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9 Job search tips for the year 2011

It's 2011 and it's time to take control of your job search. This year, it's no longer up to companies to hire you, it's up to you to get hired. Forget about how the economy is doing. This year, your focus will be on finding the right job for you and doing everything you can to be the best candidate for that job. The competition may still be tough, but here's how to turn the tables in your favor.

1. Narrow your search. Stop applying to jobs that you're not qualified for or don't really want. It's a waste of time. Be honest with yourself when evaluating job postings. If you had to start the job tomorrow, do you have all the skills you'd need to succeed? Or are there areas of the job description that you don't have experience in? While it's always great to be willing to learn, most companies want to hire someone who can jump right in and get started without being trained from scratch. Focus your time on creating great applications for jobs you are well-qualified for instead.

2. Know exactly what you want. Narrowing down your job search may force you to ask yourself tough questions like: What kind of job am I really after? And what skills can I offer an employer? If you're unsure of the answer, make one list of the job skills you excel at and one of the skills you like to use most. Use these skills as search terms in your job search.

3. Re-evaluate your skills. If you feel as if you've looked at every job posting on earth and you still can't find one your skills match up with, then it's time to get some new skills. The good news for those who are unemployed is that it's the perfect opportunity to go back to school. You won't have to divide your time with your job obligations, and there's also the possibility that the economy will have recovered a bit by the time you graduate, giving you a double leg up.

4. Set goals. Yes, your overall goal may be to get a job, but setting short-term, specific job search goals for the year will help you grow and force you to continuously evaluate your progress. Improve your networking skills, for example, by making January's goal to join a professional organization and February's to attend a college alumni event. Holding yourself accountable for achieving these goals will boost your self-esteem and motivate you to continue searching by providing you with new leads and information.

5. Try something new. If you're stuck in a job search rut, add a new strategy to your repertoire. Instead of only job searching in newspapers, try searching online. A multifaceted approach will get the best results.

6. Get a hold of your online reputation: When human-resources managers search for your name online – and they will do it – you can take control of what they see .Search results that are professional and consistent establish you as an expert in your field and will be far more impressive than your pictures with family. Professional content will make a great impression.

7. Stay current: You should always be in the loop, even if you're out of work. Read trade publications, comment on industry blogs and stay on top of any emerging technologies or policies that may affect your career path. This will not only help you have a great conversation with an interviewer and keep your professional edge, but it may also give you new ideas about where and how to look for a job.

8. Sell yourself: An interview is no time for modesty, especially in times like these. When you land an interview, go prepared with at least five examples that demonstrate your best qualities. That way, when an interviewer asks, "Why should I hire you," you can talk about and prove you are the best for the job

9. Keep that glass half-full approach, all year: A job search will always have its frustrating moments, because things don't always happen when or how we want them to happen. But instead of letting setbacks ruin motivation, take them as lessons. Your lack of interviews may mean it's time to re-evaluate your career path or skills, which could lead you to a more fulfilling career. This type of positive attitude will be much more productive in helping you find your next job.


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