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A new year brings a fresh start. And if landing a new gig tops your list of resolutions for 2023, now’s the time to put that goal in motion.
The job market is exceptionally strong right now, with more open positions than candidates available to fill them and unemployment at the lowest it’s been in decades. Still, with the threat of recession on the horizon, job openings are expected to decline in the coming months, allowing hiring managers to be pickier about who they bring on board.
Here’s how to get ahead of the pack.
Be strategic about your career goals
Before you start your search, take a moment to reflect on what exactly you’re looking for in your next role.
Career development coach Alicia Perkins recommends making a list of priorities, like having flexible hours, a culture that promotes work-life balance or the freedom to create something from the ground up. Next, write down what you've liked and disliked about past jobs, your relationships with managers and how your current role supports the life you want (or how it doesn’t).
Lastly, take stock of your skills, and jot out some notes about how you’ll use them to drive value at a new organization.
“2023 is the time to be clear on your skillset and how it fits into the job market,” Perkins says.
Rethink your resume
Resumes aren’t a one-and-done thing — they need to be constantly revamped and tailored to the specific job you’re applying for. List only what’s relevant to the open role, and if possible, quantify your experience with data (like percentages or dollar amounts) that shows exactly how you’ve contributed to the bottom line of the companies you’ve worked for.
Include these successes on your LinkedIn page, too, Perkins adds. And make sure to add some keywords related to the jobs you’re eyeing, which will help your profile stand out to recruiters who come across it, she says.
Build your online brand
Now more than ever, employers want candidates with a strong personal brand, Perkins says. So get comfortable bragging about your career successes — especially on social media.
You don’t need to reach “influencer” status with millions of followers, but increasing your visibility on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter is a worthwhile endeavor. Test the waters by sharing content you’ve created, goals you’ve hit and trending topics related to your industry.
At the end of the day, Perkins says, “The person that has the most exposure is going to get the most opportunity.”
Start networking (the right way)
Building relationships with other people who work in your industry is one of the best things you can do for your career.
Katie Birkelo, a senior vice president for business professionals at the human resources consulting firm Randstad, advises job seekers to make networking an ongoing exercise, and not a last-ditch effort when you’re ready to jump ship. Getting involved with professional organizations and nonprofits that align with your values is an easy way to do that.
Perkins, for her part, says it’s crucial to center your networking philosophy — and your conversations with new connections — on learning.
“It’s having the mindset to not just receive from them; you’re finding ways to also give value,” she says.
Be intentional with your time
Whether you come across an open position on a job site or thanks to a hat tip from someone in your network, only apply for roles that are in sync with your values. (Good thing you wrote down a list of priorities, right?)
Don’t rush the process. Hunting for a job when you’re already gainfully employed gives you the flexibility to only go after the opportunities you truly want, Birkelo says. If you’re struggling in this department, think about enlisting the help of a career coach or recruiter to bounce ideas off of.
“A good job search can feel like a marathon,” Birkelo says. “So motivational quotes, a pep-talk person, a hype man—those things go a long way.”
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