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5 Resolutions to Help You Get Hired in '09

New Year's ResolutionsIs your number one goal for the new year to land a new job? Or maybe, you just want to be prepared in case you're forced into the job market. To improve your chances in either case, set these five New Year's resolutions today – and stick to them!

In 2009, I will:

• Get and keep my resume up to date.

If you only look at your resume when it's time to launch a job search, you'll struggle to find the right accomplishments and skills to emphasize, and the right words to express them. That's why it's important that your resume be a living, breathing document that's stored electronically and updated with every new skill you learn and each on-the-job accomplishment - as you acquire them. To add even more life to your resume, use vigorous action words to describe your accomplishments.

• Practice interviewing before the interviews.

If you can't present yourself and your skills well, you'll talk your way right out of a job opportunity. You need to be able to articulate your personal value proposition, and confidently answer the questions you expect the hiring manager to ask. The best way to build the needed confidence is to practice. Plan and rehearse your answers until they come easily. Even better, have a trusted family member or friend ask you questions – especially tough ones - to help you fine tune your presentation.

• Take advantage of every networking opportunity – in person and online.

Even if you're not looking for a new job, it pays to build a network of people who share common interests, from college alumni to people who perform similar functions in your industry. You never know if someone in your network knows someone else who might lead you to that next great career opportunity. Check out job search or networking groups in your area, and consider creating an online professional profile on LinkedIn, Plaxo, or any of the other social networking sites.

• Focus on the employer's needs.

During the hiring process, prospective employers could care less about where you want to take your career or what you can gain by working for them. They want to know how you can give them what they need to help them run or improve the business. Make that the focus of your resume, cover letter, and job interviews.

• Not use the recession as a reason to stay put.

If you believe you deserve something better than what your current job offers, don't let the recession scare you into staying where you are. During downtimes, many employers plan for the inevitable return of good times, and they'll try to fill positions that will help them toward that turnaround and beyond.

How do these resolutions sit with you? Which ones would you emphasize the most? Please share your views below – and Happy New Year!

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