First Steps When Looking for a New Job
Looking for a new job is more like a road trip than a Sunday drive
If you plan your trip, have a map, and write a schedule, you’ll arrive at your destination and be there on time. The following Job Search Checklist is like your job-search “trip planner”. It’s a simple to follow strategy to systematically pursue the job you want. We invite you to use the checklist and let us know how it works.
Step 1: Sharpen your job search skills
The job search process is one that requires careful analysis, planning and dedication if you hope to succeed. For this, you will need a plan of attack. The concepts and practices for executing your job search campaign are outlined in this document.
Step 2: Identify potential companies that interest you
These are companies that may offer positions comparable to those that would interest you whether advertised or not. Create an entry in the log for each of these companies with all available information you can find.
Step 3: Find out who’s hiring
Identify companies that are actively advertising positions that interest you. Create an entry in the log for each of these companies with all available information that you can find. Try going to their website or look them up by other means to find out as much as possible about these companies.
Step 4: Know what they’re looking for
Carefully read through job advertisements to identify common requirements among the companies/positions that interest you. This should be done according to the most basic skills and work your way up to more advanced skills.
Step 5: Highlight your strengths
List these requirements from least important to most important or most demanding requirements. Now, go down the list and determine which of the key skills you possess. Of the skills that you possess, start with the most advanced qualifications and make sure that these qualifications are mentioned in the upper of the first page of your resume. Bullets can be rearranged or words can be added to existing statements, but these qualifications must have mention in this section. Do not re-write your resume or add content that is not complimentary to the rest of the resume to do this. The resume likely has this information already if you have accurately selected jobs that you possess interest and are moderately qualified for.
Step 6: Revise your resume to match the job
If various positions differ greatly in requirements or fall into two or more groups of similar companies/jobs, it is a good idea to use a certain resume for one group and another copy for another group. A subtle change such as re-arranging sentences to fall in an order so that the content of interest is mentioned first is suitable in most cases.
Step 7: This is your first impression so do it right
Print your resume on a quality 24 lb paper that is light in color. For best results, take your resume to a professional printing center on a flash drive (or email it to them) to have them laser print your resume. Get matching full-page size 9 x 12 envelopes. If you’re able to print addresses directly on the envelopes or can print labels to address the envelopes with it will look more professional than hand-written envelopes. Be sure to include the contact person’s name if available just below the company name and above the address so that it is delivered directly to the intended recipient. Mail all of your resumes out at once, ensuring that each company has the appropriate copy enclosed.
Step 8: Step ahead of the competition
Allow 2 days for local delivery, and four business days for the rest of the addresses you have sent your resume to. On the anticipated day of arrival of your resume, send a copy by email and announce the arrival of the hard copy in the mail. It is best if your email goes out the day before or the exact day that your resume arrives. Mention in the email that you will follow up with them by phone on a specified day and state whether you will call in the morning or afternoon. You should call no later than three business days after your resume arrives.
Step 9: Follow up!
Make follow up calls with your resume and the advertisement (if available) in hand. If you have to make another follow up call next week, ask them if you may contact them next week to see how their selection process is going if there has been no decision made at that time. Continue process until you have an answer, interview or rejection letter. Befriend the person you are calling, call them by their first name after the first call and keep your resume copies handy at all times during the process so that you are better prepared if they should call you unexpectedly.
Related: Interview Follow-Up: Just Do It!
(Bonus) Step 10: Join Our Discussion
For more insights and a community of like-minded professionals join our LinkedIn group Resume Help and Advice for Professionals and Executives.
Click here for a downloadable PDF of this checklist.
Do you have any tips for readers looking for a new job?
Please share them with our community. We love to hear new ideas and helping each other is our main mission. Happy hunting!
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