While making a New Year’s resolution for career change and more success can be the beginning of a new chapter, it’s only just the first step as most resolutions flounder out of the starting gate without any real progress.

It’s no secret that keeping resolutions are normally a challenge, as more than half of all resolutions made fail. But this year, it doesn’t have to be.

What works for one person, might not work for the next. As a job seeker desperate for a change, you need to figure out on your own what is going to work best and not just rely on desire alone.

There are many different things you can do to set the right foundation for your job search. Here are a few that you might want to consider.

Reflect on 2018

No matter how much progress you may have made in 2018’s job search, think about what worked and what didn’t work for you. Could you have been more prepared for an interview? Was there a a typo in an email that you wish you could take back? Did you not send a thank you note within 24-hours after an interview? Whatever it may be, learn from it, grow from it, and move past it. These experiences will make you better in 2019.

Refresh Your Personal Brand and Tell Your Story

Now is the best time to freshen up your LinkedIn profile, resume, bio, cover letter, portfolio and elevator pitch. Ask yourself, “Does this help differentiate me from my peers?” Are you positioning yourself as a leader in your field? Does it accurately portray the value you can bring a potential employer?

Lean into your network of friends, family and former colleagues. Share your personal collateral to get a 2nd, 3rd or even 4th opinion. If you’re too attached to the process, an outside perspective could be invaluable.

Practice Effective SEO

Having a LinkedIn profile is not enough these days, unless you are conscious of the right keywords and where to use them. Practicing effective search engine optimization (SEO) helps you turn the table around, create an inbound marketing strategy, and have recruiters and employers seek you out.

Recruiters use applicant tracking systems (ATS) that processes and sorts resumes to find you, and those ATS ‘robots’ are programmed with the necessary keywords to find candidates.

So how do you know what keywords to use? Look at job descriptions of positions at companies you want to work for. How is it described in job postings? What skills and tools might be required? Use exact words and phrases directly from the description to tailor your resume to a specific job.

Sprinkle keywords throughout, and not just in a skills section. They should be within the context without going overboard. Once you pass the ATS, there will be a person on the other end actually reviewing your information.

Follow Up

A new year gives us a new reason to check back in with someone. Whether it’s a follow up on a job you were in the running for or wanting to stay on someone’s radar. A simple “How were your holidays?” email could help you stand out over other applicants. There is nothing wrong with persistence.

Keep Your Skills Sharp

If you’re in the midst of a longer than expected unemployment gap, you can expect an interviewer to ask what you have been doing since you left your last role. In your answer, you have to show that you’ve focused on being employed and building your skills. A new year is a great time to take a class, volunteer, or try to find a freelance project.

LinkedIn is Your Best Friend

The purpose of LinkedIn has changed so much in the past five years where it’s become more of a door to open. As an executive that has meet hundreds of job candidates over the years, LinkedIn was always my first stop before reaching out to a candidate.

LinkedIn is also a great forum to find and get in front of hiring managers. Building up your network and staying active is necessary to stay on future employers’ radars. Show you are a thought leader in your industry by making relevant posts, comments, and keeping active in groups you are affiliated with.

Consider a Career Coach

There is a tremendous difference between finding a new job and finding a new career. The right career coach is there to empower you to get back to doing the kind of job you want and love to do.

It is important to develop a new strategy and approach if you want to uncover a different result. A coach will show you how to best utilize your time, stand out as a candidate, and give you targeted, personalized advice. What works for one person might not work for the next.

You’ll know if you’re working with the right career coach when they are just as invested in your job search as you are.

Best of luck to you in 2019.

Eric Lemieux, Marketing Executive

Article reposted with permission from author Eric Lemieux.

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Michelle Nash