7 Steps to a New Job in 2011

7 Steps to a New Job in 2011

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2010 is fading into oblivion, yet another year for the history books. This year marks the third consecutive tough one for many people who have had to weather an economic downturn which may have led to foreclosures, job losses and a host of unwelcome social ills. The coming year has the promise of better days thanks in part to Congress and the president deciding to extend Bush-era tax cuts for at least two more years.

Now that a certain measure of uncertainty has been removed from the picture, people are beginning to look at their options for 2011. For some, finding that long elusive job is of utmost importance. For others, considering switching jobs may finally become a reality especially if they feel confident about their prospects.

If you’re looking for new work in 2011, the following seven steps are worth taking as you make your move forward:

1. Weigh your options — What held true for you last year or even last month may not be so for you right now. That means doors which were closed a little while back may have reopened, even if just a little crack. Consider reapplying to companies whose hiring doors were previously shut.

2. Update your resume — A hard copy resume is still important though you may rely more on a link to your web page or LinkedIn profile. In any case, wherever your “job biography” rests that information needs to be current. Make it easy for your information to be found and for people to find you — include home phone, cell phone, email address, Skype address and website on your resume.

3. Network like crazy — The more contacts you have in the job search, the better. Or so the thinking goes. What may work best for you is to work a small group of contacts to see if they have something for you. Keeping in touch with a dozen well-connected people may be better for you than trying to maintain contact with hundreds of LinkedIn contacts.

4. Expand your skills — People who are long term unemployed are in danger of finding their skills have evaporated or haven’t kept up with constant changes. Take a course, learn a new language, acquire a new skill, further your interests in a new area. In other words, get moving!

5. Practice interviewing technique — You’ll be interviewing at some point which means you may need to brush up on your interviewing techniques. Sit down with a friend and have them ask you the tough questions including: why have you been out of work for so long? What makes you right for this position? Why should we hire you?

6. Make cold calls — Networking is fine as is reading online or newspaper job notices. However, most jobs come from personal contacts and beyond the people you know are those you don’t. Research the companies of interest to you and learn who the “powers that be” are. Contact these influential people directly and make your pitch.

7. Prove yourself often — A significant part in marketing yourself is to prove to others how your skills match their needs. This includes discovering what their needs are and offering solutions based on your talents. You may be applying for a position as a system analyst with a German company and be fluent in Russian. Your language skills can come in handy when your company deals with clients in Moscow — let someone know how your broader talents can help in other areas. Demonstrate your value and you’ll prove to be an invaluable hire.

Jobs don’t come easy so you’ll have your work cut out for you. Still, if you revisit your job hunting strategy and tie up loose ends and improve your skills, you’ll be more marketable and in a better position to land a new job.

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