New Year's resolutions for the job search

The upcoming new year is the time to reflect on the year that was and to plan for the year that will be. I think this is especially true for the job search which I admit certainly can be trying at times so the new year offers the perfect opportunity to inject hope into your search. To that end, I have 7 resolutions for the job search that I intend to use but they could help you as well. Here's to a happy and fruitful job search in 2016.

1. Strive to network more. Sure, we could always do more of this, but the holiday season offers the perfect excuse to dust off the contact list and touch base with those you haven't heard from in a while. This post on networking tips for shy people can be incorporated into the job search by extroverts and introverts alike.

2. Pick a skill and improve it. Do you wish you were a better presenter? How about adding to your computer skill set? Why not take a class to brush up on skills you have targeted? Check out your local community college or park district for class schedules. January is a great time to act upon this resolution since many classes start during this time since it is a new semester for most schools. Webinars are also a great way to accomplish this goal; just be sure to set aside the time and treat it like you would an outside class.

3. Revisit your target position and/or target company. The idea here is to think about your dream job or position and make sure what you are searching for is in fact what you want. The same is true with the kind of company you want to work for. Merger and acquisition activity in 2015 was much more intense than in recent years and according to Dealogic, M&A announcements in 2015 hit a record $5 trillion. As a result, there have been major changes at so many companies. The company you originally targeted may now be a very different place.

4. Invest in yourself for success. Put some of your holiday gift cards to work by refreshing your interview attire. New clothes are a great way to reinvigorate the job search. How about designing new business cards?

5. Check your resume not just once but twice. What do I mean by this? The first read-through (and second and third) is to make sure there are no typos or grammatical errors. However, perhaps just as important is checking it twice for content. Over the course of a year quite a bit can change at work. Of course if you earn a promotion or start a new job you instantly update the resume, but it's also a good idea to reflect upon day-to-day work for potential resume updates or tweaks. Maybe your job responsibilities grew or changed or perhaps you did some new volunteer work. You probably have to do a year end review anyway as part of the compensation and bonus cycle so it makes sense to get some extra mileage out of this effort by updating your resume. Also, don't forget to do the same with your LinkedIn profile.

6. Set manageable goals. While the job search can be a full-time job on its own, often it has to be worked in to other demands on our time such as family and work. Why set yourself up for disappointment by making a long to-do list? Also, several aspects of the job search are outside of your control and this is especially true once you start interviewing at companies. As an example, the hiring process at companies also has to be worked in among other competing commitments by those involved in the process so timetables are usually lengthened. Pick one or two items to tackle and feel good about your accomplishments. Success builds on little victories.

7. Start the new year with a smile. I know this is hard because the job search can be fraught with disappointment, especially a prolonged job search. Maybe you made it to the final round just to be turned down or went through first and second round interviews multiple times but never heard back from anyone at the company. Leave those disappointments behind in the old year and look ahead with confidence.

Photo courtesy of stockimages,

Photo courtesy of stockimages,

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