If you’ve spent time job searching in 2011, or are facing a pending layoff, the start of a New Year might not seem exciting or even particularly inspiring.
However, there’s good reasons to reconsider what you might have read or experienced in 2011 – plus ways to drive your job search forward and stay focused on your goal for the coming year:
1 – Realize that companies ARE hiring.
As badly as you want to find the perfect fit in your next job, companies want to find YOU.
Don’t believe this? Run a Google search on the phrase “How to find candidates on LinkedIn.” Out of the 14 million or so results, you’ll see thousands of articles on recruiting.
What this tells you is that there are plenty of companies searching for your talent. Therefore, if you haven’t already optimized your LinkedIn Profile for key search terms, it’s time to get going.
Make it easier to be found by adding job titles throughout your Profile, as well as Skills (within the new Sections) that reflect the terms you see in job postings.
By taking stock of who visits your Profile, you’ll be able to see if your search results improve, and can then continue to tweak your keywords appropriately. Hint: it’s all about market testing and experimentation, so the sooner you change things up, the better.
2 – Start creating your own “luck.”
Job search “luck” usually ends up being mostly talent and preparation. Unless you have a well-run network, you’ll need to create your own opportunities. To do this, think in terms of what employers want, then set out to prove that you’ve got what it takes.
Changing industries? Take a class or read a book on your desired market, then mention it in your resume, on your LinkedIn Profile, and in your cover letter. Better yet, note your efforts and ask for an informational interview with a successful pro in your desired field – which might lead to a chance to be mentored.
Think your resume lacks pizzazz? Start googling for resumes in your field, not for copying, but to take notice of what your resume is lacking (here’s how to leverage professional resume samples). Ask former co-workers how they’d describe you. It’s all about getting that brand message out of your head and onto the paper.
Not sure you’re interviewing well? Look online at great sites like www.job-hunt.org that are teeming with wise interview advice on everything from calming your jitters to salary negotiation. Read, listen, learn, and absorb. Then, create power stories for yourself that illustrate your top 5 achievements. Rehearse and take note of what questions you can answer with them. It’s a confidence-building exercise that will have you looking forward to interviews.
Feel like giving in and admitting defeat? Don’t. Nearly every person that you’d otherwise consider successful has been turned down (or laid off, demoted, or experienced another type of setback) at some point in time in their careers.
Remember this when it seems that you’ve been ruled out as a candidate. It only takes ONE – one job, one opportunity to show what you can do, and one person to believe in you.
3 – Act “as if” you’re already successful.
Struggling to envision how your job search will turn out? Put yourself in the “already arrived” category, and invest some time, energy, and even funds in what can make you appear more successful and competent to others.
Get a professional headshot taken for your social media profiles—and dress the part for the job you want (not just the job you have). Polish your resume with a fresh, cutting-edge format and tone.
If you haven’t explored what your competition is presenting to employers, take a look at the best professional resumes in the world. You might be surprised at how things have changed.
In addition, if you’re using the Web as a platform to attract attention (either through blogging, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn), do a self-check to ensure that you’re presenting a positive image, rather than tearing down others through social media. This will go a long way toward persuading recruiters (who DO check you out online) to forward your credentials to their client companies.
Take stock of your career achievements… replacing that “I can’t” tape in your head with the reasons that you’ve been successful thus far. Summon this message during your interviews and in your networking. If need be, re-read your letters of reference, career accomplishments list, or LinkedIn endorsements on a regular basis to boost your confidence.
So, make the dawn of the New Year a time to take stock of your job search techniques – making yourself findable, approachable, and marketable to take advantage of fresh new opportunities.