Get Energized for Job Searching in 2011

As we begin to look to the promises of the New Year, we can see that times are changing: the economy is strengthening, and there are good reasons to be excited about prospects for 2011!

The 2010-11 Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics highlights a decade-long growth trend in most professional sectors1, including services, management, healthcare, education, and information technology, reflecting a continued shift away from production and toward professional service throughout the United States. While these projections run long term, the early impacts can already be felt as an aging "baby boomer" workforce is retiring and the many projects and programs that sat on hold during tighter times receive a breath of new life.

There will likely be new opportunities and slow yet steady growth on the horizon, as well as new prospects for experienced and mid-career professionals. As companies make the transition back into a growth posture, they tend toward conservative first steps, favoring those with a record of proven results. In turn, this means 2011 is shaping up to be a better year for those who are looking to get back to work. And while making a career change involves a more complex and competitive job search, the future will be brighter here, as well.

Perhaps the brightest outlook is for new graduates. After the less-than-stellar prospects in 2010, current projections show a 13.5% increase for 2011 according to a report released by The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)2. The strongest growth will be seen in the West (23.5%) with even the slowest growth (8.3% in the Southeast) being a great improvement.

These growth trends mean opportunities; however, competition will still be fierce and a powerful resume and an effective job search campaign is vital to standing out from the crowd and getting the attention of hiring managers. To ensure you start the new year with your best foot forward, consider this helpful tips:

  1. Be sure that your resume is up to date, strategically written and focused, and accurate (proofread, proofread, proofread). For improving your resume and gaining a competitive edge, seek out professional resume writing services.
  2. Reach out to recruiters, and develop your professional network—both online and off—to gain access to the "hidden job market" and improve your chances of catching the attention of hiring managers. Don't forget to include job sites and professional social media sites as part of your strategy!
  3. Attend career fairs to explore new opportunities and get in contact with hiring agents from a large number of companies. Attendance by companies at career fairs is already increasing and is expected to continue to grow.3
  4. Keep your options open: Often the most effective job search campaigns happen because the job seeker had the flexibility to relocate, change industries, or start at a lower level within a new company. Especially for students, being willing to take an entry-level and less related role can help them get their foot in the door.4

A new year brings with it new opportunities. There is no question the job market in 2010 was grim: even if you have been struggling to find the right position with the right company during 2010, the next year will bring new prospects and new chances for the right fit! So don't let the last year haunt your job search: Stay energized, stay focused, and stay mentally prepared to accept the perfect opportunity.

  3. ibid
  4. ibid

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