New Beginnings: Job Search Checklist

CN_Marc_v1_eWell … here we are in yet another new year. I hope this one will be especially good for all of us — a year that brings wonderful new opportunities for those of you looking for a better job as well as those hoping for a brand new career.

The thing about a new year is that it reminds us that sometimes we need to take a fresh look at things we’re already doing, including our approach to job search. The key thing is not to get stuck with the old while trying to welcome in the new!

Your “new beginnings” job search checklist

One of the first things I ask a new client is to show me their resume, so I can check it out before our first official session. Since I’m seeing it fresh for the first time (something NOT true for the client), I watch my own reactions and make notes. (Having been a hiring manager & resume screener helps, too.)

More often than you can imagine, I find serious mistakes — or at least things that are working against their chances to find a good job. These are often things that they just can’t see for themselves. And it’s not just typos. Sometimes it’s a picture they’ve created that doesn’t connect well (or at all) to the job they want.

And this extends well beyond the resume, into the interview room and even to other things that people just don’t (or can’t) see for themselves. But, of course, this is not what they do for a living. So here are some tips from my own experience I’ve found quite helpful in rebooting a job search!

(1)  Is your resume aimed at the future you want?

When people write their resume, it’s common to think of it as a listing of everything you’ve done. But does that really serve you well? No. You need to edit your resume in a way that optimizes the match going forward, not stuck somewhere in the past. It’s called targeting.

And please don’t underestimate how powerful this can be when it comes to landing a job you want. In resumes, good enough is just not good enough.

=>   How to Write a Strong Resume That Gets You Real Interviews

=>   How To Target Your Resume To Job You Want


(2)  Are you bringing your best game to your job search?

Social media is playing an increasingly important role in job search for many people. While you should know that many jobs still can be gotten without it, to increase your chances of success, any job search campaign nowadays needs to make sure that you show up on and take advantage of the right social media:

=>    Social Media Basics


Google yourself: The one thing that can bring an otherwise successful job search to a screaming halt is a social media RED FLAG. That means, when someone does a search on you, something pops up that you wouldn’t want an employer to see.

For instance, a video of you mooning someone or just drunk as a skunk. Or something awful about you posted by someone else. You’ll want to get those removed if at all possible. So make sure to check out your own name now!

(3)  Are you bringing your best self to the interview?

I’ve interviewed many people over the years that just come in and wing it. They never researched the company. They barely can list the requirements of the job they’re interviewing for. And, most of all, they aren’t clear about what interviewers really look for.

Some articles to help:

=>    How To Prepare for a Job Interview

=>    20 Things an Interviewer Looks For During a Job Interview


(4)  What impression are you really leaving?

Here’s something that a surprising number of job candidates seem to forget: you are being judged every step of the way, from your first contact, to your online profiles, to your in-person interview, and any other thing you do or say that someone connected to the company (at any level) might notice.

Seems horribly unfair, doesn’t it? And a lot of pressure. But the truth is, all you have to do is be prepared (see above) and be polite and respectful, treating everyone well along the way. That includes the person you speak to on the phone, the receptionist, and even the person at the door when you enter the building.

Impressions are made easily and stick — and good ones can go a long way toward how they remember you.

(5)  Is your follow-up technique hurting you?

I have had many hundreds of comments over the years from folks who follow up in a way that can hurt them — and who just don’t have any idea at all about what goes on while waiting to hear back. So they get angry and frustrated, rather than playing it smart. Here are some posts to help:

=>   Interview Follow Up Dos and Don’ts


(6)  Have you covered all your bases?

I probably should have led with this one, because it’s EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. And it’s something many of you only do tentatively, if at all, mostly out of shyness. So what is this magic pill for job search success?

It’s simple: networking.

But not just reaching out to a few new people here and there. A good job search requires that you contact people you know well (like family and friends), or worked with (even years ago), or went to school with (including teachers), or met through social groups or volunteer experiences.

And remember that you are not begging for a favor — desperation shows and is not a winning formula. You are giving someone an opportunity to hire a talented person who will do a good job for them. If you believe in you, others will too. Here’s what you need to know:

=>  Networking Tips Checklist for Job Search


I hope at least some of that helps you find a new beginning — and a job you really want. Good luck!

More articles to help

♦    Getting Your Job Search Started Right!

♦    References Guide and Sample Page

♦    How To Stay Sane (and Employable) While Looking for a Job