By Randi Weitzman, Executive Director, Technology and Marketing and Creative Talent Solutions for Permanent Placement, Robert Half

If advancing your career goals is one of your 2024 resolutions, it’s a good time to explore the job market. Unemployment is low, and the demand for skilled talent is high across many professions.

However, competition can be tough at the beginning of a new year as more candidates start to think about their next career move. So, if you’re looking for a job, you’ll need to put in some work to differentiate yourself from other candidates with the same skill sets.

If you are among the new year’s job seekers, here are some things you can start doing now to help you achieve career goals and find a position that matches your skills, experience and interests in 2024.

Goal #1: Update your resume and LinkedIn profile

There are probably a million other things you’d rather be doing than writing a resume. But having an up-to-date document at your fingertips is worth the time. People often put off revising their resumes until they find an interesting job opportunity. That’s a mistake that could prevent them from applying for the position right away.

Make sure your resume includes an impact statement that highlights your accomplishments and skills and articulates how you’ve saved time and money or generated revenue for your previous employers. An impact statement will help you stand out from other candidates by demonstrating that you can successfully do the job you’re applying for.

While you’re at it, add the impact statement to your LinkedIn profile. Your profile is essentially your online resume, so review it to make sure it reflects the same information as your traditional resume. Recruiters also use LinkedIn to identify passive job seekers. With a solid online profile, you’ll increase the likelihood that a recruiter will take a closer look at you.

Goal #2: Strengthen your skill set

Another way to stand out is to improve your skill set, learn new in-demand skills or pursue a certification. No matter what industry or career you’re in, professional development shows initiative, a commitment to learning and an understanding of what it takes to excel in your field. It also makes it easier to show how you can add value to the organization.

Certain abilities and credentials can also help you negotiate a higher salary. (See Robert Half’s Salary Guide for insight into how much more employers are willing to pay professionals with sought-after skills and certifications for specific roles.)


Goal #3: Prioritize job satisfaction

Now is a good time to assess your job search goals and personal aspirations to determine exactly what type of career opportunity you want to look for. Many professionals today want their jobs to have meaning and a purpose that aligns with their values. This often includes priorities like work-life balance, a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, or employee wellness programs.

Maybe you’d like to change industries or take on a more fulfilling role with greater responsibility. Or maybe you want to have more flexibility through remote or hybrid work options. Get a clear idea of what it will take to make you happy, so you can focus your search on getting what you want.

Goal #4: Audit your online presence

Nearly all potential employers will review your LinkedIn profile to get a better idea of your professional experience and career goals (refer to Goal #1). Hiring managers and recruiters also look at your social media profiles to find out more about who you are as a person. Consider how you present yourself on social media and online forums.

You may need to do some digital housecleaning to remove anything unprofessional from your posts. Make sure all your information is current and accurate and presents you in the best possible light. If there’s anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see — photos from a vacation or your unfiltered thoughts about a politician or a sports team’s poor performance, for example — review your privacy settings. This is especially important for recent college graduates or job seekers just starting their careers.

Goal #5: Expand your professional network

An overwhelming majority of job seekers get hired through networking. Building your professional network is critical to helping you achieve your job search goals.

Research local and national events hosted by professional or alumni organizations or other groups in your profession or industry. Whether attendance is on-site or virtual, remember that first impressions are lasting ones. So, dress professionally and bring your updated resume and digital business cards.

Also, don’t limit your participation to just showing up for events — take an active role by volunteering for a committee or seeking a board position.

You should also reach out to new contacts on LinkedIn and ask trusted colleagues, mentors and friends for their recommendations. Be strategic and genuine when you request to make a connection. And continue to nurture ties with the professional contacts you already have. Building long-lasting relationships that can help you throughout your career is well worth the effort.

Goal #6: Be persistent

Employers today take great care in hiring people likely to thrive in their unique organization. So, even if you’re a top candidate for a job, it may take weeks and several rounds of interviewing before you hear back about a final decision.

Don’t get discouraged — and do follow up. Send a handwritten thank-you note or email that shows your continuing interest in the job. Also, stay in touch with the hiring manager to keep your name top of mind.

While you’re waiting for an employer to make a decision, keep networking and applying to other jobs that interest you. You should also consider building a relationship with a professional recruiter. Find a recruiter in your city who knows the market inside and out and will use their exclusive relationships with hiring managers to help you access roles that aren’t advertised publicly.

Goal #7 Prepare for upcoming interviews

Preparation is the key to a successful interview. Research the companies and people who may interview you well ahead of time. That way, you’ll be ready to ask informed questions about the company and why you want to work there.

Also, take some time to brush up on your interviewing skills and practice how you’ll articulate the value you can bring to a company.

Most candidates start the interview process online, so make sure you are camera-ready, and your technology is working properly.

Best of luck in realizing your job search goals — and achieving all your other 2024 goals!

Read the post Interview Tips to Help You Land the Job You Want.

Follow Randi Weitzman on LinkedIn.