POSTED ON

22 Dec 2017

Happy New Year!

So, with that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Have you made it your New Year’s Resolution to land a new job? You’re not alone; research has shown that about half of all adults make New Year’s resolutions. However, fewer than 10% manage to keep them for more than a few months. What more if your resolution is goal-oriented, like getting a new job.

This isn’t supposed to discourage you, however. Like any worthwhile challenge, you need to map out your landscape before proceeding with your attack strategy. So:

DAY 1 - 3: BE REALISTIC

The main reason that people don’t stick to their resolutions is that they suffer from False Hope Syndrome, which is characterised by a person’s unrealistic expectations about the likely speed, ease, amount, and consequences that accompany a change in behaviour or routine.

As the American Psychological Association says, it is important to remember that the New Year isn’t meant to serve as a catalyst for sweeping character changes. It is a time for people to reflect on their past year’s behaviour and promise to make positive lifestyle changes.

“Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year, instead of a singular overwhelming goal on 1 January, can help you reach whatever it is you strive for,” says psychologist Lynn Bufka, PhD.

“Remember, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognising that lifestyle change is important and working toward it one step at a time.”

By making your resolutions realistic, there is a higher chance that you will achieve them, as well as incorporate healthy behaviour into your everyday life. You aren’t going to land a new job in an industry you have no experience in with the same old CVs and methods you’ve been using in your current industry. But if you take a few days to sit down and be realistic about what is in store for you with such a momentous change, you’ll be able to see better what needs to be done.

DAY 4 - 8: FORM IMPLEMENTATION INTENTIONS

Now that you know what needs to get done, let’s see about following through.

Multiple studies show people are much more likely to follow through on an intention to do something - say, conduct a more structured job search - if they form the intention to do it when they encounter a cue.

Rather than just intending to search for jobs online, you might form the intention to set off on your search when an alarm goes off. Forming an implementation intention automates the preparation for the behaviour when the cue is encountered, and that makes following through more likely.

This seems to work rather well for most people. In a study on weight loss and implementation intention prompts for example, researchers found that women who formed food specific implementations lost twice as much weight as a control group.

Take a few days to automate your job search process, and see what turns up in your inbox further on down the line.

DAY 9 - 16: BEEFING UP YOUR RESUME

In today’s competitive job market, it is essential to have an up-to-date resume to increase your chances of getting an interview. One of the most useful tools at your disposal is your CV. Give it a quick once-over and ask yourself, “Is this still current?” More often than not, the answer is a resounding “Eep. No.”

Here are a few steps you can take towards updating your resume:

Include Resume Keywords

Think about the requirements of the job you have in mind. Think about your skills, your credentials, your previous employers, etc. Think about making those two criteria meet.

Most companies use recruiting management software or apps to screen candidates for job openings so including keywords is a great way to help you make it through the first round of screening.

Keep it Current I

Including more than the last decade of experience on your resume serves only to clutter the information. Go through what you have, and remove any information that is from more than ten to fifteen years ago.

Also, you do not need to advertise your age on your resume; do not feel compelled to include the years you attended school if it was more than a few years ago.

Keep it Current II

Add new information that is relevant to your professional experience: a new job, promotion, more responsibility at work, new education achievements, new skills, conferences attended, certificate programs, etc. Be thorough, especially if you feel that your resume is a bit thin.

Spin your objective

If you have a resume objective (or even if you do not), consider scrapping it and putting in a resume profile. This may include a brief summary of your skills, experiences, and achievements as they relate to the job for which you are applying. It is a fantastic way to show an employer what you can do for the company, instead of what you are expecting to get out of being hired.

List your achievements

When you view your responsibilities as achievements, you stand a better chance of being proud of the work you do. For example, rather than saying you were “responsible for cleaning up the office every night”, you can say you “substantially improved the working environment, and increased company productivity by implementing systematised programs for improved workflow and cleanliness”.

SPELL CHECK

This step cannot be emphasised enough. Be sure to read through your CV for any spelling or grammatical errors, and be sure your formatting is consistent all throughout the document. Recruiters are taking time out to view your resume, make it feel like this isn’t one-sided. Put time and care into what you send out because you put time and care into yourself.

Align your communication

If you have uploaded your old CV to any sites or job boards, be sure to replace it with your updated resume. It is especially important that you update the background section of your LinkedIn profile to match your new resume, as prospective employers are wary of discrepancies between your submitted CVs and your online profiles.

Keep it Current III

It is much easier to continually update your resume with a new job, a new milestone, a continuing education course, etc. than to overhaul your professional tableau every few years. As soon as something happens to you in a professional sense, put it on your CV (if you think it is worth putting out there). Play up your strengths, and sell yourself the way you want to be bought.

DAY 17- 30: INVEST IN YOURSELF

If you intend on being recognised for the good you can offer a company, be sure to remember that your weaknesses, and not your strength, are the measure of your contribution to a team.

Look at the skills you need to be considered a prime candidate for a job in digital marketing. You cannot realistically acquire all these skills and the necessary experience while searching for the job that requires it. However, selecting one single credential you are lacking, and making an effort to develop it, makes a world of difference.

Once you enroll in an online course, or read up on the topic, or audit some classes at a nearby university, you can then ostensibly add that skill to your resume. This is also very helpful in interviews; if your lack of proficiency in Excel spreadsheets is a concern, you can allay doubts by explaining you are currently taking a course to develop that ability. Or, that you will do so and let it not affect your work if in case you are hired.

Show prospective employers that you are willing to take the initiative to learn new skills, to undertake big tasks on your time -- and perhaps your proactivity will inspire them to get to know you better.

To sum up, it just takes a little lifehacking and a little self-care to get you closer to that job that you’re eyeing. Take an active interest in what goes into your resume, into your professional life, so that the people you approach know precisely what they can get out of hiring you.

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