If you are one of the people in the Lehigh Valley searching for a job, whether it’s because you were laid off, downsized, or just making a career change, you need to be able to stay at the top of your game.  Become a job candidate that exhibits confidence, ambition, and gets the job with these 10 tips from CareerBuilder.com.

1. Narrow your search
Start by being honest with yourself and what is truly in your scope of a new career.  Stop applying to jobs that you are not qualified for or don’t really want.  It’s a waste of your time, the time you could be spending improving your interviewing skills.  While it’s always great to be willing to learn, most companies want to hire someone who can jump right in and get started without being trained from scratch.

2. Know exactly what you want
Narrowing your job search may force you to ask yourself tough questions like – What kind of job am I really after?  And, what skills can I offer an employer?  If you are unsure of the answer, one suggestion is to make a list of the job skills you excel at and one of the skills you like to use most.  Use these skills as search terms in your job search.

3. Re-evaluate your skillset
If you feel like you’ve looked at every job posting possible and still can’t find one your skills match up with, then it’s time to get some new skills!  The good news for those who are unemployed is that it’s the perfect opportunity to go back to school.  There are even government funding and programs available for out-of-work job seekers who want to enroll in training or continue their education.

4. Set goals
Your overall job may be to get a job, but setting short-term, specific job search goals for the year will help you grow and force you to continuously evaluate your progress.  Improve your networking skills, for example, by holding yourself accountable by joining a professional organization.  Achieving these goals will boost your self-esteem and motivate you to continue searching by providing you with new leads and information.

5. Try something new
If you are stuck in a job search rut, add a new strategy to your repertoire.  Instead of only job searching on-line, try working with a recruiter and setting up informational interviews with industry contacts.  A multi-faceted approach will get the best results.

6. Get a leg up on the competition
If you come across a job that seems perfect for you, do something that will subtly help you stand out from the crowd.  When you find a job posting you want to apply to, find out the name of the hiring manager and send him/her an email directly.

7. Get ahold of your online reputation
When an HR manager searches your name online (and the will do that) you can either take control of what they see, or you can leave it to the powers of the internet gods.

8. Start a website
If you want to take your internet presence one step further, starting a website will showcase your skills and talents in a thorough and interesting way, and it will add to your professionalism and give you credibility.

9. Stay current
You should always be in the loop, even if you are out of work.  Read trade publications, comment on industry blogs, and stay on top of any emerging technologies or policies that may impact your career path.  This will not only help you have a great conversation with an interviewer and keep your professional edge, but it may also give you new ideas about where and how to look for a job.

10. Sell yourself
An interview is no time for modesty, especially in times like these.  When you land an interview, go prepared with at least five examples that demonstrate your best qualities.  That way, when an interviewer asks, “Why should I hire you,” you can talk about how you are such a quick learner and how your entrepreneurial spirit leads you to start your first lawn mowing business at age 16.

The Lehigh Valley has job opportunities available now that include positions at Lehigh Carbon Community College, Northampton Community College, the nursing and health care industry, even Allentown City is looking for a firefighter to add to the team.

Become the best candidate an interviewer will see, and the path to a new career will be one step closer.

What tips do you have for job seekers in the Lehigh Valley?

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