Setting that goal is a good first step. But, to get hired in 2017, you need more than just determination. The days of applying blindly to job listings and hoping for the best are behind us. You need to think bigger if you want to make this year the best yet for your career.
Here’s how to do it.
Focus on networking.
Looking for work can turn into a full-time job. That’s why it’s important to focus your efforts on things that will pay off. Last on the list: applying to jobs online, through job boards or company sites. There’s always a chance that your resume will make it through to a person who can appreciate your skillset. But, there’s a much greater chance that your CV will languish in applicant tracking system limbo, unread by human eyes.
Networking is a better bet.
“At at least 60% — some report even higher statistics — of all jobs are found by networking,” writes Alison Doyle at The Balance. “Develop contacts — friends, family, neighbors, college alumni, people in associations — anyone who might help generate information and job leads.”
Think of it this way: if a friend recommended a restaurant, you’d probably give it more weight than you would an anonymous Yelp review. Having real people vouch for you counts. And there’s always the chance that they’ll help you stumble upon an unadvertised job at their company and hook you up.
See yourself through a hiring manager’s eyes.
“Most employers will Google your name as part of the vetting process,” writes Amanda Augustine at TopResume’s guide, Jump-Start Your Job Search. “Make sure you’re aware of what they’ll find so you’re prepared to explain away any damaging information or, better yet, find opportunities to improve search results.”
Once you’re done with that, tackle your social media feeds. Most networks have a privacy checkup function. For example, on Facebook, the “View As” feature lets you see your profile from the perspective of the public or one specific friend. You might be surprised at what hiring managers can learn about you from your public-facing pages and profiles.
If you’re looking for a job while you’re employed, and are less than miserable in your current gig, you have a fair amount of freedom. Use it to set your sights on a new job that will be a step forward for your career, and not just a change of pace.
Think about the parts of your job you love the most … and like the least. Ponder what you’d like to be doing in five years, if nothing stood in your way. Most of all, as Sheryl Sandberg told us to do, ask yourself, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
Identify skills gaps.
After you dream big, you’re probably going to fall back to earth pretty quickly. The source of the drop? The realization that, in fact, a lot stands between where you are now and where you want to be.
Don’t let that convince you to give up. Instead, chart a path from your current position to your goal. PayScale’s Career Path Explorer can tell you which job titles typically fall between your role and your dream job. Then it’s just a matter of identifying the skills you need to acquire, in order to start climbing the ladder.
Know your worth.
If you’ve been in one place for a while, any raise will seem like an improvement. But don’t assume that an extra $5,000 a year is all you hope for. PayScale’s Salary Survey provides salary ranges for your prospective job title, based on your experience, education, and geographic location. There’s no need to take a salary hit to pursue better opportunities. Find out how much your skills are worth, and then ask for the salary you deserve.
Tell Us What You Think
Are you planning to change jobs in 2017? We want to hear from you! Tell us your plans in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.