By Margaret Steen, for Yahoo! HotJobs
The economy is shaky -- and it may feel like your job is, too. Whether you're already job hunting or believe you may need to soon, there are steps you can take to make yourself more attractive to potential employers. Here are eight tips from the experts on increasing your marketability:
Use Your Name as Your Brand, Especially in Email
Don't confuse potential employers by using your maiden name on your resume and your married name in your email. And the nickname your friends find funny may not look professional.
"Manager jobs don't go to people with cute email addresses," says Marianne Adoradio, a recruiter and career counselor.
Meet an Employer's Need
Employers "want a round peg for the round hole," said Kathryn Ullrich, a career expert and executive recruiter.
You may want to stretch yourself by trying a job you've never done before, but there's not much in that for the employer. Any time you apply for a job, make sure you can tell a story about your career that shows why you would be the best person for the job. "It's really about what the employer is looking for," Ullrich says.
Maintain a Smart Online Profile
"All that stupid stuff you put on Facebook -- take it off," says Richard Phillips, owner of Advantage Career Solutions. At the same time, find industry blogs and forums and start contributing comments.
Ask for Help
"Ask everyone for one thing they would suggest you do if they were in your shoes," Adoradio says. "It seems to reveal things that you wouldn't have thought to ask."
Become Active in a Professional Association
This means doing more than paying dues and showing up for meetings. Find a way to help. For example, perhaps you can organize expert speakers in your field to be on a panel. It will boost your resume, build your self-esteem and give you valuable connections. "You're building up relationships with people who are going to hire you," Ullrich says.
Take a Class or Get a Certificate
This is especially helpful if it teaches you a skill -- new technology that's being used in your field, for example -- that you don't already have.
Take on a New Project at Work
It should be "something that lets you add something new to your resume," Phillips says. "Think in terms of the resume that you're going to be writing. What do you want to have on there that isn't on there now?"
You may not want to commute more than 10 miles, but being willing to bend a bit will open up more opportunities. It will also make you a more attractive candidate because it signals to employers that you're able to handle change.