The last of the Christmas cookies have been eaten. You’ve counted yourself out for winning your college football bowl pool. And the kids finally went back to school. Now what? It’s time to set some goals for landing that new job in 2017.

 

But who ever sticks to their resolutions? Most of the time it’s just us being reactive and setting goals that weren’t accomplished the previous year, right? Perhaps. But isn’t that the point? To take a look at what you want to accomplish that you haven’t already? To set goals to achieve in the new year? After all, if we aren’t striving to grow and achieve we become stagnant and complacent and end up exactly where we are right now. Who wants that?

 

In order to focus on obtaining a new job, or make a career change, there are realistic and obtainable resolutions that you can set for yourself to increase the chances of that happening.

 

1) Big Rocks. There is a classic story told about “big rocks” that some of you may have heard before that is told to demonstrate time management. I read it again recently in a newsletter online (Nevins Consulting) and thought about how this concept can be applied toward job searching.

 

A subject-matter expert on time management was lecturing to his business class and used a mason jar to demonstrate the point he was trying to make. He first filled the mason jar with rocks and then asked the class if the jar was full. The class all agreed that it was full since the rocks filled the jar to the top. He then grabbed some gravel and poured it into the jar. As the gravel started filling the empty spaces in the jar, he asked the class again if it was full. This time the class was less certain. He proceeded to then fill the jar with sand, asked the same question, and lastly water, until the jar was completely filled in.

 

The point he was trying to make was not to cram everything you can into your schedule, but rather to demonstrate that if he didn’t fill the big rocks first, there would not have been enough room to put them in after everything else – the “big rocks” representing the important things in your life that you should make time for, whatever that may be: health, spending more time with family, professional growth, etc.

 

This same concept can be applied to your job searching. You must determine what your “big rocks” are – professionally and personally. Is it a work-life balance so that you can spend enough quality time with your family? Is it targeted networking with individuals from a particular organization or industry? Will the job you’re targeting allow for time to focus on things personally that are important to you?

 

Whatever you identify as your big rocks, you need to make sure you make time for them and set them as a priority. As the Nevins Consulting article summarized, “We can all keep very busy tending to the sand and gravel, but if we don’t get to the big rocks first, we may never get to them at all.”

 

2) Be more organized. Oh sure, we’ve all made this resolution before, right? Well at least I have. I know some very organized people who probably don’t need to make this their New Year’s resolution. But for those of us who do, this is key in staying focused on obtaining a new job. When looking for a new job or career there is no one-way to go about it. It involves networking, researching various companies and industries, scanning and searching job boards, and so much more. It can all be a bit daunting to say the least.

 

Staying organized will help you track all the methods, avenues and contacts you make so that you know where you’ve applied, who you’ve networked with, and where you still need to focus on. This also allows you to follow up on any necessary contacts that you’ve made. Use whatever method that works best for you – whether it be an Excel spreadsheet or simply writing it down in a notebook – as long as it allows you to track and stay organized throughout your job-search journey.

 

3) Network. This may seem like a no-brainer. There’s study after study that say that job boards are one of the least effective methods of finding a job. Not to say you shouldn’t still utilize them, but as I mentioned earlier, you should use a variety of job searching methods in order to maximize your chances of landing a new job.

 

Networking is not only effective, it’s essential. Networking can be done in a variety of ways. One way is through LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a powerful platform for job seekers. It’s a place to not only sell yourself and who you are and what you can offer, it also has tons of industry groups, company profiles, and interest groups you can be a part of and network with. Make sure you take the time to beef up your LinkedIn profile – you won’t regret it. In addition to LinkedIn, you can network on other professional social media sites, as well as your personal social media sites.

 

Networking should not only be limited to the cyber world, however. You need to get yourself out there and attend in-person networking groups as well. If you have an alumni group you’re a part of, find out when their next networking event is scheduled. Look up local networking events and career fairs to attend. As part of your goal setting you can commit yourself to one or two events to attend each month. Be realistic so that you keep your goals.

 

4) Improve your communication skills. This one cannot be emphasized enough. Communication is key in all our relationships; if you don’t strive to improve and develop your communication skills you most likely won’t succeed in your career, even if you do land that new job.

 

It’s nearly impossible to develop professional relationships and network if you’re a poor communicator. One of the biggest misnomers about communication is that it only involves being able to talk. On the contrary, it’s a fine balance between listening, and especially hearing what someone is saying, and being able to communicate in a give and take way. Some of the best communicators I know do more listening than they do talking.

 

In order to develop that skill you may want to look into local or online classes, or getting a book that focuses on improving your communication. We can all improve on our communication, so any time or investment we make in this department is never a waste.

 

5) Attitude. One of my favorite quotes by Charles R. Swindoll states, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”

 

So simple, yet so true.

 

We all have those chronic negative people in our lives. The one who sucks the joy out of every situation. The one you don’t want to be around, and do anything to avoid. The one who complains about everything, and does nothing about anything. Don’t be one of those people.

 

Life is challenging. Life can be hard. Life will give us lemons. Most of these things we have control over, some we don’t. But all of them we have the choice on how we handle it. Make the choice to have a good attitude and good things will come.

 

Make the choice to have an awesome 2017, and you will! Happy job searching!

 

 

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill

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