The job market has been improving in Denver and across the nation. In Colorado, the unemployment rate has been declining from a high of 9.3% in February 2011 to 8% in November 2011. This brings promise and an optimistic outlook as we move into 2012. So, how can you be more marketable to employers in the New Year? Here are my five 2012 New Year’s resolutions for job seekers:
1. Focus Your Job Search
Start with writing job types that fit your qualifications. Many candidates partake in what I call the “Shot Gun” method. This means applying to as many positions as possible whether you are qualified or not. The theory is if you send out enough resumes eventually one will hit its target. As you can guess the odds are against you when using this method. The unemployment rate is still unfavorable so employers can be selective. This means that your skills need to match the requirements or it will be extremely unlikely you will get an offer.
2. Add More Tools to Your Toolbox
After you focus your job search you might discover that you don’t have certain skills that you need for the career you want. If a position requires a specific skill that you don’t have, research how to gain that knowledge. There are many inexpensive and free websites that offer skill training certifications. A good place to start is your local workforce center.
3. Get involved in the community
Join a committee or volunteer for a charity. This not only helps you make great connections, but looks fantastic on your resume. Imagine if a candidate pool is narrowed down to you and one other candidate and you are able to comment on your leadership committee involvement? If your competitor doesn’t have something comparable, it may be what puts you over the top.
4. Make New Connections
This is probably the most time consuming resolution but could also be the most important. As the saying goes, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Get involved with groups from Meetup.com, local Chamber of Commerce chapters, or any other networking organization.
For great examples of networking tips: Networking is as useful as ever
5. Jump on the social media train
If you haven’t created a LinkedIn profile, DO IT! Not only is this a great place to network, it is also becoming a primary source for job postings and recruiting. Other social media platforms such as Twitter, Google+, and Facebook are also becoming useful tools. Twitter gives you timely information about new job postings and news. Google+ is still being developed but already has many unique features that could aid your search. Monster.com has released a professional networking application for Facebook called BeKnown.