How to Be a Better Job Seeker than You Were Last Year

Now that we’re into January, the timing is ripe for looking back on the career moves you made last year, and how far they’ve taken you. If you struggled with your job search in 2013, regardless of your industry from  nonprofit to healthcare, you can use the inauguration of 2014 to wipe the slate clean of all your career baggage, and start your quest to find a job anew.

In order to rejuvenate your search, you may want to take the time to consider where you have fallen short, and address any areas needing improvement when it comes to your application materials, demeanor, interviewing skills, and networking abilities. If you’re up to the challenge, take charge of your search and get inspired with our tips on how to freshen up your job seeking process.

Make an overview of what you’ve been doing – Why not break your job process down component by component and see where there’s room for improvement? By going through all the dimensions of your process, you may be able to catch slip-ups, sloppy formatting, or areas that need a complete overhaul. In your self-evaluation, take a critical, objective look at your applicant documents and all aspects of your personal presentation when it comes to the later stages.

As you’re doing your audit, you can use context clues to figure out where your weak points are. For example, if you’ve been forwarded to the next round of the hiring process several times, only to never make it past the interviewing stage, you can take that as a sign that your interviewing skills could use some work. If you haven’t been successful in getting an employer to contact you at all, you may benefit from the advice of an advisor at your alma mater’s career services department or a professional career coach.

Fine tune the little details – So, once you’ve realized your job process needs some adjusting, what can you do? There are actually many thoughtful elements you can add to your routine that may make the difference in whether or not you get called back. For example, if you’re working with a health care recruiter,  a courteous thank you note after the interview can make a positive impression on the hiring manager and distinguish you from the competition. Other steps you can take to stand out from the crowd include telling a story of your accomplishments on an interview, as well as emphasizing your skills that may matter just as much or more than your years of experience. If you’re transitioning careers or making a shift in the industry you work in, you may want to develop your strategy for explaining how you’ll be successful in this move.

Re-do your resume – What’s better than giving your resume a face lift? Depending on your background and experience, there may be better ways of formatting your resume than how you currently have it laid out. For example, if you’ve dabbled in contract work, there are ways of highlighting those roles. Also, you may get more out of your resume if you reformat it for easy reading on mobile phones, as many hiring managers are now using their smart phones to view resumes on the go. Or, you may simply want to make your resume more substantial by adding extra touches and details that can make a big impression.

Re-do your cover letter – Your cover letter is your opportunity to introduce yourself and communicate your personal brand to the hiring manager. Treat it as your chance to demonstrate how you’re so much more than your credentials, and to express to them how great of a fit you are for that specific job. Remember, your resume may have hooked them, but your cover letter is what will keep them engaged. If you need to brush up on what you should include in your cover letter, check out our article on how to get a call with your cover letter.

Market yourself – Get exposure! If you’ve tried all the traditional methods of job hunting, you may want to get creative by using social media platforms. If you have an industry-related blog, you may be able to use it as your online portfolio, and if you don’t, now’s also a great time to get one.

Diversify yourself – If you want to make yourself more professionally valuable, you may want to get more training to gain certifications and qualifications that employers will find attractive. Or, if you’re unemployed, you may want to fill your time outside the job hunt with productive activities such as volunteering. This can be a valuable way of meeting others as well; you never know who you’ll meet and what employment opportunities they can present you with!

Find a mentor – Having someone mentor you will not only help you gain some guidance, but can put you on the right career path. There are many qualities you can prioritize when looking for a mentor, which leaves the choice up to you. Whether you want a seasoned professional in your industry, or someone who has a large network, what’s important is to find someone you will be excited to learn from. It may be helpful to look through your alumni network to find a few prospective mentors whose occupations are relevant to your interests, and go from there. Likewise, you may choose to be a mentor, which demonstrates your leadership abilities and your desire to share insight with others, both attractive candidate traits.

There are so many ways to reface the dimensions of your job search, and by making thoughtful and effective choices, you can ring in the New Year with more ambition than ever before, and hopefully, will find a new position soon.