You’ve just (re-)entered the job market and are ready to get started and find that next job. Before you call everybody in your network, scan all the ads, and send out an email blast with your resume, stop, step back, and get organized.
before activating your job search: The Checklist
What kind of job do you want?
The clearer you are about what you want, the easier it will be to find it. Clearly define what your strengths are, what contributions you can make to an employer, and what your job search goals are.
Are your resume and LinkedIn profile up-to-date, up-to-standards, and in sync?
Don’t just add your last job to the same old resume you’ve been using for years. Brush it up, do some research into prevalent resume styles, and get input from others. Resume styles and technical requirements — such as applicant tracking systems — change! Make sure your resume and your LinkedIn profile convey the same message. If you’d like expert help, contact us at the Career Center.
Is your online and phone presence free of incriminating evidence?
Google yourself to be aware of what pops up if a potential employer googles you (most of them will). Check the photos on your social media accounts. Check your voicemail message. It should be short and crisp, along the lines of “You have reached Jane Smith. I can’t come to the phone right now, please leave a message.” No music and positively nothing like “Yo, I’m too hung over to answer the phone right now, leave a message”.
Is your email address professional?
If you have an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, don’t use it for your job search. Create a new professional sounding email address like firstname.lastname@example.org that you only use while job searching.
Last but not least, be organized.
When you are out of work, it is easy to lose track of time and just go with the flow. Give yourself a daily schedule. Keep track of all your calls, contacts you made, and applications submitted. Schedule hours for job searching and schedule time for self-care. Looking for a job can be lonesome and easily veer into negativity. Make sure you have a support system in place, carve out enough time to meet with friends, exercise, and do other things that make you feel good!
Written by Anne Nowak, Certified Job and Career Development Coach.
If you’d like expert help with you job search, contact the Career Center for assistance.
Note: This article was originally published in January 2017, and has been re-posted with updates to reach a new audience.