Ok, so... January is almost over and you are struggling with continuing to get in shape and pay off the holiday credit. (You're in good company! I'm right there with you!) Have you taken a few moments to figure out how to make yourself a better candidate for a new job opportunity in 2014?

Whether or not you are currently employed, take a moment to think about self improvement. What did you do in 2013 in order to make yourself more valuable to the company you work for, your manager, or your future employer?

Many people expect that they have the right to be promoted/hired while doing nothing out of the ordinary. Those individuals getting promoted are doing quite a bit out of the ordinary of their everyday job. Some ideas may be:

-Take a class in your field. Better, enroll towards a higher level degree than what you currently have! In my years of recruiting, I have never heard someone being passed over on a promotion for having too much education. It's never too late, and there are many online courses to assist older students with families and careers in completing collegiate degrees.

-Start a blog. Get intricately familiar with your subject of choice! Your writing and communication skills are sure to improve! Talk to them. Maybe even help them too! You can start a local networking event if you know enough people from various industries.

-Get involved in your community. Becoming a more well-rounded person makes you a better employee.

-Most importantly, make sure your attendance is impeccable! Nobody likes a pilot who cancels at 3 am before a flight! Stay until the job gets done. Put in 100%, consistently, every day.

Let's set the bar higher for 2014! No more mediocrity. Let's show the world how it's done and all get promoted!!!
Due to a number of personal choices, including stay-at-home parenting, caring for an elderly relative, and layoffs in the marketplace, many candidates are faced with a very uncomfortable dilemma: how to best represent yourself to compete with candidates who have been working consistently for the last few years.

To start, outline what transferable skills you have, whether from a stay at home parent or caretaker. Some of these may include: budgeting, negotiation, multitasking, organization, and scheduling. Apply how the skill would work with the job to which you are interested.

A second idea is to take a refresher course on industry specific software. There are many inexpensive community courses (like at your local middle or high school through Continuing Education) that will assist you in brushing up on your technical expertise.

Additionally, consider the volunteer experience which you have obtained, such as PTA work or school volunteer. Many of those roles offer the same transferrable skills as paid employment. If you have not volunteered, perhaps now is a good time to start, while easing yourself back into the professional world.

Lastly, a great way to get your foot in the door is to temp. There are agencies specializing in a variety of clerical, industrial, and professional roles. That is a great way to showcase your talents to hiring managers! In fact, when I ran a highly profitable temp desk as a recruiter, I converted over 80% of my employees through temp-to-hire! Many of them made more than they did while temping. And even if your first temp employer does not provide you with an offer, being exposed to a variety of organizations and software will assist you in becoming more marketable! Happy hunting!!!