12 New Year’s Resolutions for Job Seekers

1. Update Your Resume

If it’s been a while since a resume was refreshed, set aside some time to revise it in January. Chances are, job seekers have new skills and experiences to add that may be missing from their current resumes. Once updates are included, ask a trusted friend or a career coach to review the resume for holes, unnecessary lingo, and areas for improvement. Most importantly, don’t forget to customize the resume to align with each job.

2. Clean Up Social Media

It’s easy to post something to social media and think nothing more about it. But when job searching or trying for a promotion, it’s extremely important to keep social media pages clean. Social media can be a powerful job search tool, so it really pays to make sure all profiles are up to date and professional. Plus, recruiters and hiring managers are looking at social media, meaning an applicant’s misstep on social media could cost them the job.

3. Solidify Your Professional Brand

To stand out from others and make an impression, job seekers need a solid and consistent personal brand. Workers can start by evaluating their professional goals and aspirations, then building an online presence that shows who they are as a professional and why others should want to employ them. This is a good time to create an elevator pitch that can further solidify a candidate’s brand and expertise. If there are past work samples to showcase, a personal website can also give recruiters insight into a worker’s skills and experience.

4. Find a Mentor

A good career mentor is a person who is a few years in a given field and is willing and able to meet on a regular basis to provide guidance on how to handle job search and career-related questions. Ideally, a mentor is someone to count on and be objective in a way that close friends and family cannot be. 

5. Grow Your Network

A solid and well-nurtured network is the foundation for continued job search success. It’s also important to continually grow your network to increase job prospects. As a job seeker, explore the different areas to meet and network with new people. Consider attending in-person or virtual career fairs, joining a professional organization, and reaching out to others via social media.

6. Spruce Up Key Skills

Professional development can enhance resumes and show potential employers that a candidate has a growth mindset and is willing to continually grow their skills. Search through job descriptions to see what employers in a given field are looking for, and determine if your education and skills are a match. If not, take an online class to stay ahead of the curve and be more hirable in your intended field.

7. Organize Your Home Office

A clean and organized workspace can help job seekers think more clearly as they apply for jobs. Make sure office areas are neat, tidy, and free of any clutter. It’s a good idea to clear out the digital clutter as well and delete unimportant files and programs to help your computer run more efficiently. 

8. Clearly Define What You Want

Once a job seeker has their application materials and home office in order, it’s time to really define what they want in a job so they can embark on a targeted, effective job search. Start by identifying the targeted fields and career categories and exploring what type of schedule and flexibility is needed in a job. Do you want to work remotely some or all of the time? Are you looking for a fully flexible schedule, or are you okay with set hours? Would you prefer an employee or freelance position? Beginning a job search with answers to these questions in mind can set workers on the right path from the get-go.

9. Target Specific Companies

It’s important to target companies that will be a good cultural fit. Using LinkedIn can be a valuable way to seek out compatible companies. Find a company you admire and would like to work for on LinkedIn, then look for the “Similar pages” section on the right side of the page to find related companies. This could help uncover businesses in a given industry that could be a good fit. Then, create a list of companies and check their job postings often, reaching out to any you’re particularly aligned with and “cold emailing” them about employment opportunities. 

10. Follow Up with Employers

Some job seekers shy away from following up on a job application. Maybe they don’t want to “bother” the employer, or they assume they’re out of the running. However, checking in is expected, and it could put your resume in front of the hiring manager. After applying for a job, make it a point to follow up with the employer or hiring manager. Reach out after a week or two to ensure that applications were submitted successfully, and see if the employer has any questions. This is also a great opportunity for applicants to reiterate how great a match they’d be for the job and company, from appreciating its culture to feeling that they can be a true asset to the organization.

11. Practice Interviewing Skills

Good friends and networking contacts can be invaluable in helping job seekers hone their interviewing skills. This is especially important when they have a conversation scheduled. But even when beginning a job search, it doesn’t hurt to practice what to say in different situations by participating in a mock interview

12. Prioritize Mental and Physical Health

Job searching can take a toll, and it can be easy to feel down or stressed, leading to poor mental and physical health. Prioritize and focus on your health while job searching in the new year by setting aside time to participate in uplifting activities like getting outdoors––even for a quick walk-–using a meditation app to get in a mindful state, and eating healthy.