Exercise more. Lose weight. Find a new job.

Do these goals sound familiar? They were some of the most common New Year’s resolutions of 2019, according to an Inc. survey. If you didn’t hit your mark for these, you’re not alone. Now, however, is the perfect time to set your intentions to rock your job search in 2020. Lay the groundwork by tackling these four things.

Modernize your resume

Older resumes often include mission statements. Yet it’s better to focus less on what you want and more on what you can offer future employers. For each organization, you’ll want a targeted resume that showcases your achievements while reflecting the language from their job description. 

For many roles, you’ll need to get past the automated Applicant Tracking System (ATS) before you reach a human reader. What does the ATS care about? Focus on substance over style, using standard fonts and simple formatting. Timothy Thomas, an executive coach, recommends getting past the bots by using Jobscan, a Seattle-based website. “It allows you to compare your current resume with the [company] job description and evaluate it based on multiple criteria: whether it has the right language for the company, which things are the highest priority items, which are hard skills, which are soft skills.” 

Give LinkedIn some love

Your LinkedIn profile is often the first impression you’ll give. Look at your entire profile (photos too!) as a way to tell your story and be discovered with keywords. Consider your profile as sort of a master resume that can — and will — be found online. Use LinkedIn to show your skills, share your projects and engage with its dynamic professional community. 

Manage your online presence 

Besides LinkedIn, many recruiters also look at other social media channels like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. They are part of your online brand. Consider updating your titles and links to be consistent; this will make it easier for recruiters to find and contact you. 

How to scrub your social media presence before a job search

Prepare your stories 

Think about how your actions in previous jobs demonstrated your skills and values. These will help you prepare for behavioral-based interviews, which include prompts like “Tell me about a time when you dealt with ambiguity.” Be prepared to tell succinct and specific stories about your choices. 

The job search is a marathon, not a sprint, so if you invest time now, 2020 could likely surface your next job. By meeting this goal, you might even have more time to hit the gym!

Rebecca Kraus, Seattle Times Explore columnist
Rebecca Kraus, Seattle Times Explore columnist