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Take Control of Your Career in 2014 with Top Resolutions for Job Seekers

By Stephanie Anderson

Are you wishing for a new job in the new year? Whether you’re currently unemployed or want to move up in your career, finding a new job can be a lot of work. If you want to take control of your career in 2014, here are three things to put on your must-do list:
 
1. Look closely at your digital footprint
All those social media sites mean more of your personal information lives online. If you think employers don’t look at your online presence, you’re mistaken. A 2013 Forbes article suggests 37 percent of employers use social media to screen talent and, furthermore, one third have found content that caused them to eliminate the candidate for the position.
 
That’s why your first resolution is to take action and thoroughly review what’s on all your social media sites. You absolutely must present a professional image because it might mean the difference between getting your dream job and getting passed over. Don’t forget old photos and posts, as well as comments from some of your more boisterous friends.
 
2. Be a better networker
It’s been said many times over, but networking is one of the best ways to get a new job. Who you know really does matter, and the new year is the perfect time to get back in the networking game.
 
Your goal is to create a pool of quality contacts, but where do you start? Use those social media profiles to reconnect with former colleagues and classmates. Utilize your college’s alumni association—don’t just join, attend events and mingle. Look into professional organizations in your area and go to a meeting. Since you’ll be visiting relatives over the holidays, chat about your career aspirations and ask if they know anyone in your field. You’ll be amazed who knows who and how a simple conversation can lead to a lunch or informational interview.
 
3. Make your resume shine
It’s that one page of paper that perhaps represents your personal brand better than anything else, so if you haven’t updated it in a year (or more) it’s time for a wakeup call. The content must speak to the job you’re applying for—that means no cookie-cutter resumes and cover letters. Each time you apply for a position you should tweak your resume with care to speak directly to that particular hiring manager.
 
Don’t be afraid to have someone critique your resume. The insight can be invaluable. If your resume is looking sparse, brush up on skills and demonstrate your proactive spirit by taking an educational class or volunteer at a nonprofit. Remember, you literally have seconds to pique an employer’s interest with what’s on your resume, so make every word count.
Good luck and happy job hunting in 2014!