If advancing your career goals is one of your 2023 resolutions, your timing couldn’t be better. Now is a great time to explore the job market. With unemployment at historic lows and many opportunities for professionals, demand for skilled talent is stronger than I’ve seen in my 23 years in recruiting.
However, competition tends to be tough at the beginning of the year as more candidates start thinking about their next career move. If you’re looking for a job, you’ll need to put in some work to differentiate yourself from other candidates with the same skill sets.
Here are some things you can start doing now to help you achieve your career goals and find a position that matches your skills, experience and interests in 2023.
Goal #1: Update your resume and LinkedIn profile
There are probably a million other things you’d rather be doing than writing a resume. But it’s worth the time to have an up-to-date document at your fingertips. People often put off revising their resumes until they find an interesting job opportunity. That’s a mistake that could prevent them from applying for the position right away.
Make sure your resume includes an impact statement that highlights your accomplishments and skills and articulates how you’ve saved time and money or generated revenue for your company. An impact statement will help you stand out from other candidates by demonstrating that you can successfully do the job you’re applying for.
While you’re at it, add the impact statement to your LinkedIn profile. Your profile is essentially your online resume, so review it to make sure it reflects the same information as your traditional resume. Recruiters also use LinkedIn to identify passive job seekers. With a solid online profile, you’ll increase the likelihood that a recruiter will take a closer look at you.
Goal #2: Strengthen your skill set
Another way to stand out is to improve your skill sets, learn new in-demand skills or pursue a certification. No matter what industry or career you’re in, professional development shows initiative, a commitment to learning, and an understanding of what it takes to excel in your field. It also makes it easier for you to show how you can add value to the organization.
Certain abilities and credentials can also help you negotiate a higher salary. See Robert Half’s Salary Guide for insight into how much more employers are willing to pay professionals with sought-after skills and certifications for certain roles.
Goal #2: Strengthen your skill set
Even in a candidate-driven job market, you need to do whatever you can to gain an advantage over your fellow job seekers. One way is to learn a new skill or earn a certification. No matter your chosen industry or career, change is happening all around you. Your skill set may need a boost to remain relevant and attractive to employers.
To realize your job search goals, you need to be ready to compete for the roles you want, of course. And no matter your chosen industry or career, developing an in-demand skill or pursuing a certification can help you to stand out as a candidate.
Pursuing professional development shows initiative and a commitment to learning, as well as an understanding of what it takes to excel in your field. It also makes it easier for you to answer the question that all hiring managers are likely to ask in one form or another: “How can you add value to the organization?”
Possessing certain abilities and credentials can also help you negotiate a higher salary. The 2023 Salary Guide from Robert Half offers insight into how much more employers are willing to pay professionals with in-demand skills and certifications for certain roles.
Goal #3: Prioritize job satisfaction
Now is a good time to assess your job search goals and personal aspirations to determine exactly what type of career opportunity you want to look for. Many professionals today want their jobs to have meaning and a purpose that aligns with their values. This often includes priorities like work/life balance, a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion or employee wellness programs.
Maybe you’d like to change industries or take on a more fulfilling role with greater responsibility. Or have more flexibility that can be achieved with remote or hybrid work options. Get a clear idea of what it will take to make you happy, so you can focus your search on getting what you want.
Goal #4: Audit your online presence
Nearly all potential employers will review your LinkedIn profile to get a better idea of your professional experience and career goals (refer to Goal #1). Hiring managers and recruiters also look at your social media to find out more about who you are as a person. Consider how you present yourself on social media and online forums.
You may need to do some digital housekeeping to remove anything unprofessional from your posts. Make sure all your information is current and accurate and presents you in the best possible light. If there’s anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see — photos from a vacation or your unfiltered thoughts about a politician or a sports team’s poor performance, for example — review your privacy settings. This is especially important for recent college graduates or job seekers who are just starting their professional careers.
Goal #5: Expand your professional network
An overwhelming majority of job seekers get hired through networking. Building your professional network is critical to helping you achieve your job search goals.
Research local and national events hosted by professional or alumni organizations, or other groups in your profession or industry. Whether attendance is on-site or virtual, remember that first impressions are lasting ones and dress professionally, bring your updated resume and digital business cards. And don’t limit your participation to just showing up for events – take an active role by volunteering for a committee or seeking a board position.
You should also reach out to new contacts on LinkedIn and ask trusted colleagues, mentors and friends for their recommendations. Be strategic and genuine when you request to make a connection. And continue to nurture ties with the professional contacts you already have. It’s well worth the effort to build long-lasting relationships that can help you throughout your career.
Goal #6: Be persistent
Employers today take great care to hire people who are likely to thrive in their unique organization. So, even if you’re a top candidate for a job, it may take weeks and several rounds of interviewing before you hear back about a final decision.
Don’t get discouraged, and do follow up. Send a handwritten thank you note or email that shows your continuing interest in the job. And stay in touch with the hiring manager to keep your name top of mind.
While you’re waiting for an employer to make a decision, keep networking and applying to other jobs that interest you. You should also consider building a relationship with a professional recruiter. Find a recruiter in your city who knows the market inside and out and will use their exclusive relationships with hiring managers to help you access roles that aren’t advertised publicly.
Goal #7 Prepare for upcoming interviews
Preparation is the key to a successful interview. Research the companies and people who may interview you well ahead of time. That way you’ll be ready to ask informed questions about the company and why you want to work there. Also take some time to brush up on your interviewing skills and practice how you’ll articulate the value you can bring to a company. Most candidates start the interview process online, so make sure you are camera-ready and your technology is working properly.
Best of luck in realizing your job search goals — and achieving all your other 2023 goals.
By Randi Weitzman, Executive Director, Technology, Marketing and Creative, and Legal Talent Solutions for Permanent Placement, Robert Half