By Angela Rose, Hcareers.com
As midnight approached and the final minutes of 2011 tick-tocked away, what did you pledge to achieve in 2012? According to Psychology Today, losing weight and exercising more are the two most common New Year’s resolutions. Getting out of debt, saving money and going back to school are also quite popular – and honorable – pledges. However, for those beginning 2012 as job seekers, resolutions pertaining to the job search are likely paramount. Here are six resolutions that may help you secure a new position before you even lose the post-holiday bulge.
1. Resolve to determine your true worth.
Rather than basing your income goals on what you were earning in your last position or a number that appeared to you in a dream, determine your true market value. This is based on your education, skills and experience as well as your industry, position desired and geographic location. This is good information to have at hand when it comes time to negotiate your next salary. Payscale.com and Salary.com make finding it easy.
2. Resolve to clean up your online presence.
Did you know that potential employers are just as likely to check applicants’ Facebook pages and Twitter feeds as they are to review their web-based portfolios and LinkedIn profiles? If you’ve posted questionable photos or spent time ranting about your last boss, politics, religion or unemployment, remove the evidence. Then resolve to conduct yourself online as though a future boss is watching –he may very well be.
3. Resolve to complete your LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn can be a valuable tool to connect with potential employers, mentors and others in your industry. However, a slipshod profile, or one that is incomplete, is unlikely to win fans or even show up in a search. Spend some time writing a compelling summary. Describe past employment experiences using the terms hiring managers in your field are likely to search. Include your education and specialties. Add a professional photo. And request recommendations from former coworkers and supervisors who can vouch for your value.
4. Resolve to target your job search.
If your approach to sending resumes is similar to throwing many copies against a wall to see what sticks, it’s time for a more selective approach. Figure out exactly the type of job you want, the duties you’d enjoy and the industry in which you’d like to work – then go for it. Search job boards and employment postings using that information as your keywords. You’ll have a much better chance of finding the right job for you.
5. Resolve to customize.
Now that you’re not blasting out a resume to every employer posting a job, you’ll have more time to customize your approach. Begin by carefully reviewing the job description. What credentials, skills and experience are required? How are the job’s duties described? Who is the ideal candidate? Use this information to create a list of keywords, phrases, qualifications and experiences to include in your cover letter and resume.
6. Resolve to learn something new.
You don’t even have to pay for it. Visit the library and check out a book or two on your industry or read a few trade publications. Take a free class or attend a local government or nonprofit-sponsored seminar for job seekers. You’ll demonstrate your willingness to learn, eagerness to improve, and may even gain helpful insight you can Tweet to others, share on your blog or mention on LinkedIn.
Recent reports on the job market state that things are looking up in 2012. Keep these New Year’s resolutions and your job search will be looking up as well.
About the Author
Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for Hcareers.com.