Looking to kick off a new decade with a new job? Make your job search smart and efficient with these tips.
With a new year comes a chance to begin anew. We set goals. We make plans. We reflect on what we want in our lives, and who we want to be.
As we begin a new decade, maybe you’re thinking about making changes in your career. If you want a new job to be on your horizon this 2020, here’s how to turn that goal into a reality.
Envision your dream career, and put it on paper.
Visualize your dream job. As you wake up to a new workday, where are you headed? What are you wearing? What is your agenda for the day? Think about your ideal company. Picture your ideal work environment. Imagine skills and tasks that excite and challenge you. What are they? Write all these thoughts and ideas down.

Compare dream vs. reality.
Take a hard look at your current work experience and skills. What aspects of your job to you excel at? What parts of it give you a sense of fulfillment, and what parts of it do you dislike or want to change? What’s your present work environment like?
Put your dream and reality side by side. What are the differences and similarities? Are there gaps between what you want to do and the knowledge and experience you currently have? Make a list of the things you would have to learn and know to make that vision real.

Beef up your knowledge and skills.
Sign up for classes and seminars. Search for free web courses and online videos. Read up on trends and forecasts, case studies and industry reports. You’ve identified what you need to learn—now, it’s time to gain that knowledge.

Clean up your social media.
We live in a digital world. Before you even begin your job search, it would be wise to clean up and curate your social media. Go over your posts and photos from the viewpoint of a prospective employer. Review your privacy and security settings. The Internet may not be physically tangible, but its effects can last forever.

Build your professional brand.
Create—or update—your profile on business networking sites to position yourself as an ideal candidate for your dream job. Join interest-based and business groups to widen your professional network. Showcase your skills and accomplishments through a portfolio of work samples: blog posts, photos, videos, and case studies. Get endorsements and recommendations from your peers.
By having a strong professional brand online, you can connect with other professionals in your industry and show recruiters and prospective employers that you’re the kind of employee they’d want on their team.

You’ve identified the kind of job you want and have begun gaining the skills to excel at it. You’ve cleaned up your social media. You’ve established your professional online brand. Now, it’s time to start job hunting. From job search engine sites to company websites, networking sites, and job banks, there is a wealth of online resources for your job hunt. You can also use various apps, widgets, and other tools when looking for a job. Keep your job search focused by using keywords that match your skills, interests, desired job positions and locations. The technology is there, so use it to your advantage!

Write a strong, simple resume that fits the job description.
Read the job posting carefully. What professional qualifications do you have that match the job opening? Give details of your work history that show the skills and experience that they’re looking for. Be mindful of how applicant tracking system software works. Make sure your resume matches keywords in the job description, use traditional fonts that the software can read, and keep your format simple—no headers or footers, columns or tables.

Reach out to your professional and social contacts.
You never know who might be able to help you get a foot in the door, so connect with past mentors and former colleagues. Send an email to an old college friend. Have coffee with a cousin who may have connections to the company you’re eyeing. Explore networking opportunities at your university, or join a professional association if you haven’t yet. The point is to get yourself—and your desire for a new career—out there.

Keep fighting the good fight.
If a job offer comes your way, be prepared to ace that interview. If you don’t make the cut, don’t be discouraged. You’ve put in the hard work; you just need to stay motivated until you find the right opportunity. And if you do decide to make the big leap into the new and unknown, be brave and open to the changes. It’s a new decade, and 2020 can’t wait to meet the new you.