Jumpstart Your Job Hunt In 2021 By Following These Tips

Get proactive and take charge of landing the gig of your dreams.

Workin' Girl

We can all agree that 2020 was a challenging year, with the pandemic coming at us full force, civil and human rights in danger, a landmark presidential election that had all of our nerves shot, and a job market on the brink of disaster. Despite these challenges, there is a bright side: Companies are indeed still hiring right now.

If you're looking for a fresh start, want to transition into a better position within your industry, or are just getting your foot in the door as a recent graduate, try these job hunting tips to kick-start a great 2021:

1. Create or update your LinkedIn profile.

If you don't already have a LinkedIn page, sis, what are you waiting on? This is the perfect place to showcase your skills and talents, and it's where many recruiters go to look for top new employees. More than 50% of Americans with a college degree use the platform, and 4 out of 5 users "drive business decisions," according to a Hootsuite report. Be sure your photo is professional, your work experience is recent and relevant to your dream job, and you've listed organizations and passions accurately. You also want to be sure you're networking in a way that puts service and ability ahead of a needy vibe, and that you're tapping into connections strategically. Experts recommend offering insights that are relevant to your industry, writing about your own experiences and expertise, and reconnecting with people you may have lost touch with.

2. Be deliberate in creating a schedule for job-seeking.

It's a good idea to etch out specific times of the day or week to send out resumes, emails or other inquiries related to a job search. When you commit to a time of day, you'll be more likely to be consistent and put forth deliberate effort to get the job you want. You can try this 10-hour plan by The Muse or get into these calendar-blocking methods to map out how you'll attack researching companies, professionals you'd like to work with or qualifications that various jobs require.

3. Build and follow systems for keeping up with the process.

With so many job search sites, resources, and opportunities out there, it can seem a bit overwhelming keeping up with it all. A great way to remain organized is to set up a system using technology. It can be as simple as setting calendar reminders for things like following up with someone you interviewed with to send a Thank You note or to inquire about next steps or email templates for submitting your cover letter and resume. Set up shortcuts for replies or special actions to file all your job search-related emails so that you can easily access them. You can also set up spreadsheets in Google or Microsoft Excel to categorize and organize information by job, company, date applied and more. If you want a quick shortcut to do this, try your state's employment commission websites which have resources for tracking your job search. Apps like those offered by CareerBuilder and Monster are also great for keeping track of your search progress.

4. Volunteer with an organization that your dream professional or company supports.

Even in these social-distancing streets, networking is still important, and what better way to connect with someone who works at your dream company or someone you'd like to collaborate with than to volunteer at an org they support? Again, LinkedIn is a great place to find out what causes your mentor or prospective coworker are into. Just be sure it's something you authentically connect with and that you're willing to give of the time and effort. If you can't volunteer in person, offer your talents, services or time doing something virtually, whether it's assisting to coordinate an online event, creating social media graphics or messaging for a campaign, or building creative fundraising initiatives.

5. Map out a 1- 5- or 10-year plan via a vision board.

Manifestation through writing down goals is real, and many successful professionals attest to it. Take the time to write down what your next boss move will be or at least where you'd like to go in the next few years. If thinking that far down is overwhelming, experts recommend thinking about it in monthly goals that will build up to reach the overall yearly goal. Vision boards are a great way to visualize your plan, and you don't have the go the usual posterboard-and-collage route. Use apps like Canva or PicMonkey to make one digitally.

Experts recommend asking yourself questions like, "Where do I want to be next year?" "What tasks bring me the most joy?" "What are the daily duties of my dream job?" "Who am I impacting with the work that I do?" "What salary would I like to be earning?" and "What does my quality of life look like?" Be honest with yourself about your current skills, where you could improve, and what steps it will take to get to the job and lifestyle of your dreams. Bookmark resources, books, articles and other related information that will help you reach your goal (whether it's in the form of clicking via your laptop, organizing via an app, or tearing out pages or pasting covers to a board.)

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