In a job search, it can be so easy to fall into ruts and passive roles while you wait for things to happen. If you’re looking to refresh yourself and your “hireability” in the new year, there are several things that highly employable people do—and you can do too.
1. Be proactive
This is the big one because it has the most impact on life. If you’re waiting around for an opportunity to fall in your lap, chances are it won’t. Your old roommate isn’t going to call you out of the blue with an interview for your dream job. Your resume isn’t magically going to get in front of the hiring manager at that company you’ve always wanted to work for. That means taking an active role in your job search: looking for new postings, reaching out to people you know who might be able to help, and setting aside regular time to look for jobs or update your application package.
2. Keep your resume up-to-date
Even if you’re not actively in a job hunt, you should always have a fresh, current resume ready to PDF and send. Why? Because it saves time if you happen upon an opportunity—but it also makes you ready to negotiate for a pay raise or a promotion. If it’s been a few months in your job search and you’re not getting the kinds of hits you’d like, then don’t be afraid to keep updating your resume or to create different resumes for different narratives you may want to present, depending on the job opening or company to which you’re applying.
3. Know your worth
This is a big one. A strong sense of what skills and experience you have, plus the current market value for those, will make you a more confident job seeker when it’s time to show you’ve got the stuff. A bit of online research will take you far, with sites like Glassdoor or Salary.com telling you what people with comparable levels of education or skillsets within your location make in similar positions.
It’s also time to think about your personal brand. People who are successful are usually able to express, quickly and succinctly, who they are and what they bring. That elevator pitch will come in handy in interviews or at quick meet-and-greets that may lead to job opportunities.
4. Keep that network up and running
Highly employable people know the value of relationships. Your network isn’t just a source of potential job leads—it also can feed you new information on your field. There’s a huge value in keeping up with your network, and it doesn’t take up much of your time: an email here, a coffee date there, a few comments back and forth on social media. By strengthening your network and being a solid part of someone else’s, you’re helping to build a support system for a long time to come.
5. Take ownership
Successful people take ownership of everything they do, good or bad. It might mean acknowledging mistakes or challenges, or simply stepping up and being responsible for resolving a problem. Employers all want someone who is able to manage themselves effectively, but will also be capable of showing leadership when necessary.
6. Be a good listener
The people that employers want most are those who are able to take in information, examine as many angles as possible, and make intelligent, reasoned decisions—even when there are competing needs or voices. It’s important to make yourself heard, but don’t forget that active, engaged listening is just as important.
7. Always be growing
Employers may be hiring to fill a specific role, but that doesn’t mean they expect that this person will expand to fit a limited scope and then stay the same forever. Companies want team members who are looking to grow their expertise and meet new goals and challenges every year. Having a growth mindset where you’re willing to push yourself out of your usual zones is a vital skill to have when approaching any kind of job search or application process.
8. Be positive
Yeah, I know. It sounds cheesy. But it’s true. If you have a frustrated, negative attitude, it’s going to be very difficult to find good things. People who are successful and sought after by employers are ones who know how to focus on the good things at hand. It’s not about ignoring the bad completely, but rather spending time and energy to nudge things in a better direction.
People who are highly sought by employers are the ones who put time and care into their work. That level of care shines through clearly in every resume or interview, and it’s something that all of us can strive for in order to present ourselves at our most marketable.