It's time to start looking for a new job. Maybe you're at your wits end with the current job, or you would just like something new and fresh. Whatever the reasoning is you need to make sure you have all your ducks in a row and are ready to begin applying for new positions. From collecting all of your application material to looking for the right job that fits your career goals and skills, it can seem like a daunting task to begin applying for new positions. That's exactly why, before you begin feeling overwhelmed with everything you need to prepare for, we have this easy to follow check-list As long as you do these things, you'll be better prepared, have everything you need, and will position yourself as one of the better candidates for potential job openings.
Some of the steps you'll need to perform before going out on the job market include:
- Editing your resume
- Putting together a cover letter
- Updating social media
- Beginning network outreach
- Determining your motivation
Edit That Resume
You need to update your resume. We can't stress that enough. Even if it's just the basics like a job title and employment dates, check through that resume and update everything.
Once you've got the info right, read through it and correct any grammar, spelling, and format issues. This is one issue we see far too often. Even the best resumes are dragged down by poor grammar and spelling.
Have someone you trust to read your resume. Someone with fresh eyes can help out tremendously. From picking out small errors to finding ways to boost the attractiveness of the resume, in this instance, two heads are better than one.
Put Together a Cover Letter
Some jobs only require a resume. Others want a cover letter. If there's an option for a cover letter, always take it. It's an additional way to promote yourself. In the world of business, always take advantage of free advertising. Right now, finding a new job is your business, so do what you can to create an excellent cover letter.
Typing up a new cover letter for every job is tedious and unnecessary. Instead, type up a generic letter. This becomes your own personal template. Then, change the details to fit the job you're applying for (such as the names, job title, and a few other specifics). By doing this, you can quickly send out cover letters formatted for every job without sitting behind a desk and typing out page after page of new cover letters.
Like your resume, read through for errors. We recommend using services like Grammarly to double-check grammar issues. It helps catch issues you likely didn't even realize were problems at the start.
When handing over your resume to a friend for proofing, do the same with your cover letter. They'll help you polish up areas that need pumping up while telling you areas of the cover letter that fall flat or don't flow well.
Update Your Social Media Profiles
In the modern world of business, many companies will look over your social media profiles. They don't want someone who will embarrass the business or who may reflect poorly on the company.
So first, make all your accounts private (especially visual services like Facebook and Instagram). It's best to make your Twitter account private as well, but if you're confident in only posting quality updates, you can leave it open. Realistically, outside of your LinkedIn account, you should set all other social media accounts to private. You don't want a picture a friend posts of you to cost you a job possibility.
As for your LinkedIn account, update this to match your updated resume. Correct job titles and employment dates. It needs to match what you have on your resume. Many companies now exclusively look at LinkedIn (and require you to have a LinkedIn account to even apply for the job).
Begin Your Network Outreach
Now that you have your resume and employment outreach information up to date, it's time to begin networking. The first step is to contact those in your network who will not go back to your current job (if you are currently employed) and inform them of your desire to leave the company. Ask these first contacts what they've heard on the employment front and what kind of jobs they know of that might fit what you're going after.
Check out different employment websites (such as Monster.com) and sign up for email alerts regarding keywords and target phrases. If you have a desired location of employment, but they do not have current openings, request to be added to a job email alert from the business. Many larger companies now provide this service.
Practice your elevator pitch. This is a short speech where you sell yourself in the amount of time it takes an elevator to reach its final destination (think two minutes or less). With an elevator pitch, you cut out the fat and focus on the most important, eye-catching information that both shows your qualifications and helps set you apart. Practice this short pitch on friends you know will provide constructive criticism on what to improve and what works.
What's Motivating You
Looking for a new job is the perfect opportunity to look over your personal motivation. What is it you want out of a new job and why are you leaving for a new career opportunity? Are you just tired of the same old routine or are you looking to achieve a new goal in a different job? By understanding what your current motivation is you'll have a better idea as to what you want (and need) in a new career. Let this guide you in your job applications. Only apply to jobs you believe will help you along toward this career goal.
If you're looking for a new job, you need to properly prepare yourself. We recommend updating your resume and LinkedIn accounts, setting your social media accounts to private (except for LinkedIn) and creating a new cover letter. By performing these tasks and knowing what motivates you in the new job search, you'll have a better opportunity at landing the right position and prove yourself as one of the better candidates on the job market.