How to Make This Year the Best Year of Your Career

There is a lot to look forward to this year! Companies continue to add jobs and salaries are expected to modestly increase. This means it’s time to get your search in gear.

What three things can you do to make the most of this economic uptick? Set your sights on joining or building communities, niche-ing and breaking through the noise to jump start your job search and career.

Join or build a community:

LinkedIn is the go-to destination for group discussions, but don’t overlook groups on Facebook or Twitter chats. And speaking of LinkedIn, use the tool. How regularly do you do any of these?

  • Write long-posts
  • Congratulate your connections on milestones and events
  • Offer help within the groups you belong to
  • Introduce two people you think should know each other
  • Share helpful articles

Being part of a community requires you participate. Share your knowledge, expertise or advice and most importantly, help others. And don’t stop there. Join professional associations or groups that meet in-person. There is just no replacement for face-to-face, human to human, interaction. Side effects might include: new relationships, opportunities, reputation as a thought-leader or servant leader, as well as other emotionally beneficial symptoms.

Find your niche:

Don’t try to be all things to all people. What are you known for and do people know this? Focus on the skills you truly enjoy using and that have received recognition. Accentuate these skills and think about how companies could benefit from having someone like you in-house. Dive deeper at your existing employer and look for other opportunities to resolve similar problems. Be that solution!  Besides updating your resume, why not do these instead:

  • Add samples of work to your LinkedIn profile
  • Write three long-posts on LinkedIn to highlight your achievements
  • Build an, or social resume

Breaking through the noise:

Everyone has too much going on. We’re inundated with news feeds, data, to-dos and an overflowing inboxes. How can you break through this noise? Break the cycle or buck your own trends. Instead of the same-old, same-old, mix it up.

One way to do that is by using more visual content. Pictures are easier and faster to digest. Videos, photos, infographics, inspirational memes or quotes are all ways to break the cycle. And these alternative forms of media can have a powerful connection with your audience.

But the best way to break through the noise is by bringing back the personal communication. Pick up the phone, meet in person, humanize and personalize your message. As wonderful as technology is, it often distances you from the people you connect with.

What will you do in 2015 to set yourself apart and earn the credit you deserve?

By Hannah Morgan

Hannah Morgan provides no-nonsense help for new job seekers. She provides advice and serves as a guide to traverse the treacherous terrain of today's economy by focusing on pro-active strategies for job search and leveraging social networks. Career Sherpa is one of many outlets where Hannah shares her information. Follow Hannah on Twitter @careersherpa!