With a year like 2020, we could all use a bit of good luck this spring. Every once in a while, circumstances align and new opportunities present themselves seemingly out of thin air. But, often, a string of what seems like good luck is actually the result of hard work. This can be especially true when it comes to our professional lives and the dreaded job search.
So, in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, here are five ways to make your own luck by being proactive about your job search in 2021.
1. Make LinkedIn Work for You
Get your foot in the door at your dream company by following them on LinkedIn. You’ll be informed about company news, see their values, and get to know their culture from regular updates—and it allows you a chance to engage, to boot. Importantly, you’ll also see any open positions they post—so be ready to apply!
Another simple tip to help your job search is optimizing your LinkedIn profile for keywords. This will help hiring managers or recruiters find you instead of the other way around. Don’t get bogged down in covering everything you’ve ever done. Rather, prioritize skills and expertise that speak to your future ambitions and career goals. Often, recruiters and hiring managers will search for candidates based on these skills—so the more targeted you can be, the more likely you’ll appear in the search results.
2. Leverage Connections
Trading endorsements on LinkedIn is a great way to add credibility to your profile and gain an extra edge. Recruiters will certainly take note if your skillset has been cosigned by a cross-section of professionals. So, if you’re wondering where to start, begin by endorsing others for their individual skills. They will likely return the favor.
Seeking out alumni from your school is an incredibly effective strategy for building out your network as well. You may even find that some of them are working at companies you’ve always had your eye on, making it a valuable connection if an opening becomes available.
3. Polish That Resume
Have you ever tried to recall all your accomplishments from the previous year? Pretty difficult, right? That’s why it’s a good idea to keep your resume up-to-date and looking polished, even if you’re not actively searching for a role yet. This includes not only updating your qualifications, achievements, and past roles, but also spiffing up the design and presentation. There’s no shortage of resume layout ideas out there so don’t be afraid to change things up!
If you do have a particular job in mind, ensure that your resume aligns with the core skills and responsibilities noted in the job description. Tailor it to the job. Even if you haven’t done that exact position before, find ways to draw parallels through transferrable skills or projects so that it’s easy for the hiring manager to see that you’re a great fit.
4. Conduct Informational Interviews
If you’re looking to break into a new industry or change your career path altogether, consider conducting informational interviews. This is an effective, low-stakes way to gain more knowledge about what you’ll need to do in order to succeed in that role or break into that industry.
This is not an interview but, rather, a casual conversation with someone who is already doing that job. Use it as an opportunity to ask questions about their day-to-day activities, skills or certifications needed, and resources that might be helpful to you. Start with friends or family. If no one works in the field or at the job you have your eye on, then check out your LinkedIn connections. Most folks are happy to help, so don’t be shy when it comes to reaching out.
5. Grow Your Credentials
With the rapid pace of change today, it’s important to learn new skills and technologies. Tools we mastered five or even two years ago may now be obsolete, so enrolling in online courses and getting new certifications is a sure-fire way to keep your game sharp.
Webinars are great for this as well—they’re an easy way to pack a ton of nuanced information into a single meeting. Joining professional groups is another great way to stay sharp while exchanging ideas with likeminded people in that field and expanding your network.
Whether you’re happily employed, thinking about something new, or actively seeking new opportunities, there are so many ways you can make your own luck in the job market. Rarely can we predict actual outcomes, but taking critical steps—no matter how small—can place us in position to receive that next opportunity down the road. It may happen next month, maybe not till next year. But being proactive in the here and now is a necessary steppingstone along the way.