If you've been looking for another job, now is the time to get serious about it. Just like you create resolutions for yourself to lose that elusive five pounds, you can also set goals to help you find a new job. Here are a few to get you started:
1. I will look beyond the job boards to find a job. While yes, job boards do list actual positions, they're by no means the only—or even always the best—resource to find a new job. If you've been relying on job boards alone, that may be why you're still looking for a job. Expand your search to companies' websites as well as your own networking efforts. Consider also connecting with recruiters who specialize in the industry you want to work in.
2. I will better brand myself as an expert. One of the best ways to be more hireable is to strut your stuff. Write a blog, share tweets, and be active online in your industry so that hiring managers who Google your name find nothing but links that demonstrate your knowledge of the field you work in.
This strategy will take more than a few days to master, so start now. By the middle of 2013, you should have a strong social media following and several dozen blog posts under your belt, which can be enough to convince an employer to give you a chance.
3. I will not settle. If you've been telling yourself you'd quit your job for ages but haven't done a thing to make it happen, this is the year to ensure that changes. You deserve to be happy in your job, so take the necessary measures to make that a reality. Consider whether it's the company you work for that is making you unhappy or the role you have. It might even be time to change industries or roles completely.
4. I will add to my skill set. Enhancing your existing skills is a fantastic way to become more hireable. Look at job descriptions for positions you're interested in, and determine what skills you're lacking. Take online classes, attend webinars, and read books to bone up on the topics you need to know. Then make sure to update your resume to reflect your new tools.
5. I will ace my interviews. If the interview process is where you fumble, start practicing your interview skills. Just like with test-taking, some job seekers do fine up to the actual interview, and then stress and nervousness takes over. Get a friend to set up a mock interview or two with you so you get a chance to practice saying what you need to say to look good to the hiring manager. Focus on speaking clearly and concisely, and keep your hand movement to a minimum.
Plan out what you will wear in advance so that you don't have to rush to find the perfect outfit, only to discover it's at the cleaners.
6. I will be confident. Easier said than done for many, but exuding confidence will be what wins you the job. If you've been looking for work for awhile, it may be difficult to recognize how much you rock. But as they say, fake it until you make it. Your confidence (or lack of it) will shine through on your resume, cover letter, and in an interview, and it will be the key component that attracts a hiring manager to you.
7. I will cut myself some slack. So you haven't gotten your dream job yet. So what? It takes years to find the perfect role, and many people don't even try hard enough to find it. Even if the roles you're applying for aren't completely your cup of tea, they will provide you with more experience that will help you climb that corporate ladder. Any experience is good experience, so find a job that matches your current skill set and set your sights on that one ... for now.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.