A New Job for the New Year? The Time to Start is Now!
In January, we will see many blog posts, newsstories, and talk shows discussing “new jobs for the new year.” Why wait and get lost in the crowd? Now is the time to get started! The job market varies significantly based on your geographic location, industry, and occupation. However, in general we know this is a challenging job market. That translates to a longer period to secure a new job. Getting out there quickly can give you a jump on the competition.

Identify Your Target Job

Too many candidates take the shotgun approach. They just blast their résumé out there and see what falls down. They have no precise target job. A salary figure is an important aspect of your target job, but that by itself is not a goal. Determine all aspects of your needs as well as what jobs are booming in the market to determine your target.

Skills Check

Let’s say that I want to be forensic scientist. I watch all of the CSI shows and I would be a wonderful forensic scientist. Except for the fact that I have no academic training and lab experience, I could do the job, right? No! That is an exaggerated example, but it proves the point. List the skills, education, and experience required for your target job. Make three columns to the right of the skills list. Label each one as follows: “Have,” “Can Acquire,” and “Not Likely.” Getting my PhD for a job search in the coming six months falls in the category of “Not Likely.” However, if Visio is a required skill, I can build that skills in a matter of weeks. Check your skills against the skills required and build skills to fill the gaps.

Résumé Update

How nicely the first two steps segue into the résumé update step. You know your target, so write your résumé focused on that target. You have just completed a list of your most relevant skills. Let’s go one step further and make a list of your top accomplishments from your recent history. Use the CAR (Challenge-Action-Result) method. In a brief bullet show each CAR accomplishment and include a measured result.

Enhance Your Online Presence

Conduct a Web search using your name as search words. What do you see? For most people, Facebook, Linkedin.com, Twitter, blogs, association websites, and personal webpages appear in the results. Check each of those pages. Is this the image you want to project? If not, get busy and update the pages that you can control so you can portray your desired image. That is your defensive move.

Your offensive move is much stronger. Take time to carefully craft your profile on your social media accounts, including quality photos. Make an effort to fill your blogs, social media pages, and webpages with content that supports your goals. That does not mean you need to post economic commentaries on a daily basis. I suggest that you are thoughtful with every post. Would that post inhibit my career endeavors? Is it neutral to my career goal? Or, does it promote your goal?


The more job searching changes over the years, one things remains a constant - networking. We may network differently in 2012 than we did in 1998. However, the fact remains that most people gain access to new jobs and new opportunities via networking. Utilize all forms of networking, including social media sites, professional association gatherings, online professional forums, personal contacts, and alumni groups. If you are still not convinced of the power of networking, check out these links.