How to Land a New Job in 2012

Always bring questions to a job interview.

Some business people offer a helping hand to college students by paying for their education.

Some business people offer a helping hand to college students by paying for their education.

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Whether it's rewriting your cover letter, reviewing the way you approach interviews, or rethinking what kind of job will make you happy, here are some tips for landing a new job in the new year. You'll hear from authors, career experts, career coaches, and even entrepreneurs.

Position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Create a professional blog and write insightful posts about industry trends and advice. Comment on other top blogs to increase your visibility within those communities. Join and participate in niche communities, such as LinkedIn groups related to your expertise and skills. Share relevant articles (and your own content) on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Not only will this help to develop your online presence, but you'll inadvertently network with people who might lead you to your next job opportunity.

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and employers.

[See The 50 Best Careers of 2011.]

Let a job find you. If you are a job seeker, you need to shift your focus. Instead of spending all of your time identifying jobs and applying, you should also think about how to help people who want to hire you, find you. Ramp up your networking efforts. A Jobvite study showed 89 percent of U.S. companies will use social networks for recruiting in 2012 and 73 percent of social hires are via LinkedIn. In its job-seeker survey, Jobvite found 78 percent of job seekers who credited their current job to social networking named Facebook as the key factor in landing their position and 42 percent mentioned Twitter. Ignore any of these key social networks at your own risk.

Miriam Salpeter is a job search and social media consultant, career coach, author, speaker, resume writer, and owner of Keppie Careers.

Write a new cover letter. If you're still using a generic cover letter that simply summarizes your resume, you're missing out on one of the most effective ways to get an employer's attention. In 2012, throw out that old letter and start writing new ones for each job for which you apply. In this job market, you can't afford to squander an entire application page repeating what's on your resume. Instead, use your cover letter to provide information about how you're fit for the job; information that isn't available on your resume, such as personal traits, work habits, and why you're excited about the position. For instance, if you're applying for an accounting job that requires top-notch organizational skills, and you're so neurotically organized that you color-code your bills every month, most hiring managers would love to know that about you. And that's not something you'd ever put in your resume, but the cover letter is a perfect place for it.

Alison Green writes the popular Ask a Manager blog where she dispenses advice on career, job search, and management issues.

Bring questions to a job interview. When an interviewer asks you if you have any questions, make sure you do. And make sure they're good ones. Having smart questions will show an interviewer that you are discerning about the company for which you work, that you have prepared for the interview, and that you're familiar with the company. Spend some time looking at company reviews online and reading the latest news about the company and about the industry overall. Possible question topics include: corporate culture, organizational structure, day-to-day responsibilities of the position, the company's standing in the industry, and the company's five-year plan.

Luke Roney is content manager for CareerBliss, an online career community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace.

Follow up after an interview. If you are genuinely interested in the job after the interview, make a habit of sending a follow-up note of appreciation. While a thank-you note doesn't guarantee you'll get the job, it certainly won't hurt you. Not only is it a gesture of common courtesy, it's a perfect place for you to reiterate your interest and show the hiring manager why you are the right person for the job. It also gives you the chance to add a detail about your background that you may have not had the opportunity to explain in the interview or to just simply reinforce the connection. Sending a follow-up note via email is acceptable and quick, however, a hand-written note will set you apart from the competition.