Job search involves many components. If you are ready for a new job, here are 8 things you should to do to prepare to launch your search.
1. Update your resume. If you haven’t used your resume in a few years, you’ll need to be sure it’s up to today’s standards (which are constantly changing!). You’ll be competing with job seekers who have used a professional writer to create a marketing piece about them, plus electronic scanning software is becoming more popular with not only corporations, but also most companies with 50+ employees. Refresh with additional job duties, accomplishments/contributions, new training or educational credentials, etc. Also, be sure that you are targeting a specific “type” of job. Ideally, try to customize the resume for each opening. It takes extra time, but the reader will be impressed that you put forth the effort.
2. Develop — or update — your LinkedIn profile. A LinkedIn profile doesn’t replace a resume, but is a complement. Someone looking for a candidate with your skills and experience might conduct a search on LinkedIn and find your profile. Or, someone in your network might be interested in recommending you and forward your LinkedIn profile URL. Most hiring managers will review your LinkedIn profile before deciding to schedule an interview. Including the right keywords is critical.
3. Know what you’re worth: conduct salary research. One of the most often-cited reasons to consider a job search is to increase your salary. But how do you know what you’re worth? There is more salary research data available than ever before. Websites like Glassdoor.com and Salary.com can help you learn how your current salary and benefits package stack up.
4. Build your network. It’s estimated that 60%+ of job seekers land their next job as a result of networking. It’s not just about who you know. It’s about who your contacts know. Many times, it’s the friend-of-a-friend who can help you land your dream job. Grow your network both professionally and personally. You never know who will be the one to introduce you to your next job opportunity.
5. Manage your online reputation. It is safe to assume that the majority of hiring managers will check you out online before they interview you. What will they find when they type your name into Google? How about if they check out your Twitter profile? Or find you on Facebook? Now is the time to conduct a social media assessment and clean up your online profiles.
6. Define your ideal job. “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” That line, from Alice in Wonderland, is important to remember in your job search. If you don’t know what your ideal job looks like, how will you know how to find it? What job title and responsibilities are you interested in? Do you want to work independently, as part of a team, or both? Do you like short- or long-term projects? Who would you report to? Who would report to you? Answering these questions can help you define your ideal position.
7. Create a target list of companies you’d like to work for. Like your ideal job, you probably have a preference for the type of organization you want as your employer. Things to consider include: company size, industry, culture, location, and structure (public, private, family-owned, franchise, nonprofit, etc.). Once you’ve made your list, select the top 5-10 companies that fit your criteria, and conduct more in-depth research.
8. Develop a job search plan. Becoming clear on the strategies you will use for your search, defining the amount of time each week you will spend on specific activities, and identifying milestones will be keys to a successful search. Having clear, measurable actions and goals written down provides a blueprint to follow each day which will keep your momentum going.