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Happy New Year!

Lovely Galley readers, I missed you while I was away, but I can’t deny that I enjoyed not being plugged in constantly. I needed a break from searching and reading and though I feel guilty about it, I’m trying not to.

Many folks say they don’t make New Year’s resolutions because they don’t keep them. Well, I’m making some that I can keep. Don’t make resolutions so outlandish you could never reach them, but at the same time, there is nothing wrong with shooting for the moon. As the poster in my sixth grade classroom said, “even if you miss, you will land among the stars.”

New Year’s Resolutions for those looking for a job and freelancers (I’m doing these too!):

1) Be happy and stop feeling guilty. Be yourself, even if you were laid off. Smile, watch your favorite shows, make your favorite dinner; don’t think every waking moment needs to be devoted to your job search. All work and no play is no good, even if your work is not bringing a paycheck home every two weeks. Do not feel guilty about enjoying yourself, this will not only make you miserable, but it can hinder your job search as you become more and more resentful of your situation.

2) Stay motivated. The position you applied for has been cut, and three of your clients can’t afford you right now. It’s rough and it’s not pleasant, but you can’t let it keep you down. Wallowing and pitying yourself will get you no where. Fall and get back up as many times as it takes. Talk to those around you, visit message boards and vent in your journal when you need to get all that disappointment out. It is normal to be upset, but you still can’t let it get the best of you.

3) Do more for your search. Sending out a pitch letter every two weeks and occasionally leaving your house to go to a networking event is only putting in 50% effort. If you want to see real results, you need to get out there. Tweet 10 times a day on Twitter, attend every free webinar in your field, go to networking events and events that could be networking events (like a reading from a book that was just published about your field—the author and the participants are all potential connections).

4) Use social networks to their fullest. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can bring you new fans and friends, but they can also land you new assignments and score you full-time gigs. Take the time to learn what makes these platforms tick. Get started here:

8 Ways Twitter Can Build Your Freelance Business

10 Traits of Highly Effective Twitter Users

10 Ways to Use LinkedIn

This wont be the last time we talk about these resolutions. I’m going to keep you posted on how I am doing with them every few months, or if something comes up (like me falling off the wagon or reaching a new audience, whatever comes first). I want you to do the same. You don’t have to broadcast it to the world, but every month, revisit your resolutions and give yourself your own progress report.

Here’s to a fabulous 2009! (It can’t be worse than 2008, right??)

Till tomorrow,
C

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chalkboardI have a confession. Though I have mentioned it in previous posts, the truth is, I’m not completely unemployed. Since my job search began (1.5 months ago), I’ve scored myself some freelancing gigs. It’s still a bit away from what I was making at my full-time position, but I’m only even this far because of all the work I’ve been doing and techniques I’ve been learning.

Currently I am freelance editorial assistant at Mommypoppins.com, I write about living on a college budget at Toggin.com, I’m a writer at NewtoNYC.com on things to do in and around New York City and also a writer at Cheapiness.com, where I write about living cheaply but chicly. The only reason I’ve got these going is the same reason I’m getting more hits to this site everyday: tons of reading.

When MySpace started to gain popularity, I remember getting lost on the site for a good couple of hours. I would start on a friend’s page and end up on a teenager’s profile from Miami, reading her blog about throwing a toothbrush at her mother. This is my earliest memory of the real power of the web—jumping around from site to site and ending up far away from where I started, all while gaining something in between (from playing around with my profile to make it look like the others I was stumbling upon, I actually learned a bit of HTML).

I can still get lost for hours on the web, just not on MySpace. Let’s say I start on Twitter and read an article one of my followers posted, like 10 Twitter Tips for Traditional Media. From there I’ll click on related links and end up reading about creative ways people have landed jobs (like circling all the errors on a newsletter and bringing it to the boss saying you can fix it). Then I’ll read someone’s comment on that post, which will take me to a site that makes custom T-shirt resumes. Within an hour I’ve learned, 1- some companies are using Twitter to better customer service 2- I can send a t-shirt that says “Hire Me” to a potential employer and 3- I should be better analyzing the keywords in job postings and putting those words on my resume.

Multiply that by three or so hours a day and my brain is getting some workout. I’ve even created a couple of binders so I can print out helpful resources to highlight, make notes on and refer back to (and finally close some tabs in Mozilla). Today I learned it is OK to respond to people’s messages on Twitter; it’s not Facebook and is meant for people to form relationships. I also learned about new ways to promote myself on social networking sites and about sites like helpareporterout.com, which help find sources and experts for articles.

Learning is key to promoting yourself, really getting out there and getting in people’s faces (and sticking in their minds). What did you learn today?

Till tomorrow,
C

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A couple of weeks ago, I signed up for Twitter. I found that after I told some of my friends I joined, a few didn’t even know what is was. For those of you that don’t know, Twitter is a social networking site that is used kind of like your Facebook status (called microblogging)—quick, 140 character or less messages that let the network in on what you’re doing.

Twitter is used by all different folks for all different reasons. Some update it with messages like “Waiting on line at the supermarket,” others like Barack Obama for example, tweet things like “Asking for your vote today. For polling location info visit http://VoteForChange.com or call 877-874-6226. Make sure everyone votes!” You can see the capabilities a tool like this has for news, media and your job search.

I’ve yet to realize utilize Twitter to its fullest when it comes to networking for jobs. It has really come in handy once (I’ve only been using it for two weeks)—when someone found my Twitter page (which links to this blog), read I was looking for a job and offered to go over my resume with me (he is a career author). This, obviously, is not only a step in the right direction for my Twitter use, but was also extremely helpful for my job search.

Here are a list of links that give advice on using Twitter to network for your job search and freelance opportunities.
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