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January is the perfect time for fresh beginnings. The idea of fresh starts is the impetus behind setting New Year’s Resolutions which include everything from dropping a few pounds to learning to ski. The start of a new year also is a good time to look for a new opportunity. The holiday season with all its distractions is over and people are ready to get back to business.
With this in mind, I asked eight career experts whose opinions I respect to share their “best tip” for job seekers. Happily they all agreed. The result is a variety of insights as diverse as their backgrounds. Try all of their suggestions or pick just a few. Remember, this is the ideal time to try something new.
Three ways to help others help you find the right job — If you really want someone to help you find not just any job, but theright job you have to give them enough of the right information. Don’t just send them your résumé or point them to your online profile and expect them to figure it out for you. Tell them: 1) What do you do? Remove the jargon and use plain language. 2) Where do you want to work? Have a list of target companies. 3) Make specific requests. Do you want an introduction or advice on your résumé?
Steve Levy, Recruiting Inferno
DO NOT treat recruiters as you would treat your friends – because recruiters aren’t your friends while they’re filling positions. Treat each one as if they are the only one’s buying your services – YOU – and your bottom-line depends upon the sale. This means that you must know your customer’s needs before trying to sell yourself (generics won’t work) and their needs are the SPECIFIC problems to be solved – not the tasks noted in the job description. Demonstrate how you have solved or can solve the SPECIFIC problems to make the sale.
Dawn Rasmussen, Pathfinder Writing and Career Services, Author, Forget Job Security: Build Your Marketability
Create a “career management file” for 2013. You’ll be putting all of your performance reviews, staff reports, kudos, plan of work, and any other metric associated with your work in here. Also, as you sign up for conferences, workshops, or trainings, you’ll put copies of those registrations in this file as well as an easy way to have everything in one place. When it comes time to update your resume, you won’t have to look far nor will you have to try to recall fuzzy details!
Mark Babbitt, CEO and Founder, You Tern
Job seeking is a competition; you don’t have to be perfect – just better than the next best applicant!
Those who compete often, from athletes to gamers to start-up CEOs, know that striving for perfection only delays action – and the pressure we place on ourselves kills momentum. Instead – through preparation, self-assessment and learning – work to be just a little bit better than the competition. If they’re a ‘7’ (on a 1 to 10 scale) shoot for an ‘8’ – not the impossible to reach ‘10’. This competitive attitude will enable you to excel, while letting your confidence – and the “real” you – shine.
Mike Junge, Irvine Technology Corporation, Author, Purple Squirrel: Stand Out, Land Interviews, and Master the Modern Job Market
One of my strongest suggestions is to actively involve yourself in career oriented networking groups like trade guilds, industry associations, and user groups. It may take some effort to find one that fits your background and interests, but being engaged with a community like this can help you build domain knowledge, make relevant connections, and develop a strong reputation. It’s hard to overestimate how valuable these can be when you’re in a job search or vying for a promotion.
Caroline Ceniza-Levine, Career Expert, SixFigureStart, LLC
There are a number of key things job seekers should do to hit the ground running, here’s the first place to start: Be clear about what you want and how that translates into specific job targets you can research. What you want includes your career goals, desired compensation, and lifestyle requirements. Job targets that are specific and researchable have a clearly-defined industry, function and geography. The best thing to do to get your job search on the right track and the fast track is to have clarity and not just blindly throw yourself into a resume or networking or responding to every lead.
Approach your job search with a digital-first lens. According to a Jobvite social recruiting survey, 92% of US recruiters and HR professionals use social media to recruit candidates. If you’re not embracing a multi-channel job search, you’re missing out. (1) Get a professionally-written resume that’s crafted to support your goals and outsmart the electronic gatekeepers 2) Monitor your professional online brand to make sure it aligns with your resume and supports your goals. (3) Use a smart phone to search on the go. (4) Utilize the four main social media channels – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest – to strengthen your professional brand, research target companies, find employee referrals and uncover hidden job leads. If you incorporate these strategies into your job search, you’re certain to find the right job, faster.
Emilie Mecklenborg, Social Media Coordinator, Kenexa, an IBM Company (Manages Ford Motor Company’s Career Facebook and @FordCareers Twitter accounts)
You, the job seeker, must take full responsibility of your job search and seize opportunities to make things happen. Do not rely on recruiters, family and mentors to do the work and find the job for you. Your job search outcome is determined by how much or how little time and effort you put into job seeking, building a network and following up on leads. In this job market it is all about being top-of-mind and leveraging your career experience and personal brand; what you do to set yourself apart will define how successful your job search will be.
Since setting goals is essential to accomplishing anything, I wanted to share this bonus tip from Michael Junge. I think his comments are spot on.
Take the time to set at least one specific career goal for yourself. This is distinct from making a New Year’s Resolution. Resolutions are usually about avoiding bad habits – for me, eating too much junk food – or starting something new, like an exercise routine. A goal has a clear outcome that you can see yourself working towards, like a new job, promotion, certification, or pay raise. You’ll know you’re on target if the goal makes you feel great and you honestly believe you can achieve. When inspiration and belief line up, you’ve got a great chance at making it happen.