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New Year's resolutions for the job seeker


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2010 is days away and most of us are forming our New Year's resolutions now. For those who are actively seeking a job, this is a great opportunity to give your job search a fresh look and positive momentum as 2010 begins. Maybe you got down on yourself and down right frustrated with your job search and weren't giving it 100%. Maybe you were throwing yourself a pity party and sleeping in until Noon everyday. Maybe you weren't doing the necessary networking that is proven to be successful in a job search. Maybe the notorious job boards were your only element of your job search. There are many things that can slip from a job search as it carries on, none of which are you to blame for. It can easily get frustrating and  hard to stay positive and focused on a successful job search. Make your New Year's resolutions now and kick off 2010 with a newly redefined focus. Below are five actions you can take to kick off 2010 with a bang:

1)Networking:

Old fashioned networking should be the cornerstone of anyone's job search. It's easier for some than others to aggressively network. But it's vital and typically what will get you back to work the quickests. According to About.com, over 80% of job seekers say that their network has helped with their job search. Sometimes the hardest part is feeling embarrassed or guilty for continuously contacting people in your network for help in your job search. One must be creative and constantly thinking of new ways to grow their network and meet new people as well as rework your existing network. The Wall Street Journal recently published an excellent article providing advice on the art of working and reworking your network. I'll bet you'll be surprised with today's economy, that more people than not will be more than happy to lend a hand and speak with you to help you network to a new job.

Actionable item #1: Make an effort to speak to five people (preferably different people) a day, exchange emails, meet for coffee/lunch, etc. I'm willing to bet this gives your job search a boost of energy.

2)A Job Search is a Job, so Treat it Like One:

Many of you have heard the statement. "A job search is a full time job itself." Ok, so treat it like one. It's very easy to get lazy and slepp in every day, watch TV all day, and become complacent. If you're truly actively seeking a job, you need to stick to a schedule and put in 100% effort to find those hidden gem job opportunities. Most of the jobs posted on the boards (Monster, Careerbuilder, HotJobs, etc) are generic and there are probably thousands of people applying for them. Treat your job search like a job by staying organized, sticking to a schedule, and dressing the part. By the latter I don't mean you have to put on a suit or skirt everyday, but at least shower and get out of your pajamas. I bet you'll find youreself more refreshed and ready to tackle the job search each day. I think Careerbuilder.com's article "Treat Your Job Search Like a Marathon," is an excellent summary of how to treat a job search.

Actionable item #2: Stay organized by tracking your job search using a job search spreadsheet

3)Not Using LinkedIn? What Are You Waiting For?

LinkedIn might be one of the best resources out there for anyone actively seeking a job. LinkedIn is equivalent to a Facebook but on a more professional level. You essentially create a profile which is the same as an online resume. But it goes much further. You can ask for recommendations from people in your network. One of the most powerful uses that I think is under-utilized is the ability to search for insiders at a company that you're interested in working for. Maybe you applied for a job at "Company A." Either you'll happen to know someone who works for "Company A" or someone in your network on LinkedIn is connected to someone who works there. Leverage this connection and ask for an introduction or their contact info. This can help you push your job applicaton along. We all know how much it sucks to sit around and wait to hear back after formally applying for a job blind online. By blind, I mean you don't know anyone on the other side of the job application. Getting to know someone on the inside is so powerful and adds a human element to your application. Besides the whole networking aspect of LinkedIn, it also has its own job board, which hosts its own jobs as well as a robot that scours the web and aggregates all the jobs it finds based on your search query.

Actionable item #3: If you don't yet have a LinkedIn profile, create one ASAP. If you do, try to take full advantage of what it has to offer. Sit down and think about everyone you may know personally, professionally, through college, trade organizations, church, you name it. Connect or "Link up" with everyone you can think of. You never know where a connection might help you out.

4)Stay Active and Social

It's very easy to hibernate and throw yourself a pity party as you continue a job search. While everyone is working and going about their lives, what is one to do during they day. You can't sit at your computer all day looking at job boards and playing with social media. Get out. Meet your working friends for lunch. Do you know other folks who are unemployed. Makes plans to meet them for coffee or go to a movie. Exercise. I think this might be the MOST important. You need to burn off stress and stay focused. What better way than working out. Volunteer. I'm sure the local food bank could use your help. If not that, what other areas are you passionate about and interested helping other people. I personally volunteer at PAWS animal adoption agency. Take classes in areas of your industry you want to learn more.

Actionable item #4: By far the most important, start a regular workout routine. I guarantee you'll feel much better about yourself.

5)Stay POSITIVE!

Staying positive is important for several reasons. One, for your own health and well-being. Just remember there are many others who are facing this terrible predicament called unemployed. You're not alone. Some days it's easy to lose sight of this, but you must strive to stay positive. Check out these 10 quotes for inspiration and motivation. It's also essential that you stay positive because it does carry through in your tone when speaking with people, particularly if you are interviewing with people. It's easy to let your guard down and think you're just fine, but believe me, potential employers can pick up on this.

Actionable item #5: Everyday think of one thing you are blessed with or thankful for (your parents, friends, education, health, etc)

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