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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A New Year, a New Job Search

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Nothing is more frustrating than getting bogged down in a job hunt. It can often seem like you can't make progress no matter what you do. But a new year can offer you the symbolism of a fresh start. Change the way you search for jobs instead of just adding to the pile of resumes and cover letters in your sent folder. Use the three tips below as inspiration to update your job search and get one step closer to your dream career.


We've all heard that it's not what you know, it's who you know, and there are times when a job goes to an inside hire, a friend or a referral. To give yourself an edge, take advantage of the personal connections you have. Don't wait for an opportunity to present itself. Instead, send an honest, straightforward letter or email letting someone know that you're looking for work and would be interested in their business or field. Even if they don't have an opening, it's possible that one of their contacts does. Don't be afraid to sell yourself, but keep your tone professional and considerate. Attach an updated resume and a brief update of your latest projects. Reach out to former coworkers or classmates or approach people in your community.

Pursue further education

If you're not getting results from your current game plan, it may be time to change the game. Depending on your field, an advanced degree might put you ahead of other candidates. Check job postings to see how often a certain level of education is specifically requested, or even required. Besides the competitive advantage, a masters degree can keep you up to date on new trends and introduce you to potential colleagues and networking connections. Alternatively, if you're changing careers, a second degree or even a certificate pertaining to your new field can show that you are serious and educated about the job.

Vamp up your resume

You're probably overlooking a major step that could improve your job hunt results in a single day. Just because your work history hasn't changed doesn't mean your resume doesn't need to be rebuilt. Many resume writers and editing boutiques will evaluate your resume for format, spelling and grammatical consistency. Once you're sure there are no errors, incorporate keywords from job descriptions and find a style that reflects your experience. If you're worried about being outdone by fresher candidates, remove the dates of your graduation and tell-tale signs like touting proficiency in email, a skill that should by now be standard. Whether it's a major life change or a small step in a new direction, making adjustments to your professional life can help your job hunt in the new year. Don't hesitate to expand your horizons. With your improved resume and skill set, you may be able to apply for jobs at different levels. If your personal life allows, simply broadening your geographic reach can make dozens of new opportunities available. In a different area, your education and experience may stand out more, putting you ahead of the game.

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