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Getting a New Job in 2011: How to Maximize Your Chances

Economics may be the dismal science, but even its gloomy practitioners aren't immune to a little New Year's optimism. According to a recent CNN survey of a dozen economists, the consensus view of the coming year is that hiring will improve on a grim 2010, while not exactly offering a jobs bonanza. Unemployment will remain high at nine percent, but the economy will add between 1.3 and 3 million new jobs, according to the economists.

Great, say the 84 percent of you who told Manpower that you wanted to change jobs in 2011. But with nearly one in ten Americans likely to remain out of work, how can you improve your chances of standing out in a crowded labor market? Two career experts offer two different tacks to help you reach your goal of getting a great new gig in 2011.'s Carol Tice focuses on which industries are going to be offering the most openings in a recent post for HotJobs. Her technique is to follow the jobs and focus your search in the following industries, which are set to grow quickly in the coming months:

  • High tech -- The explosion of new mobile gadgets is driving high demand for computer programmers and analysts, says career expert Robin Ryan, the author of 60 Seconds and You're Hired. IT program managers and IT project managers are also needed to oversee technology projects. "You don't have to be a programmer, either," she says of the management-level positions. "You need to be able to communicate well and collaborate, to get things done across departments."
  • Human resources -- When companies look to grow, they need to expand their HR staff to handle recruiting, interviews, hiring, and compliance issues, according to Ryan.
  • Management -- Ryan is seeing more promotions within large companies, and that's creating demand for a range of management roles--for instance, supply-chain manager, marketing manager, and finance manager.
  • Federal government -- The days of the low-paid civil servant are over--nearly half the new hires made during the Obama administration have started at salaries over $100,000, notes Laurence Shatkin, the author of 2011 Career Plan. It's also easier than it used to be to get into federal jobs, because the lengthy civil-service exam has been eliminated. There's major hiring taking place at nearly every federal agency, for a wide variety of jobs, including paralegal, auditor, and electrical engineer.
  • Health care -- The turmoil created by health care reform is making this field a busier place for hiring, says Ryan. To start, there's a need for health care IT specialists who can help hospitals and doctors implement new requirements for sharing electronic medical records.
  • Education -- While K-12 hiring is stymied by state budget cuts, there are plenty of opportunities for training instructors, who teach practical skills at private institutes, at vocational training centers, and through online courses, according to Shatkin.
For average salaries for each of these positions, check out the complete post. Meanwhile, blogger Dorothy Dalton suggests job seekers focus on self-improvement to up their chances of a new gig for the new year. Her advice includes:
  • Check if you have what has become known as a personal brand -- Do you have an updated modern resume and a well maintained professional online profile, both reflecting your career achievements and highlighting what you can offer any potential employer? Do you even know what I'm talking about? If any of this sounds like a foreign language, seek professional help.
  • Evaluate your life and career goals -- Create a strong mission statement with a clear job seeking strategy within a specified time frame.
  • Invest in some personal development -- Take a workshop or course, extend your reading list, renew a subscription to a business magazine or blog and supplement your career goals with some dedicated research or study.
  • Don't burn bridges -- Now you have committed to making that change, tempting though it will be to slacken off slightly, don't. It's still important to maintain 100 percent motivation.
If you're starting to feel hopeful, great, let's just hope the good feelings last through the release of the latest Labor Department jobs report, which is due out on Friday.

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(Image courtesy of Flickr user Tess Aquarium, CC 2.0)
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