12 New Year’s Resolutions for Job Seekers

6 New Year's Resolutions for Job Seekers in 2016

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The new year brings new expectations and feelings of hope and renewal. This attitude and outlook on the upcoming year are great to use when looking to focus more on your career.

If you’re looking for a new job, you’re in luck. The first quarter of the year is typically considered the best time of the year to find a new job. In the U.S., ManpowerGroup reports that “the Net Employment Outlook for the January to March time frame stands at +19%.”

Not only that, but salaries in 2020 are expected to rise by 3.3%, which is an uptick from last year’s 3.2% increase.

Whether you are looking to move up in your current field or find a whole new gig, making a few resolutions for the new year can help jump-start your motivation. Here are 12 New Year’s resolutions to send you on your way to finding a great job in 2020.

12 New Year’s Resolutions for Job Seekers

Solidify Your Professional Brand

To stand out from others and make an impression, you need a solid and consistent personal brand.

Evaluate your professional goals and aspirations, and then start to build something that shows who you are as a professional and why others should want to employ you. This is a good time to create an elevator pitch that can further solidify your brand and expertise. Remember to keep it consistent as an inconsistent brand can mean trouble.

Clean Up Social Media

It’s easy to post something to social media and think nothing more about it. But, you can’t do this. When job searching or trying for a promotion, it’s extremely important to keep your social media pages clean and professional. If you don’t want to keep it completely professional, consider locking it up and only sharing with certain people. Recruiters and hiring managers are looking at social media, and it could cost you a job.

Update Your Resume

When is the last time you took a moment to refresh your resume? If it’s been a while, set aside some time to revise your skills and job experience. Chances are you have some experience to add or new skills that may be missing from your current resume.

First, review your resume for any necessary updates that should be included and add those details. Next, sharpen the language used to describe each position and be sure your newly obtained education and skills are included. Lastly, ask an HR connection to review your resume for holes, unnecessary lingo, and areas for improvement.

Tweak your resume to align with each job to which you’re applying for better matching potential. When applying for flexible work positions, include the qualities you have that lend themselves well for this type of work, such as self-motivation, organization, and accountability.

Find a Mentor

You may think you have a mentor, but does that person really qualify? A good mentor is a person who is a few years ahead of you in your field and who is willing and able to meet with you on a regular basis and provide guidance on how to handle job search and career-related questions. You should be able to count on this person to be objective in a way that friends and family can’t be.

Grow Your Network

A solid and well-nurtured network is the foundation for continued job search success. It’s also important to continually grow your network to increase your prospects. Explore the different areas where you can meet new people to add to your network. Consider attending career fairs, joining a professional organization, and attending networking parties.

Spruce Up Your Skills

Look through job descriptions to see what employers in your field are looking for, and see if your education and skills are a match. If not, take an online class so you can stay ahead of the curve and be more hireable for the job you desire.

Professional development will only enhance your resume and show potential employers that you continually grow your skills.

Organize Your Home Office

Many people want to purge their possessions at the beginning of a new year. And that sense of KonMari cleanliness should also apply to your home office, too (or whatever space you use to conduct your job search). Make sure that your desk is neat and tidy of any clutter, and that your files aren’t overflowing with unnecessary papers.

It’s also a good idea to clear out the digital clutter as well, and delete unimportant files and programs from your computer so that it runs more efficiently. Having a clean workspace will allow you to think more clearly as you apply for jobs, and also give you a sense of what it would be like to work remotely.

Target Specific Companies

Just as you should seek a job that you’ll truly love, target companies that will be a good cultural fit for you.

Using LinkedIn can be a valuable way to seek out great companies. Find a company you admire and would like to work for on LinkedIn. Look for the “Similar pages” section on the right side of the page to find related companies. This could help you uncover companies in your industry that could be a good fit.

Create a list of companies and check their job postings often. If you’re think you’re particularly well-suited for a company, consider reaching out and “cold emailing” them about employment opportunities.

Follow Up with Employers

Some job seekers shy away from following up on a job application. Maybe you don’t want to “bother” the employer or you assume you’re out of the running. However, checking in is expected and it could put your resume in front of the hiring manager.

After you apply to a job that you really want, make it a point to follow up with the employer or hiring manager. Reach out after a week or two to ensure that your application was submitted successfully, and see if the employer has any questions. This is also a great opportunity to reiterate how much you would like the job, from appreciating the company’s culture, to feeling that you can be a true asset to the organization.

Create an Accomplishments Wall

To help steady yourself during those tough times when it feels like employers aren’t responding to your applications, create a collection of all your accomplishments. Take a memo board and attach items that are meaningful to you. You can include previous professional achievements (like awards or certificates), but be sure to include some personal touches, too.

You might include a pic of you and your former coworkers whom you loved as a sign to remind yourself to build strong bonds with your future colleagues. You might include a photo of a beautiful mountain scene to encourage you to use your flex to travel and work at the same time. And be sure to put a photo up of your loved ones—whether it’s your partner, your children, even your pet—to not only help you realize that you need work-life balance, but to remind yourself of why you work in the first place.

Practice Interviewing Skills

Good friends and networking contacts can be valuable in helping you hone your interviewing skills. This is especially important when you have a conversation scheduled, but even as you begin your job search, it doesn’t hurt to practice what you will say in different situations by participating in a mock interview.

If you’re a FlexJobs member, you can even meet with our online career coaches to get tips and practice your interview skills one-on-one.

Prioritize Mental and Physical Health

Job searching can take a toll. It can be easy to feel depressed or stressed, leading to poor mental and physical health. Make a resolution to keep your spirits up and focus on your health.

To avoid getting bogged down, allow time to participate in activities that lift your spirits, and remember to reward yourself for any success, no matter how minuscule it may seem. Get yourself outdoors, even for a quick walk. Use a meditation app to put you in a mindful state. And eat as healthy has you can, while still treating yourself here and there.

Implementing a Strategy for New Year’s Resolutions

No matter if you have one or 20 New Year’s resolutions for your job search, you’ll need a plan of action in order to be successful.

One such strategy is a job search plan, such as a 30-60-90 day strategy. No matter when you start your job search, use this plan to focus each 30-day section of your job search.

Also consider using the SMART method to set your resolutions. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Grab a sheet of paper or open a blank document on your computer and write a resolution that answers the following questions:

Specific: What industry or sector do you want to work in? Do you want to stay local or are you willing to move? How much do you need to earn?

Measurable: To meet your goal, how many resumes will you send out per week? How many networking events will you attend each month?

Attainable: Do you understand the difference between your dreams and your goals? Keep in mind that some things are beyond your sphere of influence. You cannot control how many interviews or offers you get, but you can set a goal for the number of business connections you’ll make each month.

Realistic: What can you achieve right now? If you have little experience, it’s unlikely you can move directly into a C-level job. Be honest with yourself about what you can achieve right now, but also plan for bigger and better goals in the future.

Timely: When is your deadline? This aspect of goal setting is often overlooked, but deadlines—even arbitrary ones—are important motivators. Since you can’t control when you’ll get hired, you may find that a resolution such as “I will find a job within the next six months” is less effective than “I will apply to at least five vacancies this week.”

Find a Job in the New Year with FlexJobs

FlexJobs seeks to support our members throughout their job search process. We have thousands of flexible jobs listed, offer discounted career coaching and resume reviews, and provide access to job search resources through our blog, newsletters, and Learning Center.


Readers, what New Year’s resolutions for job seekers are you adding to your list in 2020? Share your tips with us below!

Brie Weiler Reynolds contributed to this post. 

Originally published December 30, 2014. Updated December 27, 2019. 

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Alexis Reale is a staff writer at FlexJobs, the leading website for telecommuting, flexible schedule, and freelance job postings. After a brief stint working in a traditional 9-5 role, she now aims to help others find work doing what they…Read More >

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