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Top 8 Job Hunting Tips for 2017
2017 has finally arrived!
While hopefully you had a decent 2016, the consensus seems to be that most of us will be happy to turn the page to 2017.
So in the spirit of new beginnings, here’s a list of actionable steps and resources you can use to find a new job or improve your career position in 2017:
- Update your LinkedIn profile
- Download LinkedIn and Glassdoor apps and set up job alerts
- Google yourself and clean up
- Make a new baseline resume
- Keep track of your job research & follow-ups (spreadsheet)
- Create a skills-upgrading plan
- Join a meetup or networking group
- Prepare for your next performance review at your current job
1. Update and Optimize your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is as good a place to start as any. It’s easy to get profile fatigue and avoid updating your social profiles, and LinkedIn tends to be one of the first ones people let fall by the wayside. So, let’s get this one out of the way as the first task on your list.
Your LinkedIn profile will show up when people Google your name, so it’s almost a guarantee anyone considering you for a job is going to come across it. There are lots of sources of tips for optimizing your profile out there (here’s one from Social Media Examiner, one from HubSpot, and one from the horse’s mouth LinkedIn), so here we’ll focus on three other points about LinkedIn.
Take advantage of your free month of LinkedIn Premium
If you haven’t used it yet, take advantage of your free month of LinkedIn premium. This will give you the ability to use the inmail feature to contact certain recruiters or job posters, make you a featured applicant when you apply for jobs, and give you some data on where you stand relative to other applicants. For a full breakdown of the features, you can watch the videos here.
Make a note of the date when your free month is up and decide for yourself if it’s worth it to keep paying.
LinkedIn Open Candidates
LinkedIn offered a new way to signal to recruiters that you are open to receiving recruitment offers: Open Candidates. You can read more about it from LinkedIn here, or see how it works here. The best part is that it’s not broadcasted publicly, so if you have a job currently but are thinking about other pursuits, you shouldn’t need to worry about your boss or HR manager finding out.
Join groups in your field
If you’ve got your prospective job field in mind, search groups in the LinkedIn search and join a few. At the very least, this will give you an idea of the latest discussions in your industry; at best you may be able to connect with peers in your field or even land jobs. Here’s a list of some groups specifically for job hunters; you may want to join a few of these and then focus on others directly related to your field or industry.
2. Download the LinkedIn and Glassdoor Jobs Apps and Set Up Job Alerts
These are two of the best job apps out there and, depending on your industry, you could have new opportunities blowing up your phone on a daily basis. You can download the LinkedIn app here, and download the Glassdoor app here.
Both apps work nicely as standalone apps from their parent companies, and are among the best out there for number of jobs posted daily and variety of industries.
3. Google Yourself and Get Yourself Clean
Run a google search of your name (and image search) and see what info pops up. With luck you’ll like everything you see… but if you come across some things you’d rather keep hidden, the sooner you get to this the better. It’s likely any social profiles you have will come up in the search somewhere, so consider adjusting your privacy settings if this is a problem. Facebook in particular can leak photos and info, so take a few minutes and set your privacy settings to prevent most information from being public.
4. Make Yourself a Shiny New Resume
Out with the old, in with the new. Take some time to rewrite your resume for 2017, starting with a look at the in-demand skills in your industry and how you stack up. Rewrite your skills section and your career objectives to position yourself as someone who is up to date and ready to make an impact.
Don’t forget that unless you’re applying for the exact same position with multiple companies, you’re going to need more than one resume. You can start by creating a baseline resume with all your basic info and experience. This will provide you with a jumping point from which you can create multiple resumes tailored for each specific job you are applying for.
...you are tailoring your resumes, right?
Given the rise of applicant tracking systems, and the overwhelming number of applications HR managers and recruiters have to sift through in the digital age, it has never been more important to tailor your cover letter and resume specifically for each position to which you are applying. Not sure how to tailor a resume effectively? Check out this resume writing guide.
5. Keep Track of Your Job Hunt Research and Follow-Up
Efficient use of your time and energy in the job hunt means knocking out targeted, tailored resumes and cover letters, followed by a deliberate strategy of following up. Horror stories abound of people sending out hundreds or even thousands of resumes and still not getting a job, but the reality is they often fail to either take the time to tailor things appropriately, or they don’t bother following up on any of their applications.
One of the most devastating mistakes that a job seeker can make when applying for jobs is forgetting to follow up on a job application.
6. Create a Skills-Upgrading Plan
Since we’re discussing the new year and actions you can take to improve yourself, why not include a plan to upgrade your skills?
With so many online courses and certifications available, choosing where to start is the biggest challenge; starting is comparatively easier. Here’s a list of free sources for upgrading your skills, and here’s a list of ones you’ll have to pay varying amounts for, depending what you go for.
The important point here is the commitment to learning and upgrading your skills; it’s the only way to stay ahead of your artificial intelligence competitors. Decide on your goal (is it one or two big courses this year? Or one short one every three or four months?) and craft a plan to get it done.
Goal setting can be hard; or rather, it’s easy to set goals poorly that make achieving those goals hard. Check out the SMART goal system to prepare yourself for success from the goal-setting get-go.
7. Join a Meetup or Networking Group
Another great commitment that will serve you well is putting yourself out there more by attending more networking events or simply events you’re interested in.
Meetup.com has many different types of social gatherings and meetups; universities, chambers of commerce, and local government organizations are other great places for finding networking opportunities. If you download the mobile app, it will send you notifications about upcoming meetups from groups you’ve joined and other opportunities.
8. Prepare for Your Next Performance Review at Your Current Job
Start preparing for your next performance review or raise opportunity as soon as possible. If you’re currently working but want to change roles or companies in the new year, this is part of your search for your next job. What it really comes down to is quantifying what you accomplish in the next three to six months.
Most job seekers struggle with quantifying their work output on their resumes for one simple reason: they weren’t keeping track themselves of what they were doing. Be proactive and figure out what duties you do that can be quantified, and start recording them. This could be phone calls answered or made, sales closed, leads acquired, or tables served; the goal is to create a more specific picture for a hiring manager of what it is you are capable of.
Make 2017 a Career Year for You
Take advantage of the energy and the fresh start that comes in January, and hit the ground running with the steps above. Just a few hours a week and you can complete most of the items above and set yourself up for success. 2017 can be a career year for you - go out there and grab it!
About the Author
Lauren McAdams is a career consultant at ResumeCompanion.com, home of 40+ professional resume templates. She’s been quoted by sites like Forbes, TechRepublic, and Careerbuilder.com. When she’s not busy helping job seekers, she’s sipping on coffee or a glass of wine - depending on the time of day of course.