As the economy recovers, it’s going to become even more important for you to keep your ears open, your eyes tuned and brush up your hard and soft skills. Here are three tips to help you get ahead of the other job-seekers this year:

1 Move away from the traditional resume.
You were taught in college to create a resume out of a Microsoft Word document. Times have changed, and you need to create a virtual resume instead. First, complete your LinkedIn profile by filling out every field and asking for recommendations. Then, turn your profile into a resume by going to

2 Brush up on your soft skills.
A new Kelly Services research study of 100,000 people identified verbal communication as the most important skill for professionals. I also recommend having a strong work ethic, a positive attitude, problem-solving skills, team building skills and the ability to be flexible in work environments.

3 Network online — the right way.
Using social networks to get a job is a great idea only if you invest time in connecting with the right people instead of updating your status with the last meal you ate. Forty-four percent of people said that they unfollow in Twitter because they get too many updates, a report said.

–Dan Schawbelis the author of “Me 2.0,” the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, LLC, and a personal branding expert.

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