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?