When I'm asked how you should go about landing your dream job, one of the most important success principles I like to share is having the right focus. There are so many activities the modern job seeker can fill their days with, but which will prove highly effective and which will simply sap energy? Getting this balance right is critical.
I was therefore delighted when we received the following contribution from Josh Tolan sharing ten suggested job seeker activities for you to focus on in your next job search. The suggested focus areas are ones I would strongly endorse for landing your dream job. Are there any others you would add?
What better time than around the new year to start making your resolutions? Most people resolve to lose weight, reconnect with old friends, or even rediscover an old passion when the clock strikes midnight and ushers in 2013.
But you’re different, because you’re a job seeker. Your resolution for the year 2013 is to go out there and find your dream job.
Finding a dream job doesn’t just happen by magic. (Wouldn’t that be awesome?) Here are some specific resolutions you should be making in order to meet your goal and show up for work at your ideal office in 2013:
Resolution #1: Know Your Goals
Before setting out on a protracted job search, ask yourself what you really want out of your career. It might seem silly, but perhaps you don’t know your own goals and aspirations as well as you think. By spending some time focused on exactly what you want to get out of your job search, you’ll avoid taking the wrong job and getting stuck on a career path which doesn’t fulfill you.
This is also a great chance to think about whether you should stay on your current path or switch industries. Whatever you decide, make sure you’re truly dedicated and passionate about your goal and you’ll be one step closer to achieving it.
Resolution #2: Never stop networking
Networking is a great way to discover hidden job opportunities and to set yourself apart from the pack. It’s important to resolve to make 2013 the year you really focus on building up your circle. Network in person and through social media and make sure to remember to follow-up with your contacts in order to keep them fresh. This way, when a great opportunity opens up, you’re smiling face is the first they imagine.
Resolution #3: Work on your elevator pitch
If you’re going to be networking up a storm in 2013, it’s important you have your elevator pitch down cold. Your elevator pitch is the concise way you introduce yourself to new contacts. Make sure you have all the vital information about yourself, but don’t ramble on. You want to make an impression quickly so the conversation can move on from the introductions. This will also be helpful in the interview process, whether it’s in person or through online video, when the interviewer asks you to tell them a little bit about yourself.
Resolution #4: Get Visual
Visual media is everywhere you look now, from your college friends posting Facebook pictures to your grandma merrily pinning away on Pinterest. Everyone is obsessed with visual media, and the job search isn’t much different. If you can find a way to make an impression visually, you’ll be more likely to grab the attention of hiring managers.
Look into infographic resumes, make sure your social media profiles sport professional pictures, and record a video resume to show off your communication skills. Remember a picture (or video!) can tell a thousand words, so make sure your images are saying the right things.
Resolution #5: Have a Social Media Plan
Social media is an ever-increasing part of daily life. From keeping in contact with friends to networking with potential contacts, social media is an important tool to stay in touch. Make sure you’re not just using social media on a whim when it comes to your job hunt.
Take some time to make a workable social media job search plan. This could include groups you should join, discussions you should add to, or Twitter chats you should monitor. Don’t think social media is a magic bullet that will land you a job with no effort.
Resolution #6: Brand Yourself
It’s important to establish a personal brand for yourself as a candidate in order to quickly and efficiently tell employers what you’re all about. Consider it your elevator pitch for when you don’t have the opportunity to speak to a potential contact in person.
You might want to consider a personal website, video resume, or an online work portfolio where you show off your skills. At the least you should make sure your personal brand is consistent across all your social media profiles and anywhere else you can be found on the Internet.
Resolution #7: Focus on Time Management
You don’t have time to apply to every job opening, which is good because not every job is right for you. Instead, focus on managing your time by only applying for the jobs you’d really and truly love to have. Make sure both the position itself and the company culture are a good fit.
Resolution #8: Volunteer Your Time
Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community. It’s also a great way to show employers how dedicated and hardworking you are. If you have a gap on your resume, volunteering is a great way to fill it. And if you find a volunteer opportunity in which you can use your industry-related skills, this shows employers you’re passionate even during your off hours.
Resolution #9: Keep Learning
Never stop learning and adding to your knowledge base. Know what skills and qualifications are necessary in your field and got out there and brush up those skills. Take a certification course or even spend some time with someone in a different department to find out how other aspects of the company work. Make sure you never stay stagnant in your career and who knows what doors you might be opening for yourself in the future.
Resolution #10: Give Yourself a Break
Job hunting is tough, make no mistake. If you spend 100 percent of your time hunting for a job, you will burn out. Don’t forget to relax and take a break occasionally. Make time for the things which are important to you, so you can return to the search refreshed and ready to snag your dream job!
What are your 2013 job search resolutions? Share in the comments!
Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video powered hiring network that connects job seekers and employers through video resumes and online interviews. Connect with him and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.
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