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Finding a new job may seem impossible right about now. The U.S. economy is still reeling from the coronavirus crisis and the unemployment rate remains elevated. But remember, not all industries have been hit hard by the pandemic. And the shift to remote work means even companies that are not thriving might have downsized their office space and saved money. As such, if you're unhappy in your current job, don't hesitate to seek out a new one in 2021.
In fact, a lot of companies often hire early in the year, when their budgets renew. Perhaps you feel you don't earn enough, your boss micromanages, or you're just plain bored. Whatever your reason, if you're hoping to snag a new role in 2021, here's a list of things to do.
1. Figure out exactly what you're looking for
A focused job search is usually a more successful job search. Don't just blast out your resume indiscriminately. Instead, think about what it is you really want to do professionally. You may want a job in marketing, but what sort of job? Are you looking to do market research, or would you rather work on the advertising end? These are the details you'll need to narrow down so you can look for work efficiently.
2. Hone your resume
Many job seekers assume their resumes should contain a complete summary of their work experience and skills. A better bet, however, is to target your resume to each specific job. Rather than list the details of every job you've held down, aim to highlight specific tasks or skills that show prospective employers you're qualified for the roles you're applying for.
3. Craft a unique cover letter
A bland, boilerplate cover letter could actually hurt your chances of getting a new job. A cover letter should help you make an impression. Take the time to create a cover letter that lets your personality shine through. Talk about your experience and goals, but also the kind of person you are.
4. Determine your minimum salary
Your goal should be to earn enough money to cover your living costs and have enough left over for savings and other long-term objectives, like buying a home. Before you start your job hunt, run the numbers and see what salary you land on. If you're underpaid right now, don't simply aim for any job that pays more. Rather, get a sense of the salary you need and go after it.
Of course, salaries aren't always included in job listings, but some employers may include a salary range. This could give you an idea as to whether a role is a good financial fit or not.
5. Make a benefits wish list
Your salary is only one part of your total compensation. Just as you'll want to make sure you're paid well, you should also be on the lookout for solid workplace benefits. Those might include a reasonable amount of paid time off, health insurance, a retirement plan, and perks like a subsidized gym membership. Make a list of the benefits you're looking for in order of priority so that if offers start coming through, you can see how well they stack up.
6. Tell people you're looking
Networking is one of the most effective ways to find a job. Get in touch with old colleagues, friends, college professors, and anyone else you think may be able to help. That said, exercise a little caution here. If you're friends with some of your current colleagues on social media, for example, you may not want to advertise your job search on your profile. You don't want it to get back to your employer and compromise your existing position before you've found a new one.
Challenging as it may be to find a new job right now, it's not impossible. Just remember, job hunting can practically be a full-time job on its own. So be sure to carve out plenty of time and don't get frustrated if offers don't land in your lap right away. Be persistent and focused. With any luck, you'll have that new role and a great new salary in your bank account at some point in 2021.