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The New Year is upon us. While 2010 may have been marked by the announcement that the recession had ended, to many Americans the economy has not improved enough—some 15 million of them are still looking for work. While the coming year should bring further improvement, many jobseekers are still struggling with the uncertainty of not knowing what it will take to land a job in 2011. Here are some resolutions to make now:
1. Build a Network of at least 100 people, and continue to add new contacts every week. Ask your friends and colleagues to introduce you to new people and then develop a relationship with those individuals. A diverse mix of people can provide diverse ideas as it pertains to your resume, job search and even potential leads.
2. Scrap Your Old Resume. Take the time to look back over your career with a fresh perspective (or have someone else do it). Examine every detail and responsibility of each of your previous jobs. In doing so, you may come to realize that your resume doesn't do your skill set or experience justice for the positions you're applying for. Taking the time to make your resume more relevant could be the one thing that makes the difference.
3. Broaden your Horizons. Don't pigeon-hole yourself into one possible career or one specific industry. For instance, those who have success in a for-profit industry shouldn’t look past a career in the non-profit sector, as salaries are quite comparable. Consider how your skills might transition to another career, and what benefit they could bring to an employer in a different sector.
4. Stop Blindly Searching for Jobs. Sending out 100 resumes a day will only hurt your chances. Apply for fewer jobs and put your effort into tailoring your application documents to meet the requirements for the position. That will give you a better chance of finding work, and reduce the risk of embarrassing mistakes.
5. Prepare For Your Interview. It’s not all face-to-face. Interviews are being conducted over the phone and even over Skype. Use a mirror; use a friend; hire a career coach – either way, you need to make sure you are prepared for any possible interview scenario that may arise. And make sure you come prepared to ask real questions too, such as, “Do you have a leadership development program? What does that look like?”
6. Research is Key. If you go into an interview with Goldman Sachs not knowing anything about Goldman Sachs, and stumble with your answer when asked, “So what do you know about Goldman Sachs,” you are more than likely not going to be invited back for a second interview. If you don't care enough to research a company before even applying for the job, it says to the interviewer that you are clearly not motivated enough to work there.
7. Promise to Have Fun. While the idea of not having work is scary, it doesn't help to consume yourself with fear. Having some fun will help you stay positive and keep you focused on the daily tasks of the job search. Take a break and go outside to enjoy nature, watch a little television, read a book, write a blog. Most importantly, keep yourself active so that the job search doesn’t get you down. A more positive attitude will yield better results in the end.
-- Jon Minners, Vault.com
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