Five New Year’s resolutions for job seekers

Since many of us take this time to reflect on the year past and the year ahead of us, let’s do so in the context of your job search. We’re not going to guilt you into making promises you can’t keep, so let’s keep our list of resolutions to five manageable items that will help your search in the coming year.

1. Review your marketing materials — your resume and cover letter. Take a truly critical eye to the resume and cover letter you use as your template. Are there improvements that can be made? Have you ever asked a recruiter for feedback on your resume or cover letter? What about a hiring manager who is interviewing you?

2. Take another look at your job search goal. Do you need to broaden your job search? Are there positions that might interest you that you haven’t considered because you’re stuck in a routine of searching for the same positions over and over? For example if you only want to work for a large defense contracting firm because you think that is the best cultural fit for you, what about considering a rapidly growing midsize company? Challenge your beliefs with some honest questions and open your mind to other possibilities.

3. Take stock of the information you have posted online. Have you registered on a variety of job boards or company web sites? When is the last time you updated your information?

4. Touch base with your references. If you haven’t talked to your references in a couple months, you’re overdue. Just as with your networking contacts, you need to be in regular communication with your references to keep them informed of your progress. Remember your references are potential sources of job leads as well.

5. Prepare for all your interviews in 2011. Think of the term interview very broadly. Any discussion you have with a potential employer is an interview, whether it’s chatting with a recruiter at a job fair, a phone conversation with an HR screener, or an in-person interview with a hiring manager. Are you preparing for these opportunities by researching the company and having relevant questions ready?

Can any of these resolutions help your job search in 2011?

Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

Stephen Peteritas

number 2 is so huge… maybe it’s because I’m young but people who really need jobs don’t seem to be open enough to moving, doing something a little different, maybe taking a step down the latter momentarily to be employed. I mean we all need a job don’t we?

Curt Canada

What an informative and wise post for all job seekers! I am preparing to give a Career

workshop within my community later this month and I cannot state how important it is to

prepare for that interview. I look forward to reading your blog …

Thank you!

Kathleen Smith

Stephen – good points! Yes, I am curious as to why some people aren’t willing to expand their parameters to a few new opportunities be it outside their desired location or desired position. Having a “variety” of jobs is not necessarily a bad thing as long as it is in a context. I can say that the breadth of jobs that I have had throughout my career (even those that most would not be proud of – waitressing, retail, admin ) have brought challenges and skills to my overall career that I would not have found anywhere else.

Anne Deeter Gallaher

Very informative post, Kathleen. I’m impressed with young people who ask me for internships or jobs and have done their homework on our firm. They have Googled us and found out who we talk to, what we write about, and “the company we keep.” They have educated themselves. In addition to a well-written, succinct resume, a tipping point is often the soft skills. Does an interviewee have a firm handshake, look you straight in the eye, confident but humble, ask questions in earnest? Not sure how you come across in an interview? Ask a friend or one of your references to Flip video you in an interview setting. Be prepared for questions about the economy and current events. Enthusiasm, earnestness, pleasantness, added to capabilities is what the public and private workplace needs. Thanks for sharing!

Kathleen Smith


Right back at you! Great comments! The community can only improve with contribution and these are great comments. It is interesting that no matter how you look for a job – online or offline (and you should really do both) the basic points are always the same: be direct, be engaging, be respectful, be yourself!

Thanks everyone!


This article was very informative!!! I will make sure I call my references and make sure that we are all on the same page…

Kathleen Smith

I am glad you found it helpful. Also remember that some recruiters are using social media as a “pre” reference checking such as who you are connected with on LinkedIn or here on GovLoop.