Looking for a new job but feeling overwhelmed? Step back and take a look at the bigger picture. Having a good foundation will make your search easier and more focused. Here are ten tips to get you started:
1. Dream big. Give yourself the gift of time and come up with a plan. What do you like to do? Where do you want to be in one year, five, ten years? How much money do you want to make? What is your ideal job? Get a visual; picture yourself in your new story.
2. Scan the market. What jobs are available in your area? What are available remotely? What’s trending? What opportunities keep popping up?
3. Know your boundaries. Office or home or both? Travel, some, or none? Can you work outside a 9-5 parameter? Fluorescent lights, no windows, climate-controlled air? Parking, commute, lunch room, coffee available? If you’re in a situation now that isn’t working for you, pinpoint what the problems are.
4. Start looking for jobs online. Find a few that intrigue you and note the keywords. Once you start to see a pattern, you’ll have a guideline for your resume.
5. Get your resume done. Try to keep it one page. Go back about ten years. Don’t copy your job description. Use action words and numbers. Your purpose is to show what problem you solved and/or how you made or saved money in each position. Your goal is to get the interview. (Once you have the interview, then you can decide if you want the job.) Have someone proof your resume.
6. Complete your LinkedIn profile. And that includes a head shot. A professional-ish picture. No sunglasses, hats, vacation-wear, wedding pictures cropped, or other people in the background. Just you, looking naturally professional. If you’re not on LinkedIn, to a recruiter you don’t exist.
7. Sign up for job search sites in addition to LinkedIn including: Indeed, Career Builder, SimplyHired, Robert Half, Glassdoor, Ziprecruiter, and Facebook. Upload your resume. Sign up for notifications.
8. Study up! Read everything you can about the companies you’re interested in. Read their website, follow them on their social networks, and do a google search to see what is going on currently. Especially in your local newspapers, if you’re looking locally.
9. Network: Do a deep dive in LinkedIn and see if you have any contacts at the companies and positions you’re interested in. Reach out with an InMail. Go to networking events in real life. Your chamber of commerce is a good place to start. Have a business card on hand at all times.
10. Stay on track: Looking for a job can be overwhelming, emotional, exhausting, and a huge blow to your ego. Have support systems in place. Reward your successes, accept rejection and learn from it. It’s helpful to have a coach or friend to keep you motivated. Read job search blogs for inspiration and tips. My favorite is career advice from The Muse. There are many more blogs available.
Once you commit to a job search, there should be a shift in your approach. You may have started with daydreaming about a better life and then moved on to listing all that you’ve accomplished. Congratulations on taking those first big steps! And now, get over yourself. Yeah, you’re great. But if you can get past that, here’s a tip on what will get you the next job: It’s not about you - It’s about the company you’re applying to and what problem you can solve for them.