The initial days of 2012 are beginning to shine a long awaited light on these dark economic times. Although massive job growth doesn't appear to be on the horizon any time soon, there are pockets of bright spots. Health care, retail, professional services, and other areas in the marketplace seem poised to open up. Your goal is to take advantage of these opportunities and position yourself to be one of the first to be hired.
In my previous post, "Powerful Resolutions for the Savvy Job-Seeker," I suggested taking some time to assess your activities in 2011, identify your successes and frustrations, and write up a series of action steps based on your findings. I also mentioned three job search resolutions I suggest you adopt in the New Year.
Here are four more ways to maximize your opportunities in 2012:
Revamp your resume. Today's technology has made the art of writing a compelling, attention-grabbing resume even more critical to your success. Moreover, considering the level of competition out there for each and every job, yours needs to be topnotch. So ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my resume easy to scan so that my key selling points catch the eye of the reviewer? Most resume reviewers spend 30-seconds or less determining whether or not your resume is worth their time. Therefore your critical skills and accomplishments need to literally leap out at the reader and draw the reviewer's attention immediately -- a swift glance is all the time your resume will get.
- Am I highlighting the results I've achieved and quantifying them whenever possible? The results you've produced at previous positions are critical to crafting a compelling resume. By stressing your accomplishments, resume reviewers and hiring managers will get a real-world sense of both your capabilities and your work ethic. So focusing on the results you've achieved makes for a persuasive sales tool to get you through the door for an interview.
- Am I customizing my resume for each position to which I apply? No ifs, ands, or buts...customization is key in today's job market! Modern applicant tracking systems only pull up resumes that contain the requisite skills for the position. If yours does not, it will be lost in the black hole of cyberspace -- unseen by human eyes. Therefore submitting boilerplate resumes is a waste of your valuable time.
Use social media aggressively... but with caution! Social media has become all the rage for both job-seekers and employers. The vast majority of recruiters and HR professionals admit to using social media sites as ways of both finding and prescreening candidates.
This means you'll need to update and actively monitor your presence on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. It also means you'll need to proceed with caution. Whatever you choose to share on the Internet stays on the Internet. So present yourself as the consummate, skilled and dedicated professional you are.
Check back often for more information on resumes, networking, interviews and other tips to market yourself effectively so that you can be the one to land your next job in early 2012.
Anticipate success -- Remember to present yourself with confidence, energy and enthusiasm. Your attitude underscores everything you do. Take pride in your skills, your unique personal strengths, and your value as a potential employee. Recognizing all you have to offer is, bar none, the very best resolution of them all!
Mary Eileen Williams is a Nationally Board Certified Career Counselor with a Master's Degree in Career Development and twenty years' experience assisting midlife jobseekers to achieve satisfying careers. Her book, Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers Over 50, is a step-by-step guide packed with tools to turn age into an advantage--providing mature applicants with techniques to successfully navigate the modern job market as well as strategies that give them the edge over the competition. Visit her website at Feisty Side of Fifty.com and celebrate your sassy side!