New year, new job? Resolutions for working in 2015

Happy New Years!

Don't dress up like the New Year's baby to catch employers' attention. Try these resolutions for working in 2015, instead.

Ah, the lure of New Year’s resolutions, the promise of January 1…who hasn’t been enticed by a fresh new year full of opportunities to do better? But instead of cutting out gluten or committing to read “War and Peace” when you’re at the gym seven days a week, leverage an improved economy and follow the lead of these 2015 optimists to make a resolution that can have a big impact.

According to a new CareerBuilder survey, job seekers are planning big career moves in 2015, as 16 percent of workers are determined to land a new position in the New Year and 30 percent regularly search for job opportunities, even though they’re currently employed. Among workers ages 18 to 34, 23 percent expect to have a new job by year-end.

“While the majority of workers say they’re satisfied in their jobs, an expanding economy and widespread employment gains are motivating them to consider bigger, better opportunities,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “Skilled workers will have more leverage this year as the competition for labor becomes more intense across a variety of job functions. Employers expect to increase salaries on initial job offers in 2015 and may be more willing to negotiate other perks such as flexible work arrangements.”

Here are five tips for using the New Year’s economic growth in your career plans, as well as negotiating knowledge of what other job seekers are wishing for or asking for, to ensure that you get the best career step for your needs.

1. Follow the data
To find the most job opportunities, check out reports published by Economic Modeling Specialists Intl., the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job sites like CareerBuilder.com and staffing firms. These sources can point to which jobs are growing the fastest, the education and skills you’ll need, salary ranges and more.

2. Join a company’s talent network
Online talent networks are a new initiative being embraced by more companies, in order to capture potential job candidates and keep in touch with new job openings. Even if you’re not the right fit for a position today, you could be the perfect fit a few months down the line.

3. Use all resources available to promote your personal brand
Introduce potential employers to your professional brand by every opportunity available: try posting different versions of your resume on job sites to networking online and offline and actively showcasing your skills through social media pages and blog posts.

4. Ask for feedback
Of workers who applied to a job over the last 12 months, but didn’t get it, 44 percent asked the employer for feedback on why they weren’t chosen – which means more than half didn’t. One of the best ways to gain insights on what employers are looking for or how you can interview better is to ask hiring managers directly.

5. Don’t disqualify yourself
If you don’t have the exact skill set a job description is asking for, don’t automatically disqualify yourself, even if you’re new to the workforce. While companies want qualified candidates, they’re also willing to train workers who may have some, but not all, of the skills required for the job. Emphasize your strengths and how they’re relevant to the job at hand, providing examples of ways you’ve contributed to organizations in the past.

What job seekers want
While competitive pay is top of mind for workers looking to make a change, there are certain job factors that workers feel are more important than salary when considering a position:

  • Job stability – 65 percent
  • Location – 57 percent
  • Affordable benefits – 55 percent
  • Good work culture – 46 percent
  • Flexible schedules – 40 percent
  • Career advancement opportunities – 39 percent

When asked if they could choose extra perks to make their workplace more satisfying, the most popular choices workers pointed to include:

  • Half-day Fridays – 40 percent
  • Onsite fitness center – 22 percent
  • Daily catered lunches – 21 percent
  • Massages – 16 percent
  • Being able to wear jeans – 15 percent

Though job searches can be stressful and wear down your optimism of a new year with new opportunities, the key to seeing success in your search this year is to stay focused on what you want and do the research to make it happen. And with knowledge of what other job seekers are asking for, as well as the know-how of job searching in the New Year, you’re sure to check off this resolution with pride and satisfaction.