Your New Year’s resolutions are in, and among them is finding a new job. The only problem is that anything to do with your career was basically put on the backburner throughout the holidays, so where do you start? Not to worry, we’ve come up with a quick guide to help you prioritize your job search into six simple steps:

1. Craft your career story

Your first step—a rather obvious one—will be to update your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn. The resume is the best place to start as it can help define your job search by allowing you to reflect on your career timeline, decide which roles you’re actually qualified for, and help inform your cover letter and LinkedIn profile.

Once you’ve completed your resume, your next step is to create a cover letter that supplements your resume. Your cover letter is your opportunity to explain who you are as a candidate, so don’t waste this valuable opportunity to demonstrate how you communicate by reiterating things you put on the resume. Either expand on experience you introduced in the resume, or even better, provide different examples of times you performed really well.

Finally, if you’re using LinkedIn for the first time in a long time, make sure to update your LinkedIn based on your new resume. You’ll also want to start sharing meaningful content and connecting with others on LinkedIn to increase your visibility.

Find more here:

3 Reasons Why You Should Still Use a Cover Letter

The Art of the Cover Letter: Tips for getting noticed and getting an interview

How to Create a “When Can You Start?” Resume

3 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Resume Instantly

3 Tips for Landing Your Next Job on LinkedIn

5 Reasons Why You Should Think of LinkedIn as a Networking Event

2. Gather your resources

Once your job search materials are up to snuff, your next goal should be to increase your credibility and visibility by securing your references and building your network. First, you’ll want to identify strong references that can speak to your abilities. Make sure and touch base with your references, even if they agreed to be references in the past, so you can ensure their willingness to serve as a reference, verify contact information, and give them some background on the types of roles you’re applying for.  

It’s also time to start networking. You might find a position by blindly applying to requisitions on job search engines, but your chances of landing a job are much better if you start making personal connections. Networking events should be gearing up in your area after the new year, so make sure to be on the lookout for events by finding professional organizations you can follow on social media, searching for opportunities on sites like, or (if you’re a college graduate) connecting with your university’s alumni center.

Find more here:

The Dos and Don’ts of References

The Importance of References

Are Your References Derailing Your Job Search?

How to Ask for a Job

3. Start applying

You’ve prepped your job search materials and are building your network; now it’s time to start applying. Again, making professional connections is your best bet at getting your foot in the door, but you’ll still want to apply to jobs that you’re qualified for regardless of whether or not you know someone there. Some people will tell you they landed their job using the “scattershot approach” to their job search by sending out hundreds of generic resumes, but you’ll waste a lot of time and effort by using this method. Instead, we recommend a strategic approach. Identify a few positions every week that you feel you’re a good fit for and tailor your resume/cover letter to meet the demands of what they’re looking for. We’re not talking about a complete resume rewrite for every position you apply to here, instead, spend a few minutes tweaking your resume and cover letter to mention skillsets they’re looking for and provide specific examples of times you demonstrated those skills in a few of your bullets.

Find more here:

Failure to Launch: Common Job Search Mistakes

Some Hard Truths about Searching for a Job

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4. Bring your “A” game to the table

Let’s assume that you’re starting to land some interviews. Now it’s time to conquer the interview by doing your research and planning your approach. First, you’ll want to research the company. Knowing as much as you can about the company prior to the interview will help you phrase the answers to their questions, as you’ll have a better idea about what they’re looking for. Next, you’ll want to plan your interview strategy, including how to talk about your resume, your top strengths, and why you’re worth hiring over other applicants.

Find more here:

What to Know Before You Go: 4 Things to Research About a Company Before the Interview

Doing Your Homework Before a Job Interview

Executive Drafts Founder Jeremy Shreve: Demystifying the Job Interview

How To Interview Your Interviewer

5. Strategize your follow up

The first impressions don’t stop after you leave the interview. Your next step—and this one is important—is to thank the recruiter for their time and remind them why you’d be a good fit for the role. It’s hard to find the time to follow up when you’re already focused on the next interview, but following up with your interviewer is worth your time as it will set you apart as a serious candidate.

Find more here:

After the Interview Checklist

The Art of the Follow Up

6 ‘Thank You’ Note Mistakes [Infographic]

6. Keep your eye on the prize

Job searching isn’t easy. Your success throughout your job search relies not only on your qualifications but also on your mental state. Building a job search strategy and sticking to it will help you to persevere when the rejections are rolling in. In the meantime, don’t sit back and play the waiting game.  Keep networking, updating your application materials, and filling out those applications. When the right job does finally come along, you’ll be glad you did!

Find more here:

Taking Charge of Your Job Search: 3 Quotes to Help You Feel Less Helpless During the Process