It's the New Year, which means people all across the world have their New Year's Resolutions, and all come with the best intentions that "this will be the year I stick to them". If 2013 is the year that you plan to take that next step in your career, you can't just sit back and hope that it happens. You have to MAKE IT HAPPEN! There's no way to guarantee that you will get any certain job, but there are definitely ways to try and make yourself stand out from the crowd. These are just a few tips I can pass along that I've learned throughout my time as a recruiter. Hopefully, they can help you make 2013 a year to remember!

1) If you do not have a LinkedIn profile, you are not serious about advancing your career. Make sure you have a profile, and that it is up-to-date with all of your work experience. Be sure to utilize keywords in your profile that recruiters might be looking for when searching for candidates in a particular specialty, and make sure to add any certifications or licenses you hold. We search LinkedIn every day for great talent, and if you are not on there, we cannot find you!

2) If you are looking to get promoted internally at your current job, dress the part. The old adage of "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have" holds true. Perception is reality, and the sharper you look, the more serious some of the higher-ups will take you.

3) Take the time to completely fill out applications! If you are interested in a job, chances are there are dozens if not hundreds of people also interested and applying for that same position. Why give a recruiter or an HR rep any reason to gloss over yours? Nothing says "I don't really care about your job" as much as leaving sections of the application blank and typing "See Resume". I understand that it takes time to fill out the application, but if that is too much work for you, why would I want to bring you on as part of my team?

4) Ask Questions! If you are in an interview, a good interviewer will always ask you if you have any questions. You should have done your research on the company before the interview, and be armed with questions that show you are genuinely interested in the company. I couldn't possibly tell you everything you need to know about my company in a 30-60 minute interview, and if I did, then you told me that you aren't so interested in my company, but really only interested in collecting a paycheck from us.

5) Be Punctual! This should go without saying, but be on time for your interview. And on time means 5 minutes early. Not 15 minutes early. If you are 15 minutes early, wait in your car. Your recruiter is probably busy, and runs a tight schedule, so that 15 minutes is likely already spoken for.

6) Be Specific! The night before your interview, think of specific examples you can give during an interview about your work experience. What are specific projects you've been involved with, and what specific results did you achieve? What specific boss have you enjoyed working for and why? What specific mistakes have you made and how did you go about correcting them? What specific strengths and weaknesses do you bring to the table? What specific examples can you give about going above and beyond your duties to contribute to the team? You won't be asked everything that you prepare for, but if you don't prepare, you can be caught off guard.

7) Network! Look for networking events that can help to build relationships with those in your industry or the industry you are looking to join. Whether you network in person or through social media, it is important to build your network of contacts.

These are just a few tips to keep in mind as you look for that new opportunity in 2013, so get out there and make it happen! Happy New Year!