As 2015 fast approaches, you may be already thinking about those New Year's resolutions and what you can do to make this your best year yet. Perhaps you will resolve to lose those last 10 pounds, run that marathon or save money to take that vacation you've been dreaming of. For many people, making a bold move to improve their career will be a top priority on their 2015 to-do list.
If finding a new job is one of your missions for the New Year, you may find these five tips helpful in getting your search started off to a successful start!
Define Your Personal Brand
First, what exactly is a personal brand? Meg Guiseppi describes it as "the perception of you held by the external world." Your personal brand is an amalgam of your own strengths, values, and passions that distinguishes you from your peers, and contributes a unique value to your personal and professional life.
You probably already have a brand, but you may not even realize it. We all have unique strengths and attributes that we bring to the table - both professionally and personally. Take some time to figure out which characteristics determine who you are and what sets you apart from the rest of the pack. By presenting yourself as a brand during the job search, both you and prospective employers will be able to more easily determine if you will be the right fit for their organization.
Polish Up Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile
Take some time to review your resume and add any recent responsibilities, achievements, newly acquired skills, certifications, or anything else that emphasizes an ongoing commitment to your professional development.
Your LinkedIn profile might also need a little sprucing up. Make sure your provided information is up-to-date with detailed work experience since a more comprehensive profile gives recruiters a better picture of your experience and how you may fit their hiring needs.
This is also a good opportunity to review your current connections on LinkedIn. Are they up to date? Have you made any new contacts that you haven't connected with through LinkedIn? If not, now is a great time to do that. If any of these connections could be called upon to be a professional reference, make a point to touch bases and let them know you are in the market for a new job.
Take Care of Yourself
Looking for a new job can add a new element of stress into your life, which can take a toll on your overall health and well-being. While looking for a new job can be very consuming, it's important to take care of yourself so you are in tip-top condition during interviews - whether that be on the telephone, a video conference or, in person. Don't neglect yourself and make it a priority to eat healthy, take your vitamins, get regular exercise and, though it may be difficult, do your best to get a good night's sleep.
Also, carve out some time to pursue favorite hobbies or interests as a way to maintain a little perspective and balance in your life. Maybe this involves participating with a volunteer organization or playing a weekly game of soccer with an adult league. No matter what your interests are, it's important to continue nurturing those interests and find enjoyable ways to take breaks from the job search process.
Enhance LinkedIn Visibility with Effective Keywords
LinkedIn is already an incredibly powerful tool for the job hunter, but there are still ways you can enhance your profile and improve it's visibility.
One way is to optimize your headline. Your LinkedIn profile headline is a succinct way to communicate what you can effectively bring to the table. Include relevant keywords so it can be indexed in LinkedIn's search engine and turn up in the results.
Implement keywords in other locations of your profile as well. Your current and past job experience, your summary, your specialties and your skills are all places where you can include keywords and key phrases. Be creative, but focus on making effective use of phrases and keywords versus trying to shoehorn them into places where they may not exactly fit.
Approach Your Job Search with a Strategy
Then there are a variety of things that could definitely aid your job hunt, but likely require a little budgeting of time and money. It might be a good time to invest in a professional headshot for LinkedIn or any other social media profiles you are using to aid your job search. It could also be time to update an out-of-style wardrobe for in-person interviews or networking events.
Now is also the time to scout out worthwhile networking opportunities like conferences and job fairs or joining a professional association to connect with others within your industry's community. This is a great way to meet other people in your industry and for them to get to know you and your personal brand!
Explore opportunities to either learn new skills that could make you a more competitive candidate or brush up on skills you feel may have gotten a little rusty over the years. This could be accomplished as easily as reading industry publications or, if the situation calls for it, enrolling in a course, or degree program
The start of a new year is the perfect time to go after the job you want. By coming up with a strategy, sticking to a plan and keeping a positive attitude, you will no doubt have something to celebrate!