Have you ever decided on a whim to go after a new job? How did that work out for you?
The best job searches are rich with strategy, planning and perseverance. Deciding to approach the search for a new job is far more involved than sending out blanket resumes to multiple announcements and waiting for companies to reach out to you.
For the best results, it’s key to create a strategy that you will stick with during the entire process. From considering what you want from your next company to practicing your interview skills, preparation can make all the difference.
Prepare Your Mind
Before setting forth on a job hunt, be honest about what you hope to achieve with a new role. Are you unhappy in your current role? Have you exhausted all possible opportunities with your current employer?
Ask yourself if you are entering the search with a clear mind and approach. Acting on emotion is never recommended, so give yourself a strong reality check about what’s driving your decision to hit the job market.
The better you understand your goals, the more likely you are to find an opportunity that makes you happier in your career.
Prepare Your Materials
It’s critical to catch a hiring manager’s attention within the first few seconds as they review your personal marketing materials and online presence. Make sure your experience and qualifications are in line with the job description they have listed, and that your materials are up to date.
Include industry-specific keywords in your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile. Be sure that you can speak to any past project or achievement that you put on paper or online.
Sanitize your social media accounts, as these are some of the easiest places for a hiring manager to review. This means removing any photos or rants that paint you in a negative light.
I once had a colleague who shared some of the most vile, opinionated posts on his social media. Management didn’t look kindly on his online behavior. Always remember that you’re representing more than yourself – you’re representing your company, too.
Prepare Your Talk Track
Every successful job search will eventually include an interview with a prospective employer. Are you up to the task? Are you confident in your ability to pass a hiring manager’s test with flying colors?
You should practice answering the following questions ahead of any interview:
• Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
• What are the key strengths you have to offer?
• Why would you be a good fit for this role and our company?
• Can you tell me about your biggest wins?
• How about a time you failed at a project – what did you learn?
The way you answer these questions will guide you through the interview process. Be honest, concise and straightforward with your responses.
Prepare Your Mentors
Have you ever heard the advice, “it’s not what you know, but who you know?” Today, some experts suggest that up to 70 percent of all jobs are not publicly published, and research has long shown that anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of jobs are filled through networking.
According to experts at Deloitte’s Future of Work practice, job seekers will increasingly need to “find others who can help them get better faster — small workgroups, organizations, and broader and more diverse social networks.”
COVID has sure made it tough to expand our networks, so you may end up leaning on past colleagues, family members, or friends to support your job search. Start with the people you know before hitting the open market.
They may be able to help review your resume or connect you with companies that are hiring.
Yes, in the end, it will be you who wins your next role. But it never hurts to have successful, connected people in your corner.