Things to Do before Starting Your Job Search
During the upheaval of the last few years, people’s view of their career has shifted. There are many kinds of epiphanies—the realization that your values and those of your company do not align, a dissatisfaction with the social contract your employer has with you and fellow workers, a recognition that you want to pursue an entirely different career path…but all lead to the same place. You are ready to join millions leaving their companies for something new. But what should you do before you hand in that resignation letter?
1. Create a master version of your resume
Get that master version ready—it’s what you’ll use to tailor to individual job descriptions. It should have everything in it (from the last 10-15 years) with as many bullets as you want. Then, when a job comes up you want to apply to, you just tailor accordingly and are able to quickly submit.
2. Organize your applications
We suggest creating a Drive folder for each job you apply to with the name of the company, the position, and the date you applied. Keep your tailored resume, the job description, and your cover letter in the folder so you can refer back easily once you’re talking to the recruiter. It is also a great way to quickly apply to similar jobs. Are you applying to content manager positions at three different companies? You will be able to use similar variations of your resume and even cover letter across companies. You should tailor to what each listing deems most important—but the accomplishments you want to highlight are likely the same.
3. Clean up your social media
Recruiters look through your social media—in fact, “71 percent of U.S. hiring decision-makers agree that looking at candidates’ social media profiles is an effective way to screen applicants.” So go through those old posts and remove anything that could cast you in a negative light or is not representative of the person you are now or in a business setting. That does not mean you need to remove all personality but look at your social media presence with a critical eye and make judicious cuts. While you’re at it, go ahead and make sure everything on your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and you’re marked open for opportunities.
4. Consider where you are right now
Take a step back from your current role, think what you have learned and accomplished, and make a list of the reasons you want to leave. Are you bored? Are you not making enough? Are there no growth opportunities? Do you have no work-life balance? List everything out and see if you really want to leave or if there are some simple fixes you can talk to your manager about that would make this job worth staying at. And if not…
5. Think about what you want
It is easy to feel like anything is better than your current circumstances, but do not jump into a similar (or worse) situation just to get away. Think carefully about the kind of position and culture you’d thrive in. Then focus on looking for positions at the kinds of companies that can meet your needs. Try it like this—ask your network and comb the internet for companies that have the kind of reputation you want. Then see what positions they have open (or reach out to someone in your network and see if they can connect you with who you need to talk to).
6. Connect with your connections
It may be painful for the introverts among us, but networking can make or break the job search. According to HubSpot, up to 85 percent of jobs are filled through networking. So, reach to friends, family, and former coworkers, let them know you are looking for new opportunities, and ask them if they are aware of any job openings you would be a good fit for.
A job will not (and should not be) the most important thing in your life, and the perfect job does not exist. But you do spend a good portion of your life working—it does not have to be (and it will not be) wonderful every second of every day but look for a place that supports your life outside of work, and where you feel satisfaction and engagement with what you are doing.