The new year always brings resolutions and goals for job seekers. Whether it’s to find a better job or build a stronger online presence, the new year is a great time to set goals for your job search. Throughout last year, U.S. job seekers have become more optimistic about their job search. As the job market continues to improve, job seekers will have to think of new ways to gain a competitive advantage during their search. To help you get a jumpstart on your job search in the new year, here are 10 things you can do that will help you prepare for the new year: 1. Improve your persuasive speaking skills. Regardless of whether or not you work in sales, every job seeker needs strong persuasive speaking skills. By improving your persuasive speaking skills, you’ll be able to write stronger cover letters, perform better during job interviews, and even negotiate a higher salary. 2. Join a club or organization you’re passionate about. While it’s important to focus on professional development, you should also spend time investing in your passions. The more involved you get with organizations you’re passionate about, the more likely you’ll discover career opportunities within your niche. 3. Reconnect with your references. As you prepare for your job search, it’s important to keep your references in the loop. Take time to schedule a meeting over the phone or meet with one of your references for coffee. This will give you the opportunity to update them on your current job search and what you hope to accomplish over the upcoming year. 4. Don’t underestimate your traditional resume. The majority of the career advice you’ll read will tell you to create a resume that stands out to employers. Although this is useful advice for people who work in creative industries, it’s important not to neglect your traditional resume. While your traditional resume might seem like a boring document, it will make your accomplishments and skills stand out to employers because you won’t have distracting fonts or colors on your resume. 5. Give your business cards a makeover. Have you been using the same business cards for a year or two now? It might be time to give them a refreshed look. Visit Moo or Minted to create a new business card that reflect your personal yet professional style. 6. Update your professional photos. If you’re still using the same professional headshot you got during your first internship or after graduating from college, it’s a good idea to update your photo. You don’t need a professional photographer to take them for you. All you need is good lighting and a smartphone or digital camera. 7. Re-organize your portfolio. A lot can happen over the year. As you prepare for your 2015 job search, take inventory of your accomplishments from 2014 and prioritize them. When you attend job interviews, you’ll be able to tell employers about your best accomplishments from the last year. 8. Create a reading list. While you might feel a little busy during the holidays, take time to create a reading list. Picking up a book about leadership, career advice, or professional development can help you improve your skills as a professional. 9. Use the right keywords to market yourself online. Keywords are essential to getting noticed by recruiters, hiring managers, and employers online. When you’re ready to update your LinkedIn headline and bio, professional website, and online portfolio, make sure you’re using specific keywords that describe your professional expertise. 10. Make a list of content to write. Whether you consider yourself a writer or not, it doesn’t hurt to create content that will get your name in front of more employers. Make it a goal for this year to create a list of articles or blog posts you’d like to write about your industry. This content will help you build credibility as a professional and position yourself as an industry thought leader. As you enter the job market in the new year, these are a few of the things to give yourself a boost in the new year. By focusing on new ways to build your professional brand and gain new skills, you’ll discover the best strategies for marketing yourself to employers in the new year. What are you doing to prepare for your job search in the new year?