Guess what I like most about New Year’s? No, it’s not watching the ball drop in Times Square on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.” However, I have to admit, I do enjoy watching the show. Actually, my true secret pleasure is hearing people talk about their New Year’s resolutions. And it’s usually the same people who have the same resolutions. For example, I love listening to my cousin talk about this being the year he eats better, or how my brother is going to quit smoking finally.
Everyone seems to think there is a reset button when the New Year begins. The irony is that most people can’t seem to sustain their resolutions, my cousin and brother included. But hey, I give them credit for trying. Some resolutions just seem impossible to stick to. My cousin’s weakness is chili cheese fries and my brother’s is a stick of Marlboro. So with that in mind I thought I would help those who have a more manageable resolution, getting a new job.
If your New Year’s resolution is to get a new job, I have two words for you—BE PROACTIVE. The days of submitting your resume and hoping you get a phone call are long gone. Unless you have a glowing resume or have 100% of the requirements from a job posting, the odds of you getting a call are low. Think about it this way, for every job posting that looks appealing, you can bet hundreds, even thousands find it appealing as well. No employer is going to interview everyone that submits a resume. They’ll probably select a handful of people to meet with. So we’re talking about a very small percentage. Just sending your resume to a bunch of job postings isn’t my definition of being proactive.
One of the best ways of getting a new job is through networking. Believe it or not, a high percentage of companies rely very heavily on employee referrals. In fact, I bet your current company probably has some sort of employee referral program in place. Employers love employee referrals because those individuals tend to be higher quality. These candidates come prescreened by the referring employee and there is no way that he/she wants to ruin their reputation by referring someone subpar.
Before you start spamming various job postings with your resume, pause and think about all of your relatives, friends, classmates, and former coworkers. Reach out to them and see where they are working. Ask them if there are any job openings there or if they know others who may be looking to hire. Ask them to put in a good word for you; ask them to refer you to other hiring managers; ask for names of other people you can connect with. There is no shame in asking; don’t be embarrassed to network.
Incidentally, one of the best employees that I ever hired got an opportunity because he reached out to me through a referral. If he had submitted a resume, I probably wouldn’t have given him the time of day. His resume had many holes and really didn’t have the ideal background for what I was looking for on paper. However, after speaking to him, I saw something in him that you couldn’t see on a resume, so I gave him a shot. He is still with me to this day eight years later.
In any event, if you are one of those individuals whose resolution is to get a new job, don’t just point and click submit with your mouse. Pick up the phone and make some calls. Talk to people. I guarantee you will have more success with your resolution than either my cousin or my brother.
Song Woo, an employment and career management expert, is the President and CEO of Lighthouse Management Group.