The good news is that the economy has finally picked up and with that the job market. The most desirable jobs (as always!) remain difficult to obtain, as there is still much competition, but many other jobs are finally posting openings.
The bad news is that the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which provided an extra 37 weeks of unemployment benefits, is no longer funded as of the end of 2013. If you’re still out of work you’ll need to accelerate your job search efforts before your unemployment benefits run out.
If your job search is so far unsuccessful, it’s time to take a hard look at what you’re doing and make some adjustments for the new year. To that end, here’s some suggestions.
First, make sure your job search is laser-focused. This means only applying for positions that are a close match for your experience and skills. Although the job market is improving, Hiring Managers are still receiving a high number of resumes for most openings. This means they can still afford to be selective and choose only highly qualified candidates to interview. You’ll have better success at landing an interview by applying to three positions for which you’re highly qualified, than by using a shotgun-approach and applying to 30 positions for which you have little applicable qualifications.
Next, take a hard look at your job search efforts and fix what isn’t working. For example, if you’re getting no response to jobs you’ve applied for, even though you know you’re highly qualified, then you should look at your resume and cover letter with a critical eye. Make sure your resume is no longer than two pages and focuses on accomplishments, not activities. Keep your cover letter to more than two thirds of a page in length. Make sure you customize both your resume and your cover letter for each job to which you apply.
If you’re getting interviews (which means your resume and cover letter strategy is working) but not getting called back, then you likely need to brush up on your interview skills. I’ve covered interviewing skills extensively in my blog posts from January of 2012 through July of 2012, so you may want to review those to make certain you’re using best practices.
I wish you the best of luck in 2014!