According to LinkedIn, there’s an increase in job hunt activity in January of each year. The New Year is one of the best times to set new goals for ourselves. Whether you want to improve your personal finances or improve your health, it’s the jump off point for a better year. And like so many others, you might have your sights set on a new job.
Our economy is slowly improving after the Great Recession, which officially ended in 2009. However, the unemployment rate in the United States remains high. For that matter, looking for a new job and actually getting one are two entirely different things. This isn’t meant to discourage you, but if you’re hoping for a better opportunity next year, now’s the time to prepare.
#1 Be clear about your goals
Before starting your job search, be clear about your career goals. In other words, what are you hoping to accomplish. Do you want to earn more money? Are you looking for better job perks? Do you want a flexible schedule? Are you trying to move up the corporate ladder? If you seek a new job without fully considering factors that will contribute to job satisfaction, you might be unhappy at your next job, and find yourself in the same situation this time next year.
#2 Identify your strengths
You can have skills and experience for a particular job, but when you are applying and interviewing with companies, it’s important that you’re fully aware of your strengths. Also, you need to focus on how these strengths can solve a company’s problems. Remember, you’re going up against other qualified job applicants. To get your foot in the door, you need to bring more to the table than a degree. To do this, dig into your past and assess how you’ve helped your former employers succeed. Be ready with anecdotes, examples and numbers. You’ll need this arsenal to wow employers.
#3 Improve your grammar and spelling
If you’re searching for a new job in the New Year, your focus might be on improving your skills or acquiring additional education. Both are important, but too often job seekers forget to brush up on their grammar and spelling. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how impressive your credentials are, many employers are unable to look past obvious grammar errors and typos on resumes and cover letters. If you don’t give much care to proofreading your resume, this makes you appear lazy and some employers won’t give you the time of day.
#4 Research in-demand jobs
Make sure you research in-demand jobs. On average, it can take anywhere between six months and 12 months to find a new job. But if you seek employment in fields where there’s a strong demand, your job search might take less time. As of 2014, in-demand jobs include those in healthcare, finance, hospitality and retail. Of course, it isn’t enough to apply for these jobs; you need skills to complete tasks. Take workshops or courses to receive the education you need to move ahead.
#5 Be courageous
Stop telling yourself that you can’t handle a specific job. If you have your eyes set on a new position in the New Year, be prepared to challenge yourself. Doubting your ability keeps you stuck in the same position. And if you’re dissatisfied with your work, moving into the exact position with a different company might not necessarily improve the situation. Maybe it’s time to branch out and start working toward a promotion, or you might consider a completely different field.
#6 Visualize your career goals
Visualization is an important aspect of personal development, and if you’re trying to get ahead at work, this technique can help. This involves mental imagery and imagining yourself completing certain tasks or achieving specific goals. This creates a neural pattern in your brain — as if you’re actually completing the action you visualize. If used correctly, this technique can improve self-confidence and help you focus on goals. You gain the motivation to make moves that will bring about the change you seek.
#7 Work with a career coach
The end of the year is also a good time to reassess your job hunting efforts and determine where you went wrong, and a career coach can offer insight. These professionals can provide guidance and help determine the best career choices based your personality, skills and education. They can help pinpoint issues that contributed to an unsuccessful job search in the past, and help you overcome these hang-ups. For example, maybe you didn’t treat the job search like a real job and you need help with time management, or maybe you don’t interview well and you need assistance in this area.
See Also: Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For
Come January, many job seekers will hit the job boards and start flooding employers with their cover letters and resumes. The competition will be tough, but with preparation, you can stand out among the pack.
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