Whether you are in the market for a new job or not, 2017 is your year to make good on your career resolution. According to Business Insider, the U.S. economy is on the up and up. By the end of last year, the U.S. was reveling in about 74 months of consecutive job growth.
Companies are on a hiring spree as competition declines, and salaries are climbing. So, what does this mean for you?
The current jobs market means that your New Year’s career resolutions doesn’t have to die a slow death over the next few weeks. Take advantage of the times and elevate your career in just three, simple ways.
Resolution #1: Figure Out Your Next Move
We know what you are thinking, ‘Gee, that was helpful.’ But, bear with us. Perhaps you’ve been toiling away at your job for years, daydreaming about your next move or maybe you’re comfortable and haven’t given it much thought. In either scenario, LinkedIn is still your friend.
Beyond simply connecting with your colleagues and other professional contacts, are you leveraging all of its features?
Cyberstalk for All the Rights Reasons …
In the beginning stages of your job search (especially if your path is uncertain), LinkedIn is a great resource to lightly cyber stalk (in a non-creepy way) people who have the careers you want. Even if your profile isn’t set to private, don’t be shy; go ahead and click on that executive’s profile you admire. Do you have mutual connections? If not, don’t be afraid to take it one step further and reach out to them. Cold contact (emails, messages, calls, etc.) still works. It’s all a numbers game so don’t get discouraged.
Find Common Ground…
If randomly approaching a stranger online isn’t your thing, then LinkedIn’s Alumni Connection feature is probably up your alley. At any point in your career, your alumni game should always be strong (after all isn’t that why we paid for expensive pieces of paper to prove we belonged to a certain academic community?). Alumni love hearing from their people so drop them a quick line, tell them your story, and make the ask. Stay clear of outright asking for a job. Simply asking for advice is the best way to go.
Leave Breadcrumbs …
Breadcrumbs is online dating lingo for stringing someone along with no intentions of committing (e.g., liking someone’s Facebook page, retweeting them, sending seemingly innocuous texts like “Hey, how are you?”). What does this have to do with your professional life? Well, LinkedIn’s Job Search function often lists who posted the job. Scope out their profiles and use the tactics mentioned above. They’ll likely see that you’ve checked them out and may return the favor. But don’t just leave it there. Wait a couple of days, then send a short follow-up email introducing yourself, referencing the post, and linking them to your profile. Remember recruiters accept applications and referrals, but they also ‘source’ roles. In other words, your outreach is doing part of their job for them. Help them, help you.
Resolution #2: Get Organized
First things first. Set specific goals on a daily basis and give yourself a timeline on when you would like to secure an offer. Before you know it, your inbox will be populated with interview requests, calendar invites, follow-up notes, etc. It can all get to be a bit overwhelming. To handle it all, get organized with personal organization apps (24Me, Evernote, Remember the Milk) or try out bullet journaling with old school pen and paper. Do what works best for you.
Resolution #3: Be Part of the Conversation
Building your network is a give and take situation. In exchange for the advice imparted on you by your new connects, the least you can do is share your thoughts. No need to be an industry expert to sound off on a range of topics. Take to LinkedIn’s Blog feature, Medium, and Twitter (the company’s struggling, but the platform is still clutch) to spread ideas and offer insights. Nothing to say? No worries, simply sharing resources like news or reports goes a long way in building your profile as someone who cares about industry trends and developments.
Feel free to join offline conversations. Networking can be daunting, but it does not necessarily have to be a thing that you need to “get over.” If you can’t stomach another awkward networking event where everyone else seems to be in the same boat as you, then gravitate towards things you would normally do. For instance, join a Meetup group, an industry organization, or sports league, attend events or conferences, or sign up to volunteer. Making new friends and catching up with old ones helps organically grow your network.
Bringing It All Together
The 2017 job market is hot, hot, hot. So go ahead, update your LinkedIn profile, get your (non-creepy) cyberstalk on, and share your ideas with your growing network. And for bonus points, step away from your laptop or mobile device and get engaged in your community. Your dream job is right around the corner.