jump start job searchAre you determined to find a new job in the new year?

If so, you’re not alone. On average, 10% of Americans include a job search on their list of resolutions — that’s a whopping 31,890,000 people! Finding a new job is the fourth most common new year’s resolution, behind only weight loss, improving finances, and exercising more.

When you start your job hunt in January, it’s easy to approach it with energy and enthusiasm. But if you’ve already been hunting for a while, it’s hard not to feel discouraged as you continue your job search into the new year. To regain your momentum and restart your job search with a bang, use these five tactics to make the new year work for you.

Rethink Your Strategy

The beginning of the year is a slow time in most businesses. They’re still recovering from the holidays, setting their new financial plans in place, and waiting for employees to come back from vacation. Many companies don’t begin posting open positions until several weeks into the new year. Even companies that are in the middle of a candidate search often put hiring on hold for a little while.

This slow time is the perfect opportunity for you to take a break from the relentless pace of job hunting and take stock of your search strategy. Ask yourself:

  • Are you looking in the right places?
  • Do you need to set up informational interviews?
  • Should you be networking more?
  • Are your application materials still strong?

Be honest with yourself and use your answers to craft a more targeted strategy for your job hunt in the new year.

Get a Fresh Resume Ready

A lot of companies destroy old paperwork or delete files at the end of the year to clear out space. That means you have an opportunity to make a new impression.

Before you start sending out a new round of cover letters and resumes, make sure your information is as current and up-to-date as possible. Add in new skills and make sure to emphasize your achievements. This is also a great time to update your information on sites like Monster or LinkedIn. And if there are any companies that you know kept your information on file, be sure to send them your new documents.

Start Volunteering

Want to combine your new year’s resolutions with a good job search tactic? Start using your skills and experience to volunteer in your community.

If you don’t have a job, only work part-time, or are underemployed, volunteering will fill in gaps on your resume. No matter what your career field is, you’ll be able to find a charity or non-profit that needs your skills. Even one day a week will give you valuable experience and make a good impression on future employers. You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing something positive for your community — and you never know when you’ll meet someone who can point you in the direction of your next job!

Get Expert Help

Many businesses have sales at the beginning of the year in order to land new customers. These include career development services like coaching, resume rewriting, and professional conventions. If you’ve been thinking about using one of these services but have been discouraged by the cost, the new year is a great time to finally take the plunge.

Take Stock of Your Skills

If your 2015 job search taught you that you are missing certain key skills that will help you get ahead in your industry, the new year is the best time to invest in professional developing.

Are there online courses that will teach you relevant skills? Will a class at the community college improve your resume? Should you pursue a professional certification? Many programs begin in January, so now is the time to look at what’s available and commit to learning a new skill set that will make you a better job candidate.

Back to You

Are you part of the 10% of the population that resolved to find a new job in the new year?

What tactics will you use to stand out?

Share your tips in the comments!