The switch from winter to spring is a guaranteed self-confidence booster. So if you still need to make some progress on those New Year’s Resolutions from back in January, it’s time to hop in saddle again and start holding yourself accountable.
Was “get a new job” at the top of your to-do list last year? Well, whether you’re seeking a better position in your current field or hoping to find an entirely fresh career path, there’s no time like the present to begin putting yourself out there.
Below are a few strategies to use as you move down the road to job-search success:
Re-Evaluate Your Resume
First things first: your resume should be updated and revised to reflect all your recent experience. Given the sheer volume of other resumes that will be posted and sent out to compete with yours, it is best not only to revise your resume but update it each time you apply for a new position. This increases the odds of it being selected out of the less fine-tuned pile. Address qualifications you have that line up with what they specifically ask for on the job listing. Find keywords that stand out –
And whether you’ve just picked up a freelance opportunity, learned a new skill, or received an award or promotion—these are all personal and professional advancements and should be reflected on your resume. That said, it is best to provide a concise overview of your education, work history and qualifications instead of detailing every aspect. Because recruiters spend an average of about 3 minutes looking at a candidate’s resume, you want to make sure that what you include is an accurate and efficient summary of your accomplishments.
Never Underestimate Your Network
Sometimes the right qualifications, skills and professional experience just aren’t enough to take your job hunt to the next level. As you work your way up the career ladder, you’re likely to encounter a few people along the way who can serve as mentors or helpful contacts. Even if it’s just a great coworker – never underestimate the power of one strong individual connection.
Building a foundational network of both professional and personal contacts is the best way to land a job you love. And because about 85 percent of jobs are found via one’s network, this is also the most efficient way to go about searching. Stretch your connections and ask around for leads, recommendations and references. Take a proactive approach and reach out to anyone you’ve had a professional relationship with, such as internship supervisors, old bosses or coworkers, your volunteer organizations and even professors you had in college.
You may even want to reach out to people you do not know personally, but are in the industry you want to work in. The worst someone can do is not reply – and as they say, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Just one kind, complimentary e-mail will start things off on the right foot. Even if you don’t get a job right away, you can gain some valuable insights and the encouragement you need to keep moving forward down this path.
Double-Check Your Credit and Finances
Many employers check credit scores in order to get a clearer picture of your current financial standing. Your credit score reflects your financial stability and money-management skills. It shows the credit you have, the credit you’re using, and if you’re the type to pay their bills on time each month.
Although not every job you apply for will check your credit immediately, you can get your credit score for free and make sure it is acceptable. If it’s on the low end of the spectrum, you may want to take action to remedy it and get it to a higher point before any potential employers make a decision based on this number. Some of the simpler ways to improve your score are to pay as much of your debts as you can (and on time), dispute any mistakes you see on your report, and limit your spending until you’re back in the black.
Make Contact with Recruiters
The practice of contacting recruiters shares a similar approach with updating your resume— hone in on specifics and do it frequently. Unlike prospective employers who are typically impossible to reach by phone or email, recruiters are easier to contact and actually appreciate the effort as they get paid for finding potential qualified applicants. About 94 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to search for candidates so make sure your profile gives the impression of someone who is professionally active and engaged. Do your research, and look for recruiters that work within the industry you’re aiming for. Be diligent with following up.
Create a Professional Website
Because your website serves as a visual representation of your skills and talents, use this opportunity to treat it as more of a professional digital portfolio. A well-designed website or blog adds a much-needed touch of personal creativity. With a website, you are able to add more details that you wouldn’t be able to with just a single piece of paper or .pdf file. Make sure you’ve added a link to your well-rounded resume, projects you’ve worked on, accomplishments, awards and any samples of work that really showcase your abilities.
Improve Your Skills and Get Certified
Continuing education courses are always a great way to move forward with advancing your career. Employers sometimes offer these as an option, but a myriad of other opportunities are out there too. Community colleges and online courses are a great and affordable way to earn certifications that may be beneficial to grow in your career path. Universities, libraries, museums and art centers also offer very enriching educational and cultural activities to augment what’s already on your list of resume skills.
While the process of landing a job can sometimes feel arbitrary and unfair, it need not seem too complicated or unfulfilling. By taking the aforementioned steps, job seekers can take greater control over this sometimes daunting process and increase their chances of finding a career they want.