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If your New Year’s resolutions include finding a new job, you’ve picked a good time to jump into the market. Here in Jacksonville, unemployment is at its lowest since 2004, and employers are starting to feel the pinch. It’s turning into a seller’s market, and you’re likely to succeed at finding a new position. Here are some ways to make your job search more successful.
Make a list of accomplishments and prepare to discuss them. Your resume should include accomplishment statements under your past and current positions. Creating a list of your career accomplishments is an important step not just for resume writing, but also for networking and interviewing. Your list is a living document that should contain information you can use in interview preparation or crafting a cover letter or pain letter.
Here’s what you need to include in your list.
- When did this project happen and what was the context? (you’d be amazed how fuzzy dates become after a few years.) What problem were you trying to solve? What were the constraints you faced?
- Budget and plan details. Bonus points if you have any documentation from the project (without compromising your employer or sharing confidential or proprietary information, of course.)
- Roles and team members
- Challenges overcome and lessons learned – what you expected that didn’t happen, and what happened that was unexpected.
- Outcomes – successes and benefits: money saved, problems solved, other things that changed for the better.
Craft a story that brings together the best and most important of these elements and practice telling it as preparation for an interview. Think about the story from different angles in response to typical interview questions: tell me about a time when you had to overcome obstacles, lead a team, deal with conflict, deal with a failure, etc.
Network strategically. Expand your network online and in real life with quality connections. Look for successful people in your target industry or company and reach out for advice. Here’s a script that works both for LinkedIn connections and in-person meetings.
“In 2018, I’m beginning a search for a new position as X. I’m making new connections and re-connecting with former colleagues to learn what’s new in the industry since I last looked at the job market in 2010. I’d love to buy you a cup of coffee or schedule a brief phone call to get your insight on where my skills might be a good fit and get your take on companies and roles I’m thinking of targeting.”
The challenge with online connections is converting them to actual real life connections. Look through your network and think about who you might be able to help. Offer advice, a helpful article about their profession or industry, or offer to make a connection to a new client or vendor. When you view networking as an opportunity to give instead of receive, you’ll find it to be a pleasurable and energizing experience.
Practice gratitude. Make a list of all the people who have been helpful to you in the past year and reach out to thank them. Email is just fine, but you get bonus points for sitting down and writing a note. Be specific about what they did and how it helped you. Express warm and sincere gratitude and offer your support and assistance if they need anything in the coming year.
I’m a firm believer that you can create good karma in your career by practicing gratitude and helpfulness. Best wishes for a successful and prosperous 2018.