Atlanta, GA (PressExposure) January 27, 2012 -- The unemployment rate continued to trend down in December, the Department of Labor reported recently, dropping to 8.5 percent. Equally important for the mindset of the job seeker, perhaps, the number of unemployed who report they are "discouraged" (not looking for work because they believe there is nothing for them) dropped to 945,000-a decrease of 373,000 from the previous year. Career Coach Hallie Crawford finds these signs encouraging and says job seekers should make New Year's resolutions that help them find new job opportunities.
"Although there are more openings now than in most of the past three years, employers are still gun shy about advertising them. As a result, networking, using social media, and keeping an open-minded attitude remain some of a job seeker's most important tactics," says Crawford, founder of Create Your Career Path. Crawford recommends her clients use their New Year's resolutions as a means of sharpening their job-hunting approaches in 2012. A few of her tips include:
Write career search resolutions that are honest but also realistic enough to propel your search forward. One idea is to create a job search plan that includes your ideal career direction plus two other possible ideas related to that goal. This lets you expand your search over time if necessary.
Make your career search goals very specific. This enables you to enjoy a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that you are doing something concrete to change your outcome. One specific, important goal is to polish your "elevator speech"-what you could say in only one or two minutes that would incent someone to hire you.
Another specific goal is to define your brand. You are a product, just like Lay's Potato Chips or Geico Insurance. Everyone knows what they have to offer. Ask yourself, what makes you unique or valuable? What strengths do you bring to the table? If you are not sure, ask others their opinions to help you with this brand building exercise.
Increase your exposure. Networking is still the best way to get a job, whether you are setting up informational interviews (shoot for two per week) or volunteering to do work that teaches you an important work skill. Any time you can put yourself in front of people who might help you in your job search, you are making progress. Interacting with others also feels good and should also help you avoid "desperation mode," which never works for anyone.
In the end, Crawford notes, things are getting better, but landing a job still takes time, and securing a "perfect" one can be quite elusive. "If a not-so-perfect offer presets, ask yourself if you can be positive about the position and view it as different, not worse or better," says Crawford. "Those who radiate a positive attitude in any situation are most likely to find a job-and turn the experience into a stepping stone to a better opportunity, down the road."