The job market is still booming, with an unemployment rate of 3.6% nationwide; it is still a great time to find a new job. But with all the online job boards and different ways to apply, how do you start a job search and find a role that checks all the boxes?
Review your career goals:
This first step is the most important and will lay the foundation for finding the right position. Before you update your resume or reach out to contacts, you need to know what you are looking for and, just as important, what you are NOT looking for.
What is the motivation for looking for a new job, and what is important to you in a new job? Think about why you want to leave your current job and what you want to change. Take the time to reflect on What is not working for you? What would you change if you could? What does work for you? Make a "wish list" of things you'd like to have next. Be specific. Think about things that make up your work life, like a shorter commute, work-from-home options, a stellar benefits package, a better work-life balance, or opportunities for future growth. Write down the types of tasks you'd like to do and the skills you want to gain.
Update your resume:
Before submitting applications for open positions, update your resume to ensure that it accurately depicts your experience and skills. Be sure to list your current or most recent position and describe your duties and achievements.
Add a professional summary at the top of your document that outlines your qualifications if you don't already have one. Consider using an online template to make your information more visually appealing.
Though you'll want to tailor your resume for each job you apply to, having an updated resume ready makes it easier to tweak the details for each application.
Revise your online profiles:
In today's digital age, you can bet that one of the first things a hiring manager will do after reviewing your resume is look you up online, and you want them to be impressed by what they see.
Start by ensuring that your social media accounts are clean and professional. While they don't need to be strictly business (you have a life outside of work, after all), you definitely don't want anything offensive or incriminating there. Think of it this way: if you wouldn't want your grandma to see it, you don't want a hiring manager to see it either.
Next, explore ways to elevate your online presence—rather than just cleaning it up. Could you add more projects and examples of your work to your LinkedIn profile? Should you ask some previous colleagues to post recommendations?
You can do many things, but the key here is to make sure that your online reputation is something you're proud of.
Touch base with your network:
No matter how cliché it sounds, "It's not what you know, it's who you know" really is true. Your network can be a tremendous asset when you start looking for a new job.
You never know who your connections are in touch with or who might be in the loop about open roles that would be perfect for you. The more people you can have in your corner, the better. Personally reach out to select people in your network to let them know you're seeking a new opportunity.
Let them know exactly what you're looking for. The more details you can give them, the better they'll be at pointing you in the direction of opportunities that could be a fit for you.
Where To Look For Jobs:
There are thousands of job boards out there, companies have their own job boards, and then there are recruiting and staffing firms. Where do you go to look for that new great opportunity?
Find your favorite job aggregators. LinkedIn, Monster, Google Jobs, and Career Builder are just a few job aggregators where companies post job openings. Each one has a different focus and flavor, so find the one with job openings that are like the job you are looking for and that makes it easy for you to manage your search.
Find groups and networking opportunities in your city that will get you in front of leaders in your industry. They may not be the HR department, but you may meet the hiring manager who can send your resume to the top of the pile.
Don't forget recruiters - in today's market, companies often use outside recruiters to find candidates and don't always post jobs online, so don't be afraid to talk to recruiters and see if they have opportunities that might be a good fit for you.
With a clear vision of what you are looking for in your next role, a well-executed resume, and a polished online presence, you are ready to begin your career search!