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The Top 10 Career Tips of 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012

This year began much like many others before it: full of promise. Each new year brings about a sense of renewal and an outlook for change. For job seekers, 2012 meant finally getting the job they've been looking long and hard for.

As 2013 inches closer, job seekers are gearing up for another new beginning. There was no shortage of career advice throughout this year, and as you probably know, some of it was more useful than others. Trial and error is just another aspect of the job search. It takes trying out different approaches before finding the one that suits you best.

When you think back to the career advice you followed, were there some that worked for you more than others? Were there some that didn't help you at all? Moving forward can be difficult without looking back at where you've been so it's important to weed out what worked and what didn't.

While everyone's plan for their job search is different, here are some of the 2012 job tips that stood out from the rest:

1) Use your alma mater to your advantage. Your college network is a great resource to tap into. Career assistance is becoming increasingly more available to graduates and alumni which provides a familiar starting point to work from.

2) Volunteer work can lead to paid work. Anything that gets you out of the house and on-board with any organization or cause is something that can open doors. Opportunities are presented in the outside world which is why getting out and being proactive is better than doing nothing even if you're not monetarily compensated. Volunteering can be used to your advantage when you apply for a job later and have something that fills in gaps on your resume.

3) These three websites can help you land a government job. To learn about which positions federal agencies need filled, visit USAjobs.gov. The other two sites that will help you are Making the Difference, and The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government. Both sites are sponsored by the Partnership for Public Service and describe working in ths public service sector as well as how to apply for jobs.

4) Find a younger mentor. This may seem counterintuitive but older workers and job seekers and actually learn a lot from younger generations in the workforce. Most know the latest trends in developing technology and leveraging their knowledge can keep you relevant and in-the-know.

5) Take a mathematic approach. Paul Bernard, a New York City career coach, suggests using a 10-20-70 rule. Using this formula, you would spend 10 percent of your time job hunting, 20 percent talking with recruiters, and 70 percent networking online and in-person. This formula is designed to focus your efforts and attention to building relationships with industry professionals that will ultimately make the most of your search.

6) Incorporate your social media handles in your emails. Including links to your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles shows that you're reachable beyond the basic phone and email. The networks that you're connected to also says a lot about you. You want people to see that you're plugged in and encourage them to connect with you.

7) Be versatile among generations. Generation labels can often limit you though they are mainly a way to categorize different levels of employees and their experience. Be able to adapt to any type of working environment by staying current with industry changes and leaders. You add value to yourself as an employee by being comfortable in any zone.

8) Consider business incubators and accelerators. For entrepreneurs trying to launch their businesses, business incubators and accelerators are great tools to help get things going. Incubators are programs that are meant to reduce start-up costs over the first one to five years. Accelerators focus more on launching tech companies with the help of a cash bonus for three to six months.

9) Take care of your heart. This advice may be more unconventional but nonetheless as important as any other piece of career advice. According to a study done by Duke University, people between the ages of 51 and 75 who were unemployed had a higher chance of getting a heart attack than others. Be sure not to neglect your overall well-being and health while working hard on the job hunt.

10) Cool off when feeling burnt out. Taking perodic breaks or slowing down is important for maintaining steady productivity. There needs to be a balance of working hard and playing hard. Allowing yourself some much-deserved time off from everyday stresses helps prevent having a total meltdown.

What were some career tips that you found most useful in your 2012 job search?