. Many readers of this column may also be thinking about a career or job change at the start of this year , seeking an exciting new challenge for 2019.

However a word of caution before you start firing off your old dusty CV to potential employers. Before you press "Send", make sure you are "recruitment ready", positioning yourself well to prospective employers.

Personal social media audit

Take some time to audit your social media profile, ensuring there are no divisive photos, comments or opinions that may have crept in over the break. Googling your name, and then reading through the first two to three pages should ensure you are fine from a recruiter's perspective, and also vital is checking your Instagram, FaceBook and Twitter accounts are "clean".

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Know your achievements

Just stating what you "get paid to do" in your CV is not enough to stand out in today's highly competitive employment world. Think about how you exceeded KPIs, led complex projects, saved money or trained and coached others in your recent career. These achievements demonstrate your true value, and give employers trust that you will be able to replicate these results for them when they recruit you.

LinkedIn Profile

Does your LinkedIn profile (and CV of course) "sell you" and give confidence to prospective readers? This portal could well be the first place a recruiter lands on to find out more about you, so make certain it is achievement focused, and has relevant keywords that are appropriate for your job type and industry.

Check you photo is friendly, professional and up to date as well. I am always horrified by the incredibly poor LinkedIn photos I see on a daily basis, including people holding crayfish, patting animals or wearing their suit from their marriage seven years ago.

Referees

Make certain your verbal referees are on the same page as you, prior to going to market. It is inexcusable to not let your referee know that you would like to use them for the next role you are seeking. Get their confirmation to act as referees, then keep them in the loop with the types of roles you are seeking, and who may be contacting them.

Interview practice

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It always amazes me how many people never prepare properly for interviews, and leave their practice for when they actually are in the interview. Those tricky behavioural questions are especially troublesome, demanding detailed real-life examples for each answer. Read the job description in detail before the interview, so you are aware of the specifics of what the employer is seeking in the ideal candidate.

For those looking to switch jobs in 2019, remember that a small amount of preparation beforehand, will pay big dividends when you hit the market!

Discover your achievements by using Tom's Major Achievements Questionnaire. Email Tom via tom@cv.co.nz for a free copy. Visit CV.CO.NZ or CareerCoach.nz to find out more.