Happy New Year! It’s the first week of 2014, and everywhere people are shaking off the holidays and getting back to looking for work.
What can you do differently to make 2014 your year? Take a look at our Job Search Resolutions for 2014:
Resolution #1 – Know Your Value
Question: Can you describe what you have to offer an employer? Can you do it in 1 or 2 sentences?
In case you haven’t noticed, the job market is competitive. In addition, more and more positions are based around a specialized set of skills, instead of being generalist or ‘jack-of-all-trades’ jobs. Knowing what you do better than other candidates, and being able to communicate that quickly, is a major advantage in your job search.
Action Step: Take 2-3 things you do on the job better than others, and think about how those abilities will benefit your next employer. Turn those benefits into a short ‘value statement’ to be used as a basis for resumes, cover letters, networking, interviews, etc.
Resolution #2 – Target Your Approach
Question: What are the 3 top positions that are the best fit with your skills and abilities?
Like we’ve said, the job market is competitive. With 100+ people applying for almost every job posted, you may be wasting time applying for jobs that aren’t a strong fit for your existing experience/education.
Spending more time on creating excellent applications for fewer jobs (instead of throwing everything against the wall and hoping something sticks) will build your confidence, make your job search more effective, and will likely get you employed more quickly.
Action Step: Narrow your focus, based on your experience/education/skills, down to 3 positions or less. Customize your resume/cover letter, and focus exclusively on creating great applications for ONLY THOSE POSITIONS for the next 90 days.
Resolution #3 – Reboot Your Skills
Question: Has your old job left you behind, because you’re behind on your skill development?
Because of technology and other factors, jobs today are constantly changing. Even people looking for a job in their regular career field could be at a serious disadvantage if they’re missing a key piece of equipment or software training, or some other skill upgrade needed to remain competitive. If your chosen trade or profession has started to leave you behind, you may need to reboot your skills.
Action Step: Find out if you’re eligible for Skills Development through WorkBC or another program. Different programs are available for different people, so make sure you ask your Employment Services Advisor if you qualify for assistance.
Resolution #4 – Grow Your Network
Question: How many people connected to your industry do you have in your network, right now?
Online job boards have made us lazy. In today’s connected-but-solitary world, the most successful people are still the ones who make regular, one-on-one contact with other industry people.
Whether it’s through networking functions, on LinkedIn, or through volunteering or social events, a lot of times getting a job still comes down to ‘who you know’. The more people you know and speak to in your industry, the more likely you’ll hear about jobs before your competition does.
Action Step: Commit to 2-3 blocks of networking per week. It could be one or more of the activities described above, but make sure you become a regular face at the places where your industry’s influential people hang out.
Resolution #5 – Own Your Interviews
Question: How are you going to become more memorable in interviews?
Of all the stages of job seeking, the one that is most left to chance by job seekers is the interview process. Most people are far too passive about what they’re going to say at an interview, and this is because they believe that they have no control over how the interview is going to go.
It’s simply not true.
While everyone gets nervous at interviews, and there will be some unexpected questions, it’s fairly easy to become a memorable candidate. The key is to know your value (see #1 above), demonstrate how you’re a fit for the company, and tell compelling stories about your successes at work.
Your goal at an interview is to make yourself the most memorable candidate, the one that the hiring team keeps thinking about after the day of interviews is finished.
Action Steps: Read and do the exercises in these blog posts –
- Interview Basics: ‘Tell Me About Yourself’
- Interview Basics: ‘Why Should I Hire You?’
- How to Answer Behavioural Interview Questions Like a Superstar
- How to Follow Up After an Interview
Following and acting on these 5 Job Search Resolutions will make you more effective and more attractive to employers than 95% of your competition. So get started right now!