Tuesday, December 29, 2009

10 Job Search Tips for 2010

The New Year -- sure, it's a time to rejoice, be merry and have some fun, but to some folks it is a time to reflect on their lives, and yes (a big sigh here) that means making the ever popular New Year's resolutions. The most common resolutions are losing weight, paying off debt, saving money and getting a better job. Try looking beyond the recession and the "doom and gloom" of 2009, and make 2010 a bright new year by kicking your job search into high gear.

"No matter the market conditions, there are always companies looking to hire talented professionals, and those people who are prepared will be best positioned to take advantage of new career opportunities as they are uncovered," says David Sanford, executive vice president of business development at Winter, Wyman. Sanford says that people should always be looking for a new job (hey, you never know what's out there unless you're looking) and that the New Year is a great time to go out and make it happen.

If you want to know how to get yourself noticed and find your dream job during the New Year, follow these 10 tips for 2010.

Be ready to move.
As with all of life's opportunities, you have to be ready to strike when the iron is hot -- and sometimes even when it's heating up. No matter if your plan includes pounding the pavement for a new job or sitting back and waiting for one to come your way, make sure you have all the groundwork in place for a successful job search. Update your résumé, prepare a compelling story to tell about why you would consider a new opportunity and know whom you would use for references. Start becoming mentally and emotionally ready for a change so you are better prepared for when it happens.

Don't ignore the elephant in the room.
In soft economies, many people think it's safer to stay with their current employer than to risk taking a position with a new company -- and often it is. But don't ignore the elephant in the room and hope that everything will be OK. Even in the best of times, companies routinely are merged, acquired, imploded and overtaken, sometimes leaving hundreds and thousands of people looking for new jobs. Be prudent and always be aware of your business's conditions; keep your nose in the wind and your eyes and ears open for when it is the best time to move on to a new job.

Know thyself.
As people age and lives and goals change, so do their career objectives. Spend the time necessary to know what really makes you happy. Is it being an authority at work? Having a schedule flexible enough to see your kids play soccer on a midweek afternoon? Knowing the drug you are researching will someday eradicate a life-threatening disease? Have a heart-to-heart with yourself about what you want from your career and what steps would be necessary to achieve this goal. Have realistic expectations, but know that most career dreams are within our reach.

Maximize online tools while job hunting

It's tough finding a job. There are so many people looking at a limited number of openings. Fortunately, many online resources can help in your search. You'll find links to sites and services mentioned at www.komando.com/news.

Polish your resume

A flawless resume is essential. You won't land an interview with a shoddy one. Check job sites for resume tips. Have friends and family look it over.

Use a template to create a printable resume. Microsoft Word includes templates. Or, check Microsoft's site for more free templates.

Companies filter resumes using specialized software, so list specifics. Include job titles and the names of software programs you're adept at using.

Be sure to use an online tool like SpamCheck. It will check your resume for “spammy” words. While you may be proud that you graduated “magna cum laude,” it could land your resume in the virtual trash. Make certain that your resume gets past e-mail spam filters.

Also, consider taking a personality test. The Myers-Briggs Personality Sorter will highlight your strengths and weaknesses. It can steer you to a new career that suits you.

Some companies block e-mail attachments. So create a text-only version of your resume for e-mailing. Put it in the body of e-mail messages.

Avoid font formatting and special characters like bullets. Also avoid indents and complex spacing. Some sites need a text-only resume to complete applications.
Use specialized job sites

Sites like Monster and Careerbuilder post millions of jobs, but they're not the best sites for experienced job seekers.

Many of the positions are entry-level. You'll face lots of competition. Your resume could get lost in the shuffle.

Instead, use specialized job boards. You'll find fewer positions and less competition. However, competition will be better qualified. Specialized job boards feature more mid- and upper-level positions.

You'll find job boards for any field. For executive jobs, visit TheLadders. Information technology specialists should check Dice. EFinancialCareers lists financial positions, while SalesJobs specializes in sales positions. You'll find other specialized sites using Google.

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