Three Ways to Jump Start Your Job Search
Starting a job search doesn’t have to be difficult. As an HR Consultant and Career Coach I should know. I have seen both sides of the curtain – the employers’ point of view as well as the candidates’. In this post, I’m going to lay out 3 ways you can jump start your job search and share some practical advice along the way:
- Get back to basics and update your resume and LinkedIn profile
- Define your values and research companies that are a match
- Work your network
These 3 steps provide a tried and true method for getting a jump start on your job search.
Step 1: Get Back to Basics with Your Resume & LinkedIn Profile
An easy and important place to start is with your resume and LinkedIn profile. If this is overwhelming, there are qualified experts like me that can help. When I look at a resume through my recruiter lens, here are the things I am looking for:
- Are they qualified? Does a candidate have the actual experience and education required for the job?
- Does the candidate have a stable work history? Has the candidate done too much job hopping in recent years? Are there unexplained gaps on their resume?
- Does the candidate have a steady growth progression – title or responsibilities?
- What kind of results are provided on the resume to show they are a high performer? Think metrics.
- If the candidate states an objective, does it match the role they are applying for? (You’d be surprised how many people miss this!)
- For professional roles: Are their typographical errors, grammatical errors or formatting issues on the resume?
- Does the LinkedIn profile match what is on their resume? Who are they connected to on LI that I know?
- If a cover letter is included with an application, does it sound like they are a long term fit based on what they share?
If you just start here, you’ll be ahead of most candidates.
Step 2: Define Your Values and Research Companies
If you want to truly find a company and career that are fulfilling to you long-term, its pays to do some extra work to define your values. First, I recommend doing this VALUES EXERCISE. When you are clear about your values, then you can be clear about the type of company that you want to work for.
The next step is to do some research. I recommend you create a target company list based on the reviews you find on Indeed and Glassdoor. You’ll likely see some glowing reviews from high-performing staff along with some negative reviews from disgruntled current or former employees. However, please remember the truth is usually somewhere in the middle and there are two sides to every story. Ideally, the reviews and company profile will give you some insight into the company culture and values. Once you have your target company list, you should also visit their website to see if what they offer resonates with you.
Once you have completed this step, you are narrowing the focus to companies where you’ll actually be a fit!
Step 3: Work Your Network
Now that you’ve got your target companies identified and your resume and LinkedIn profile ready, it’s time to start reaching out to people. The best way to start is by using your existing contacts at those companies and networking on LinkedIn. So what exactly does this look like? First you need to set a goal as to how many networking calls are reasonable for you to work towards each week. I suggest 3-5 as a starting point.
Start with people you know and make it easy for them to say yes. People want to help so appeal to that by emailing and ask if they would be willing to give you some advice on your job search and/or tell you about their own company if it’s on your target list. If you can do this in person over coffee or lunch, even better, just be sure to pick up the tab. Make it easy for them to schedule with you by providing a link to your calendar so they can find a time that works for them. Two tools that are easy to use are Calendly and Microsoft Bookings, which I use.
What to Ask
During your networking calls/meetings, be sure to just ask for advice. Say things such as:
- Here’s what I am looking for. What advice do you have for me in my job search?
- Do you know anyone at any of these companies (your target list) that you can introduce me to?
- I’m wanting to work for a company that has these values. (State your values.) What companies come to mind that might be a fit?
- Here’s what I am doing. (Share what steps you have taken so far.) What else do you suggest I do to speed up my job search and find a good fit?
I know that networking sounds daunting to a lot of people, but trust me, it’s really not that hard. And remember, most people are happy to help if they have time – even if you don’t know them. In the end, if you follow these steps, you are more likely to find a good position much sooner rather than later. Plus you reduce your chances of accepting a job that is a poor fit, one where you’ll likely be starting the job search over again within a year.