There is a mountain of job postings saved in your inbox; you are swimming in rejection emails and your motivation is slowly fading. You’re not alone. According to Forbes, the millennial unemployment rate is 12.8 percent, more than double the national average of 4.9 percent.

Luckily, if you’re in the market, the New Year may pose the best time to secure that job according to recruiting experts. Companies are finalizing budgets and that may mean funding for new positions. So how do you use this to your advantage, get ahead of the competition and ensure you get the job? Here are seven easy tips:

1. Write down SMART goals.

Seems simple, but writing down your goals will help stay on track and focused. Start with a few short-term achievable tasks like applying for three jobs by Friday or finishing a DIY house project (they don’t have to be career focused). Studies find if you’re regularly achieving goals – even small ones — you’ll feel more accomplished, and as a result, experience increased productivity and motivation in tackling larger ones.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Reach out to your resources, family, friends or professionals in the job market and build a support group.  For instance, I joined a free community meeting, which provided me networking opportunities, allowed me to talk about my struggles, get honest feedback, and helped keep me accountable.

3. Don’t limit yourself.

When you only focus on positions within a specific field, you are missing other opportunities. In 2016, about 44 percent of recent grads were employed in jobs not requiring degrees. If you’re interested in a company, why not apply? Another unintentional limitation people often do is use one search site. While job sites can be helpful, using an alternative method like searching online for local businesses, can give you a clearer idea of career possibilities. Btw, FirstBank is always accepting applications for various positions.

4. Set up Alerts. 

Setting up Google News Alerts about companies you’re interested in, can save you a lot of time  — and even set you up for success in the interview process. It’s hard to know all the pertinent information about a company, especially when you’re applying at several different organizations. But through a simple process (insert your email address and a specific term or company name, e.g. “Creative Agency Group”), Google News Alerts will email you every time a news story or blog post about that company appears. Pretty soon you may have all the need-to-know updates about your top company choices, and more ammo for your in-person interview.

5. Stand out on paper.

Your resume can help or hinder your ability to get an interview. Get creative and sell yourself for that particular job. Before you submit anything, take your time editing and customizing each resume and application to fit the position. Here’s 13 other helpful tips on how to make your CV pop.

6. Give a STAR-studded Interview.

Interviewing is arguably just as, if not more important as the application. Preparation is key, and this means thinking through top interview questions and answers beforehand. Even simple questions can be daunting, so try using the STAR technique (a tool used to help you provide a compelling and concise response that clearly outlines situation, task, action and result of your previous work/role). If you know some interesting facts or news about the company (wink wink – maybe from your alerts), use them in the interview. They’ll likely take note of how knowledgeable and eager you are about their organization.

7. Be realistic, but keep your head up.

Let’s be honest, your resume is in a pile with several other applicants. However, just because they don’t select you for that position, doesn’t mean that you should cash in your chips. Winston Churchill once said, “success is moving from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm.” This quote couldn’t be more applicable than in today’s job world. Point is, the right job will come along. Keep your head up and move on to the next opportunity.

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