Tired of toiling away in a job that no longer excites you?
Perhaps it’s time for a change. If you’re resolved to make 2021 the year you land a job that brings you joy and advances your career at the same time, you’d do well to make sure you’re as visible and appealing as possible to prospective recruiters, employers, and colleagues.
Each of these nine steps brings you closer to that goal and increases your chances of finding a fulfilling job this year. Here’s how to get started.
Make Sure Your Resume Is Up to Date
A successful job search begins with a strong resume. So, before applying to a single open position, make sure yours is up to date and relevant to recruiters and potential employers; want to consider a resume builder if you haven’t kept your resume up to date. Remove older positions not relevant to your present career or seniority level and add recent roles or credentials likely to strengthen your candidacy.
Take Stock of Your Personal Brand
Prospective employers have a wealth of information about job candidates at their fingertips, all just a Google search away. Unfortunately, they often use this information to make up-or-down decisions about candidates before contacting them. This means your personal brand — the type, quality, and characteristics of the publicly visible online information about you — is just as important to your job search as your resume itself.
Post Original Content on LinkedIn
One effective way to improve your online brand while establishing your chops as a serious thought leader in your field is to expand and deepen your LinkedIn presence. Using LinkedIn as an outlet for your professional thought — basically, a business blog — is a must for candidates aspiring to move up the corporate ladder.
Reach Out to Influencers in Your Industry (And Peers With Influencers’ Ears Too)
LinkedIn is also a vital professional networking tool, of course. Complement the content you create on LinkedIn with a concerted push to connect with and create value for influential people in your industry, including potential future employers and colleagues. Personalize connection requests and use your thought leadership content as a “hook” to catch their attention.
Set Your Sights on the Right Roles
Don’t set your sights too high or too low. The former could lengthen your job search and eventually force you to readjust your sights lower. The latter could permanently hamstring your career, setting you on track for a lower-ranking “terminal” role (the last full-time position you hold before retirement).
Draft Customized Cover Letters for Each Type of Job You Plan to Seek
Take the time to draft customized cover letters for each position or type of role you plan to seek. This doesn’t mean you need to draft an entirely new cover letter with every application, although you will need to change names and job-specific references so that the letter makes sense. But you do need different letters for different roles: SVP of finance versus controller, and so on.
Follow Up With Recruiters, Even If You’re Not Interested in the Roles They Offer Right Now
Never pass up the opportunity to network with job recruiters. This is equally important, if not more so, when you’re not interested in the specific roles they offer at the moment. You want to be top of mind when more appealing opportunities present themselves.
Review the Questions You’re Likely to Be Asked in the Interview (And Less Common Questions Too)
A strong interview makes all the difference. Find out from current or former employees what questions you’re certain to be asked in the interview and have an idea of less common “curve balls” you might get as well. And do a practice interview or two with a trusted partner, like a spouse or parent.
Brush Up on Practical Skills Companies Expect You to Demonstrate
Many hiring processes involve practical skills assessments. These are often more important than interviews, since they pertain directly to the roles being filled. Understanding what these assessments entail and how to perform well on them is absolutely crucial. It’s worth taking a refresher course or practice assessment if you’re able.
2021 Is Your Year. Don’t Let It Go to Waste.
A new year always dawns full of promise. Whether that promise holds through the 12 months that follow depends largely on how we choose to spend those months. When we keep the focus on our goals and work methodically toward achieving them, we’re much more likely to look back on the year that was with satisfaction.
If you’ve made it your goal to find a new job in 2021, focus and action are especially important. You’ll need to make sure your personal brand is in great shape, your resume and cover letters are relevant and up to date, and you’re well-prepared for the interview.
And more, of course. Finding a job is no small feat. But with the right attitude and proper preparation, you can get it done.