8 Ways to Maximize Your Job Search in the New Year

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This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.

When it comes to your career, the new year can bring feelings of hope and optimism and, in some cases, breathe new life into your career goals.

However, we all know the fate of an unplanned New Year’s resolution.

Here are several ways to maximize your job search so you can land a position that you’ll love.

1. Create a Roadmap

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The most successful job searches include utilizing the internet to search and apply for positions, but they also require some out-of-the-box thinking tactics. Consider integrating company research, informational interviewing, cold-applying, and networking into your search this year.

Of course, prior to initiating any of the above, take time to think about what kind of a job you really want. The winter is naturally a great time for introspection and to take inventory of your life in the last year. What worked and didn’t work with your job, what did you like, and what didn’t you care for? Jot all this down as you create your roadmap for the new year.

Whether you’ve been searching for a while, or are just starting out, try making some job search resolutions to guide you. Consider goals and deadlines to help you focus and make the process seem more attainable.

2. Strengthen Your Online Presence

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Review your online presence and update your profile picture, your skills, and any recent accomplishments at work that deserve mentioning.

If it’s beneficial in your field to have an online portfolio to display your work — such as for design or writing careers — the new year is also a prime time to get to work building or refining your personal website. Being able to show hiring managers examples of your past work can help you stand out as an experienced and accomplished applicant.

3. Refresh Your Professional Documents

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Use the new year to think back over your accomplishments from the past year. What were your big wins that a prospective employer would want to know about? Have you added any new skills to your toolbox, taken any professional development of training programs, or added a new volunteer commitment into your life?

This is the perfect time to update your resume template (but remember to customize it for every job), so it’s ready to go when you launch your job search.

4. Set Achievable Goals

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Setting metrics for yourself can be one of the best ways to guarantee you will stick to your new year’s goal.

For each week of the first three months of the year, plot out your goals by numbering them. For example, you might send three networking emails each week, apply to four jobs online, ask for one informational interview, and attend one virtual networking event.

Consider your schedule and commitments and strategically lay out how much time you can commit to your job search.

5. Assemble Your Crew

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Sometimes, to get a new job, you need to employ the help of your job search support team — your friends, colleagues, family, and professional connections. In order to achieve your dreams, you have to own them.

When you tell all your people about your goal to get a new job, the rewards are two-fold. You establish accountability in yourself when you tell everyone about your plans — it’s a lot harder to back out of something when your circle knows. And you never know who you will run into or who might overhear your conversation about your professional goals.

6. Know Where the Jobs Are

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Depending on what’s going on with the economy and in the world, the most in-demand careers may change from year to year. Make it a new year’s goal to know which are the fastest-growing career fields.

After all, the more jobs that are available, the more likely you’ll be able to find the ideal position for you.

7. Research Companies, Not Just Jobs

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The typical job search protocol is to search for jobs online by looking for specific job titles. However, consider changing up your job search in the new year by researching companies. This tactic can help you learn about a company’s culture and mission to ensure you’d be a good fit. You may even be able to uncover jobs at great companies that haven’t been posted on traditional job boards.

If you find a company you want to work for, but it doesn’t have any open jobs in your field, you can “cold call” by sending an email and pitching your services.

8. Re-Establish Healthy Habits Right Away

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Chances are your healthy habits have flown out the window over the holidays. To re-energize your body and soul, get back into healthy eating and exercise habits immediately. This will help improve focus, energy, and enthusiasm, and help reduce stress.

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