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New Year’s resolutions are famously unrealistic and it is common for people to make the same resolution year after year hoping that this year something will go differently and they will be successful. As the US continues slowly to climb back from the economic downturn, I expect that many Americans will resolve to get back to work in 2014. USA Today stated this week that “while the ‘official’ unemployment rate has fallen steadily since the summer of 2009, the improvement in the data has come largely from the ongoing wave of jobless people who have given up looking for work.” Unfortunately, simply resolving to find a job this year is not going to make that dream come true. Instead, I have laid out 3 realistic resolutions with steps you can follow to point your job-search in the right direction and hopefully meet success in 2014.

Get a Digital Facelift

Google Nathan DuBowIn 2014, most everyone has a social media resume, whether you want one or not. Resolve to give your online presence a makeover. A growing number of employers review applicants’ social media footprints, which can include pictures, blog posts, articles and tweets. A good place to start is to Google yourself (see image). See what an employer could find using just information from your resume. If you have anything that would reflect poorly on you, it is best that you take steps to remove it or at least make it difficult to find. If you can’t remove something, you can at least take control over who can see it by adjusting your privacy settings. Facebook and Twitter have settings you can use to customize how public your content is. In using social media in your job search, LinkedIn is your friend. Notice that my LinkedIn profile is the first hit to come up on Google. Make sure that your profile is up to date, clean and professional looking. Of the different networking sites, LinkedIn is set up most like an online resume, and you should use it as such. Many recruiters use LinkedIn to identify talent, so make sure that you are easy to find and that your content makes you look good. One way to increase your visibility is to join and participate with LinkedIn groups and pages that are relevant to you, such as the alumni page of your college, the group for local professionals in your specific industry and the LinkedIn group for any professional associations you are a member of.


Network ‘til you Drop

If there is anything worthwhile to spend money on, even when unemployed, it is networking. Luckily, there are many opportunities to network that are free or low-cost. Resolve to make new connections in 2014. Networking is essential to any job-search. Online, LinkedIn is an easy way to begin developing your professional network. Unfortunately, online networking will only get you so far. You need to get yourself in front of people. Communicate with friends, past co-workers, and peers to identify connections they have in organizations that you are interested in working for. Use sites like MeetUp.com to identify people near you working in your field or interested in similar activities. Join a networking group like the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network to meet people and take advantage of professional development opportunities. If you have the resources, take the opportunity to attend a conference in your field. Conferences give you the opportunity to network and develop your skills at the same time.

Improve Yourself

You should always strive to improve your understanding of the world around you, regardless of your career path. Resolve to develop yourself professionally. Take the opportunity while you have time on your hands to pursue education. This may mean learning a new skill, like coding, or refining and updating your existing skill set in your field. Nonprofits rely on employees with diverse skills to fill staffing gaps, so you will make yourself a more attractive candidate if you bring that something extra to the table. Additionally, dedication to continued learning will reflect positively upon you and make you more marketable to employers. Many networking groups, nonprofit organizations, and community colleges offer adult learning, continuing education, and professional development opportunities for free or very low costs.
If you are interested in learning more about how Nonprofit HR can help you attain career success this year, contact us.

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