7 Tips To Refresh Your Job Search

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Any week in which you start a job search is your personal jobs week. But this week is AOL's Jobs Week, and in acknowledgement, here are seven things you can do to refresh or jumpstart your job search.

They are not unique to Jobs Week and can be done at any time you decide to start. More importantly, they are in no particular order. Do whichever one you like first, and you don't necessarily have to do one a day. You could choose to concentrate on one per week.

But, whenever you feel stuck or in a rut, go back to the list and try another one on for size. The goal is to constantly do something new that refreshes not only your outlook on the world, but gives you a fresh look when the world looks back at you.1. Create Stories. Seven is a good starting number. What are seven stories you can tell a prospective employer, friend, or person at the supermarket about your past work experiences? Try writing at least one story a day for one week, and if you have more than seven don't edit yourself here (see #5 below). Give the stories a title so you remember them easily when on the spot, particularly in an interview. Sample headlines to consider for stories are:
  • The Time I Helped My Employer Make a Difference in The Community
  • The Project Turn Around Miracle, or how I turned around a project that was going bad into something that really worked for the company,
  • Team Spirit -- How I proved I was a great team player
  • Customer Advocate - When I started a project from scratch that helped the company reach a new type of customer.
Do you see a pattern to the stories? They are about you, but more importantly, they are examples of how you, as an employee, helped a company improve something.

2. Write Summaries. Write one summary for LinkedIn that will appear at the top of your profile before your professional experience. You can write a second summary for your resume which should be shorter, but start with LinkedIn. It's the first thing people read when they go to your profile and tells them what you want them to know about you as a person and professional without waiting for them to discover it in the job details. Here's how one person's summary reads:

"Accomplished, talented, and results-driven senior-level marketing leader, with over 15 years of experience coordinating, developing and implementing strategic programs for Fortune 500 companies. Consistently boost revenues and realize cost-saving through integrated branding strategies, and annually exceed goals through active client retention and expansion. "

Granted this is a senior-level person, but can you see how he is not leaving anything to chance? Before an interviewer reads one word on his experience, she knows that this person is a defined performer who understands the importance of growing revenue, gaining clients, and implementing strategies.

3. Gain Recommendations. This is easiest done through LinkedIn. Of course you can bring written recommendations with you to an interview, but people rarely ask for them, and recruiters and hiring managers like the short-cut of looking at the recommendations on LinkedIn. What should you do if the person asks you to write your own recommendation? Do it! I feel the person is lazy, but this gives you the opportunity to again consider your own strengths and put them to paper. They may even lead you to remember a new story for step 1 above!

4. Find Inspirations. Daily is preferable. It's easy to get discouraged when unemployed, but your positive mental attitude is your secret ingredient for presenting yourself as a great employee. Go to the library and find books of daily affirmations, or go online for daily inspirational quotes. Louise Hay is a leader in this field, both for improving health, but also for improving your outlook on all aspects of your life. Your job is just one aspect of your life, and if you can remind yourself how great you are (and you are!), then it automatically spills over to your job hunt.

>>Related Article: 4 Inspirations to Recreate Your Career

5. Edit Yourself. I see many resumes with too many words and too much detail. The famed writer Stephen King advises all writers to edit themselves by 20 percent. It's a rule of thumb you can also use. Pull up your resume on the computer and check the word count. Do the math and challenge yourself to reduce the number of words by 20 percent. I love this challenge, but others find it very hard, so here's a trick – look at your adjectives and words like "the" and "and." Delete them! Resumes can be in full sentences but phrases and bullet points work well and using bullet points can be the simplest trick for reducing your word count.

6. Go to Work for Yourself. What this means is approach each day as if you're going to work. Set your alarm. Get up a set point in time, as close to when you'd get up for an actual job. Then take a shower, comb your hair, put on your game face, and get to work. You could look at job listings, write a summary (see #2 above), or do any task at hand. The point is to create a routine that lets you approach the job hunt as a full-time job and not a part-time hobby.

>>Related Article: The Worst Advice I Received After a Layoff

7. Clean Your Desk.
This first assumes you have a set workspace for your job hunt work. If you don't, create one. Then maintain it. It's confusing and disorienting looking for work. You don't need to add any additional confusion to your personal work day. Make your desk work for you so that lists, stories (# 1 above), and other helpful aids are easily at hand, especially if you're lucky enough to have a phone interview.

It's the little things that matter both in maintaining a positive mental attitude and keeping up your energy levels so you can put your best effort forward. You don't have to be on all the time, but you have to give yourself the tools to make your job search time efficient.

Then, just as you have weekends or days off in a job, give yourself permission to take a day off every now and then. But don't make it an extended holiday. You've got serious work to do.

You're a gem waiting to be discovered by your next employer. Your task is to make sure that you're easily found and don't require too much digging to be uncovered. So when you're feeling blue, dust yourself off. Pick an idea from this list to make yourself shine and desired by the person who is looking for someone just like you!

Yes, it's called Marketing.
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