Millions of Americans will be job hunting in 2010, and for many of those who are currently unemployed, the search will mark the continuation of a long and unsuccessful journey. Andy Chan, vice president for career development at Wake Forest University, says job seekers often encounter three major roadblocks to success: poor marketing, poor networking, and poor mind-set. He offers 10 New Year’s Resolutions aimed at overcoming those obstacles.
Roadblock #1 – Poor marketing
“Many people don’t realize that the way they are marketing themselves just isn’t working, and they never get any feedback,” Chan said. “The best way to get feedback is to ask for it from people who do a lot of hiring.”
1.I will ask friends or acquaintances who manage and hire people to evaluate my cover letter and resume and give me real feedback – even if it hurts to hear it.
2.I will ask these same friends to conduct a practice interview with me and give me “tough love” feedback.
3.When I find an attractive job on the Web, I will apply immediately (with a tailored cover letter and resume) and search for friends and colleagues who could act as referrals to help me network into the organization.
Roadblock #2 – Poor networking
“We make the assumption that if we apply on the Web, it will get us in the door. But the truth is, if your experience doesn’t line up perfectly with the job, the likelihood of getting seen is low,” Chan says. “That’s why networking is important. People hire people; they don’t hire paper.”
4.I will be thoughtful about when to send my resume, and I will not send my resume to everyone I know.
5.I will be specific about the type of work and organizations, including names of target organizations that I find most interesting.
6.I will network 80 percent of the time and use the Web 20 percent of the time.
Roadblock #3 – Poor mind-set
“A lot of people are looking at jobs through a narrow lens. But as the old Rolling Stones song says, ‘you can’t always get what you want,’” Chan says. “You may need to focus first on what you need and get the ideal job later.”
7.I will be open to exploring many options because an interesting opportunity may exist beyond what I can see on the surface.
8.I will re-examine what my real financial NEEDS are so that I can be more open to opportunities that may pay me less than what I WANT.
9.I will evaluate opportunities by recognizing that this job can be a stepping stone to another job (inside or outside the company) – especially as the market improves.
10.Although I might want to quit and do a job search full-time, I am more attractive to employers when I am employed (and I have income which buys me more time to find a job that I am excited about).
Adopting these 10 resolutions can help refresh and rejuvenate your job search, and get your new year off to the best start possible.