Give Your Job Search an Extreme Makeover in 2012!

Be honest: How is that New Year's resolution list working for you? Now that it's (already) the end of January, have you followed through, or did the resolutions become a thing of the past? If your new year's resolutions went the way of 2011, create a new one for February and, if you need inspiration, feel free to borrow one (or all) of my Top Six Resolutions for the Motivated Job Seeker in 2012:
  1. I will create a strategy for my job search this year (and stop spinning my wheels). This strategy will include the following four items: a job target (making it easy for others to know exactly what job I want), a specific geographic region (and, no, east coast does not cut it), an industry of choice, and the names of 30-40 companies I plan to target. I promise to write these criteria down on paper and share them with my network, which will make it easier for others to help me.
  2. I will get on LinkedIn today (and study it like it’s my job). I know there are two kinds of job seekers: those who are serious about their job search and those who are not. And, if I’m not on LinkedIn, whether I like it or not, I’m in the latter category. And, since there are tons of resources out there to learn LinkedIn, I will start by Googling “LinkedIn for Job Seeker,” and other related searches, until my profile is 100% complete. Dark ages, move over.
  3. I will not spend more than 10% of my job search time responding to posted openings. Statistics show only 15% of jobs are ever posted, leaving 80% of jobs unadvertised or never posted. With all of my (now) free time, I will network strategically meet people at the right level, in the right companies, at which to hire me, in places like professional associations, alumni networks and via social media.
  4. I will look for information, not openings (because I know people who seek information get a job much faster than those who are looking for jobs). By setting up informal discussions with decision-makers and/ or hiring managers, even if they are not hiring, I will be the “known” candidate when there is an opening. In fact, this is the best time to meet with hiring managers, since they may be hiring soon and, (if I’m doing my job correctly) I’ll get a seat at the table!
  5. I will get support when I’m discouraged, and help when I need it. Sharing concerns with trusted friends who can offer encouragement, and mentors or career experts who can offer specific advice can only help me enhance my self-confidence, pull me out of a rut, and help propel me forward.
  6. I will give before I expect to get. I will promise to look for things I can do each day to help someone out, such as mentoring a student, recommending a colleague or referring a person to a position for which I am not a fit. I will do one thing each day to support the goals of others, because I know generous job seekers land faster (and make more friends in the process).
Here's to a productive and successful job search in 2012! Laura Labovich, founder of Aspire! Empower! is a job search career coach & seasoned HR professional with over 15 years of experience in HR at Fortune 100 companies, including Flagship companies such as Walt Disney World and AOL Time Warner. Under construction image from Shutterstock

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