What comes to mind when I say “New Years?” Resolutions, of course!
For a lot of us, the subject of New Years resolutions is something of a joke. It’s not surprising then that 78% of New Years resolutions fail. Yet, research shows that those most successful in reaching their New Year’s goals make those goals public and get support from their friends… which brings me to job search. You see, contrary to popular belief, the majority of activities related to job search are not solitary ones.
While you may feel very much alone in your job search activities, a successful search requires that you involve lots of other people in your efforts. To that end, and after talking to tons of candidates throughout December about their own job search resolutions, I’ve compiled this brief list of “resolves” to help improve your chances of landing your dream job in 2012:
1. I resolve to review all of my online profiles and clean them up…now!
Recruiters are using social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and of course LinkedIn to source and vet candidates to hiring managers. Will your social profiles bear up to such scrutiny? I can’t tell you how many candidates have said to me that they “don’t use Facebook for business purposes.” Here’s news. If you’re on Facebook, (or any social network), you’re using it for business purposes. You can’t hide.
Google yourself and see what recruiters and hiring managers are seeing.
Complete your LinkedIn profile and be sure your resume is consistent. Professionalize your Facebook profile and know what’s entering your stream. Review your BeKnown, BranchOut, and Google+ profiles, as well as your Blog bio to make sure you are projecting the right (and consistent) personal brand online.
2. I resolve to observe the “60-30-10” rule in my search.
Successful job search is 60% in-person networking, 30% research and online activities and 10% applying to jobs. For many of us, the idea of attending networking events, or even discussing that we’re in job search mode with colleagues, friends and family is tough. However, you need to let people know that you are “looking” and be ready to provide them with your resume, your business card and a solid elevator pitch.
Most of us work the “60-30-10” rule backwards, spending most of our time researching and applying to jobs online.
Start reversing this now by identifying and joining at least 2 appropriate professional groups that meet in person and on a regular basis. You can also network through your church associations, and through volunteer or pro bono work that will highlight your unique skills. Resolve to attend at least 1 networking event per quarter (preferably more). Adapt your elevator pitch to the appropriate tone depending upon the group you’re interacting with.
RESIST the temptation to spend all of your job search time online.
3. I resolve to ditch my ego and realize that leads can come from anywhere – but I have to ask.
A lot of the candidates I talk to are a bit peevish about sharing their career transition with the people that they meet. This is a big mistake. The truth is that you never know where the next lead is coming from, however, if the people you meet have no idea what you do and that you’re “looking,” how can they possibly help you?
Think about it – what’s the first thing people ask you when you meet? “What do you do?” Have your elevator speech prepared AND adopt a way of telling people that you are looking for work and exactly what you are looking for in a new position. In other words, don’t say, “I’m looking for a marketing position.” Rather say, “I’m looking for a product management position in the toy or gaming industry – preferably in a start-up environment.” Be specific. Make it easy for your contacts to be your eyes and ears.
4. I resolve to have a friend or other trusted advisor help me by reviewing my resume and helping me practice my interview skills.
It is nearly impossible to write an exceptional resume or hone your interview skills without help. In fact, I will go so far as to say that if you have not had one or two friends review your resume and make suggestions, your resume is probably not what it could be. Also, if you have not taken the time to rehearse your interview responses, it is going to be very hard for you to compete with the skills of candidates who have.
Find someone you trust and get them to spend some time with your resume. Encourage them to use the “red-pencil.” You don’t have to listen to all their advice, but pay attention to their suggestions. (By the way, CPGjobs Premium members can have their resumes critiqued by us for free).
Practicing interviewing skills by rehearsing answers to the most commonly asked interview questions is a necessity- especially if you haven’t looked for a job in a while. Take the time to write out your answers to interview questions and read your answers out loud. Once you have found a “natural voice,” grab that trusted friend or colleague and practice your answers with them in several interactive sessions until you are comfortable. Being prepared for your interviews in this way will increase your chances of a stellar performance and will reduce nervousness as well.
5. I resolve to be kinder to myself and realize that we all need a little down time from job search.
By now you’re probably saying to yourself, “Man, this is a heck of a lot of work.”– and you’d be right. Job Search in this competitive environment is extremely tough and time consuming. That’s why you need to give yourself a break every once in a while.
Schedule your job search activities in time slots just as you do your meetings at work…but don’t forget to schedule the down time as well. Take an hour lunch break every day, get out and exercise, take a “mental health day” completely off every once in a while.
Feeling burned out and up tight is not going to help your search and can actually hinder your efforts. Resolve to be kind to yourself (without feeling guilty about it).
These are my top 5 job search resolutions for candidates in 2012. What about you? What have your resolved to do differently in your job search this year? I’d love to know!
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