According to a recent poll, 83% of Americans resolved to find a new job in 2014. But do they have the tools they need to succeed? With Forbes estimating that only 8% of resolutions are ever kept, chances are that many will fail to tackle the task at hand. There’s a reason people hold on to the adage that, “Looking for a job is a job in itself.” If you’re up for that job — and the five key resolutions involved in seeing it through — keep reading:
Resolution 1: Know thyself — Articulate why you are looking for new work
In the 83% statistic, Right Management was able to tell us what the majority of respondents wanted, but they weren’t able to explain why. Interestingly, many job candidates never bother asking themselves that very question. Are you looking to switch into a new department in your current company? Feeling at odds with your employer’s values and looking for a better fit elsewhere? Or perhaps you’ve fallen out of love with your profession entirely and are looking to embark on a new career? Answering those questions is a crucial first step, but the soul-searching cannot stop there: What do you want out of work? What kind of culture do you flourish in? What would you do if you could take Warren Buffet’s advice and follow your passion? If you can clearly identify what kind of job or work environment you’re after, you’re halfway to finding the job you’re after.
Resolution 2: Do your homework — Research your desired companies and roles
The next step is to translate your desires into real roles at real companies. This will require time and research, but remember that the payoff is finding the right match for you. Though you likely have some idea of the caliber of company and type of role you’re interested in it’s time to learn more.
Read up on your dream companies and go beyond their mission statement. What does the press say about them? What are current employees saying? How does that compare with what the company is saying about itself? If you’re looking for a new role, read LinkedIn or job site profiles of people who hold that position. What experience do they have that you don’t? Are there new skills you need to master before applying? Are there opportunities to connect with people in your desired field?
Resolution 3: Branch out — Network into the know
Everyone knows that networking is a necessary step in finding work. But not everyone knows that the endgame of networking is not necessarily the job itself. Yes, speaking to people who work at your dream company can provide you relevant contacts and a possible reference, but the more valuable outcome is a first hand account of how the company is actually run.
While your research has painted one picture of the company, a current employee can show you what it’s really like and either corroborate what you know or indicate that your efforts are better spent elsewhere. And though not every coffee comes with a guaranteed referral, it is always a great opportunity to find out what qualities are most important to the company culture – and which to highlight among your own skills.
Resolution 4: Revise, review, repeat — Tailor your resume to fit the role
Armed with a clear idea of what you want and the information necessary to get it, this step is perhaps the most crucial – and the most commonly skipped. Though you have at this point established a contact at your dream company, the chances that they have the sole authority to hire you are slim to none. Your resume is thus your most important tool, and a generic list of past employers is not going to cut it.
Are there specific traits your contact mentioned as desirable? Skills similar roles require? Values espoused in company literature? If you have those things, say so! (If you don’t, don’t lie). Most hiring managers will see your resume before speaking to you in person, so it is effectively your one chance to show that you have what it takes to do the job. Notice we said the job, not a job. Tailor it to fit. Then, if you’re applying for another job, tailor it again.
Resolution 5: Think outside the box — Go beyond job posting sites
You did it! You set yourself up for success by learning not just the ins and outs of your desired role, but what about it is desirable and what you’ll need to be successful. The next step is to apply, but before you hop on the Internet we give you one last statistic: Roughly 80% of jobs never get posted. Time to get creative!
Does the company you’re interested in host any workshops? Does the CEO have any speeches coming up? How does asking the recruiter to coffee sound? Emails are easily ignored and phone calls a certified grey area, but by engaging with the company you want to work at you give yourself a chance to get noticed and maybe learn about a role that is not even posted. Hello hidden 80%!
Just like losing weight isn’t simply a month of calorie counting, finding a new job isn’t just firing off a resume. As our five for one resolutions show, landing that dream role comes with a hard-earned checkmark and a big dose of dedication. If you are exhausted just by reading this, it might be time to make a new resolution. If instead you are invigorated and ready to take the leap, you now have a roadmap to success. The choice is yours to make – but remember, you’ll spend nearly 2,000 hours at work this year, so think twice before letting this resolution go by the wayside. Here’s to 2014!