Whether you’re looking to move up the career ladder, enter a new career, or make more money with a new position, there’s no time like the new year to make some job search resolutions. While the economy is improving, the market for jobs continues to be competitive. However, by making a few resolutions — and sticking to them — you can find the career you want and deserve.
Figure Out Your Job Worth
You have a market value, which is a combination of your experience, skills, accomplishments, talent and future potential. Start figuring out your job worth by determining the average salary for your coveted job title with the help of websites like salary.com and payscale.com. By looking at this research and outlining your education and skill levels, you can define a salary range to shoot for, so that you’re not aiming low or too high.
Focus on Specialization Rather Than Generalization
Updating your resume is crucial to landing the job you want; chances are, you’ve made a few accomplishments at your current job and gained a few handy skills since you last searched for a job. Spiff up your resume with that information, and be as specific as possible. Employers like specifics on resumes, such as key terms related to your industry, like cost analysis in banking and loans, or search engine optimization for website-related gigs, which show you know the industry. Specifics are incredibly important when describing accomplishments as well. Don’t just say that you’ve increased sales; say that you’ve increased sale figures by three-fold since you were initially hired.
Amp up Your Social Media Cred
Before you start expanding your social media visibility, take a look at all your profiles and imagine how a prospective employer might view you. If your page is packed with images of you drinking, for example, clean out your albums. If your status updates are loaded with complaints about your current workload, start deleting.
Once you’ve accomplished that, build your social media presence. This is important, because employers are increasingly looking for employees who have social media skills; you’ll often see jobs from HR to sales listing social media experience as a job requirement. You can beef up your social media presence by not only posting more, but also by interacting with other industry professionals and increasing your list of followers. Blogging can also help in establishing your authority in a given field.
It might also be worth the cost to create a professional website, depending on your career field. This website can be a home for your blog, as well as a home for your resume. It can increase your online presence and put you higher in the search rankings, something that’s always advantageous should HR Google your name.
Update Your LinkedIn Profile
One of the most important social media sites in terms of job hunting is LinkedIn. Use a great professional headshot, and update your profile to include your skills and accomplishments using specific keywords, just as you did on your resume. This will make it easier for recruiters and companies to find you too.
Also, don’t shy away from asking for recommendations from past colleagues, as employers love to see references. With an updated profile, you can start searching for your ideal job on LinkedIn, because many companies post job openings on the site.
Selectively Send Out Your Resume
Blindly sending out resumes to every job listing you see might seem productive, but it’s often not. Companies want to see why you’d be a great fit for their position, and your resume and cover letter are your first impression. With this in mind, customize each resume and letter you send.
In your resume, focus on skills and accomplishments from past gigs that are applicable to your new job. In the cover letter, focus on benefits that you can bring to a new employer, and why you’d be a good fit for the job (which shows you’ve done your homework about the company).
Job searches can be hard work. However, if you strive to obtain a better, higher-paying job in 2014 by utilizing the above resolutions, being proactive each and every day, and continuing to network, you can succeed.