No matter how much experience you have, a job search is never easy. Whether you’re entering the workforce for the first time, interested in fresh start at a new company, or an executive looking to advance your career, it’s hard to know exactly where to start to make sure you’re doing everything in your power. Here’s a checklist to help navigate a job search.
Start With You
Regardless of your current work situation, do some self-reflection to figure out exactly what you’re looking for. Define your geographical limits, your ideal salary range and job type. If you’re new to the workforce, narrow your search even more. Start listing your strengths and weaknesses, your interests and passions, and your relevant experiences—academia, volunteering, and working. What about the job type and industry?
Update Your Resume
Remember to tailor your resume and cover letter for each job you apply to so you can highlight the appropriate skills and have your qualifications echo the requirements from the job posting. If you’re a veteran in the workforce, remove outdated items—anything that’s more than 15 years old is probably irrelevant. Focus on your accomplishments and show how you’ve added value to your prior employers.
Clean Up Your Social Media
This means two things. First, remove any incriminating photos and vulgar posts from your accounts, personal website or blog. If it wouldn’t make your mom beam with pride, you probably don’t want hiring managers to see it either. Second, make sure your LinkedIn profile reflects your resume and you have plenty of endorsements from colleagues.
Engage Your Network
Even if you hate networking, your contacts are a tool you need to utilize. Tell everyone you know you’re looking for a new job. If you’ve been in the industry a while, you probably have lots of colleagues and former co-workers you can call upon. You might even reach out to industry recruiters who will be able to market your experience and find you a senior-level position. If you’re newer to an industry, you probably have a smaller network, and you might have to be more proactive in reaching out to contacts you meet at career fairs and conferences. Regardless of your experience level, aim to check in with a certain number of contacts each week. And find at least three people who can be your references.
Research the Companies
After you create a list of target companies and industries that interest you, start looking into the companies. Look at their policies, company culture and benefits. Do you know anyone who works there? Will you fit in there?
Prepare for an Interview
Start uploading your resume to job boards and applying to jobs. Research common interview questions and start rehearsing your answers. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel. After each interview, write thank-you notes.
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