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 Starting 2017 Off Right In Your Job Search

By Joe Stein

Traditionally, for many, a new year brings some self-reflection and a host of resolutions to change.  Along with the typical declarations, such as quitting smoking and losing weight, comes the commitment (or re-commitment if you have already been on the market) from many to find a new job.  Whether it is for more money, doing something a little bit different, or to get away from your current boss, the months of January and February bring lots of new and recommitted job seekers into the market.

Finding a new job takes more effort, however, than just deciding or announcing that you’re going to do it.  There are a number of actionable items that you can take that will improve your chances of finding a new role. 

Let’s, this week, take a look at what should be on your 2017 Job Search “To Do” List to accomplish early this year.

• Update/Refresh Your Documents – If you have been on the market for a while and now enter the year 2017 still looking, then refreshing your Cover Letter and Resume is most likely in order.  This is especially true if you are having trouble generating interviews for jobs you should be qualified to do.  Review the documents for any errors and to make sure it clearly communicates your accomplishments and why you should be hired.  If you have any doubts, then have some friends or colleagues you trust read them over for feedback.  If you are entering the job market this year, don’t assume your Resume from a few years ago is still good to use.  You may have to do more than just update your current employer details.  For example, for most users, the traditional “Objectives Statement” is being replaced with a “Summary of Qualifications”. 

• Examine Everything Else – This is also a great time to update any online profiles and your professional social media presence.  In addition, check your e-mail address and voice mail message to make sure they are expressing the message you wish to convey.  If they are not professional enough, then change them now before another Recruiter hears it and gets a false impression about you.

• Start the Year with a Fresh Mind – If you are a sports fan, you have probably heard each season (or when a coaching change is made) how everyone is starting fresh.  Well, 2017 can be the same exact way for you and your job search.  If you are someone that has been on the market for a while, then consider 2016 as finished and January 1st started your new search.  This will assist you in remaining positive and staying on-target with your message on how good you will be for the prospective employer.

• Check Your Wardrobe – The professional look of 2017 is much different than ten or twenty years ago.  If you are still wearing your business attire from those eras, the new year may be a good time to do a reboot of your closet (of course, within the restrictions of a budget).  This also goes for items such as your hairstyle and eyeglasses (if applicable).

• Do the Self-Introspection – This time of year is perfect for determining what you really want in your career.  Take some time and reflect back on the jobs you have held.  What did you really enjoy about them?  What do you wish to avoid now with the benefit of hindsight?  Focus job searches tend to be much more successful than the scattershot “apply for everything” approach.  The key, however, is to know what you want to focus on.

• Drop The Bad Habits – If you have developed any bad habits in your job search, then now is the time to drop them.  Check your e-mail and voice mail regularly and respond properly to messages.  Commit time each week to reviewing any new job postings.  Rededicate yourself to sending Thank You messages after the end of each interview (and send the note out immediately).  In essence, run a text book job search.

There is no reason why 2017 can’t be your year to obtain the new job you have been looking to land.  Consider the turn of the calendar this January as a fresh start and an opportunity for you to look at your search with a fresh perspective.  I encourage you to go on www.wnyjobs.com and review the Job Search Matters archives for even more tips than those listed above to further fine tune your approach.

As always, best of luck in your job search.