Kaitlin Madden, CareerBuilder Writer
It’s 2011 and it’s time to take control of your job search. This year, it’s no longer up to companies to hire you, it’s up to you to get hired. Forget about how the economy is doing. Reflect on last year if you must, but then forget about that, too. This year, your focus will be on finding the right job for you and doing everything you can to be the best candidate for that job. The competition may still be tough, but here’s how to turn the tables in your favor.
1. Narrow your search. Stop applying to jobs that you’re not qualified for or don’t really want. It’s a waste of time. Be honest with yourself when evaluating job postings. If you had to start the job tomorrow, do you have all the skills you’d need to succeed? Or are there areas of the job description that you don’t have experience in? While it’s always great to be willing to learn, most companies want to hire someone who can jump right in and get started without being trained from scratch. Focus your time on creating great applications for jobs you are well-qualified for instead.
2. Know exactly what you want. Narrowing down your job search may force you to ask yourself tough questions like: What kind of job am I really after? And what skills can I offer an employer? If you’re unsure of the answer, make one list of the job skills you excel at and one of the skills you like to use most. Use these skills as search terms in your job search.
3. Re-evaluate your skills. If you feel as if you’ve looked at every job posting on earth and you still can’t find one your skills match up with, then it’s time to get some new skills. The good news for those who are unemployed is that it’s the perfect opportunity to go back to school. You won’t have to divide your time with your job obligations, and there’s also the possibility that the economy will have recovered a bit by the time you graduate, giving you a double leg up. Government funding and other programs are available for out-of-work job seekers who want to enroll in training or continue their education.