This New Year’s Eve, as fireworks fill the night sky and
floats through taverns, millions of job seekers will resolve to set 2010’s disappointments aside and focus on the opportunities of 2011. Yet this resolution, like so many others, is destined to become yesterday’s news if concrete steps aren’t outlined beforehand. Here are five of the best steps you can take for job success in 2011.
1. Revamp your résumé. Your résumé hasn’t done its job thus far. Start over. Add any new accomplishments and then study the résumé’s contents for new ways to market yourself. For example, a seemingly random list of previous jobs might be reorganized to highlight skills that each involved.
Remember that résumés today are ideally buzzword-friendly – especially since they’re often filtered by computers. Looking for the keywords associated with job ads that interest you and incorporating these into your new résumé may be useful. But do it with the assistance of a professional resume writer to avoid overkill and inappropriate keyword use.
Once you’ve revamped your résumé, similarly update your online profiles and standard cover letters to reflect your most recent accomplishments and your industry’s current buzzwords.
2. Choose favorites. If you’ve been sending résumés out en masse with little positive feedback, then change your approach this year: focus intently on a select few opportunities each week. Tailor your cover letter and résumé to each unique job opportunity. This will not only increase your chance of getting a given job, it will reduce the clutter in your mind and on your computer. Focusing on just a few jobs each week will also free up time for spending with family and friends or working a back-up job.
3. Nurture your networks. Business networking sites such as LinkedIn and even the primarily leisure-time website, Facebook, have proven invaluable to today’s job seekers. Networking sites make it easy to see where friends work and who they know – and they provide convenient ways to indicate that you’re looking for opportunities.
4. Check out new niches. Maybe you’ve always worked in the same industry, but there’s no reason you can’t branch out. For example, your managerial skills, sales skills, or writing skills might easily transfer to another field. Many people have even become educators and are bringing their real-world industry experience to high schools and community college classrooms. Keep an open mind and read about job opportunities outside your comfort zone.
5. Enjoy life. Finding a job is a job in itself – and like any job, it needs to be left behind sometimes. Let friends, family, and hobbies keep you centered. By maintaining a healthy balance, you’ll be better able to project a positive attitude and make the most of your eventual job interviews. Let your career counselor or professional resume writer know when you will be ready and they can get prepared for you. This strategy will save you from uttering the terrible phrase, “I need