Do you make New Year's resolutions? Many do, but I think it's important to make them realistic. Maybe it's just because I love all things career-related, but I happen to think that job search efforts lend themself well to resolutions. So in the spirit of the holidays, my gift to you is three actionable New Year's resolutions to jump start your job search. Print them out, work them into your daily and weekly activity plans, and check back with yourself 6-7 weeks into the New Year to see how you're doing.
1. Tweak, Edit & Revitalize. Read through your resume. Have someone you trust review it with a fresh eye. Should anything be added or removed? Consider a different opening for your cover letter. Add more selling points to your LinkedIn profile. It's easy to create these documents, get comfortable, and not think about them again. If a period of time has passed, take an afternoon to sharpen your documents.They're the cornerstone of your search.
2. The Power of One. I can't take credit for this, but it is very effective when it comes to job searching. Make one more cold call. Send one more follow up email. Mail one more cover letter. Stay at the networking event long enough to make one more connection. Just when you're at the point of calling it a day, push yourself to do one more thing and you'll see results - improved productivity and better odds.
3. Pick 3. No, I'm not suggesting you play the lottery - though if luck is on your side, that might help your job search as well! What I'm recommending is that you identify three target companies to research and network. Use your own network, tap into your college alumni network, and branch out through sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Plaxo. Make a commitment to network your way to the decision maker or conduct informational interviews with relevant professionals. Don't just sit back waiting for a job posting. Get in there and put yourself in front of opportunities. This won't happen overnight, but it's worth the investment of time and energy.