There’s no denying it: job hunting is daunting. Between browsing job boards, hitting up LinkedIn contacts and the tedious automatic resume uploads that never seem to fill in properly, it can test your patience in ways you never imagined. The reality is that most people don’t find a new position overnight. In fact, research shows that it takes roughly two and a half months for most higher level job seekers to be hired for a new position, but some experts say it could take anywhere from three to six months, depending on your industry. While that may feel like the worst possible news right now, there are ways to make the most out of this “downtime” and speed up the hiring process by making yourself a standout candidate. Read below for your ultimate job search checklist.
1 | Revamp your resume.
- Make sure it’s up-to-date and professionally written. Also, have two or three alternative copies for the various industries/positions that you are applying for.
2 | Write a proper cover letter.
A fantastic resume is meaningless without an equally strong cover letter. This should serve as an introduction to your resume, not as a heavily-worded copy of it.
3 | Get on LinkedIn.
Make sure that your LinkedIn profile matches your main resume. Polish up your bio, add a professional photo and ask trusted contacts to write recommendations on your behalf. You should have 1 for every 50 contacts. Be sure your tagline is professional and informative. Do not announce you’re “open to opportunities” or “actively seeking a position” in your tagline.
4 | Clean up your social media.
Make no mistake, companies will absolutely Google you and look at your digital footprint. Instead of waiting to be asked about something questionable (or worse, simply not get the job because of it), be proactive. Translation: now would be the time to delete any posts that you wouldn’t want your potential employer to see or hide your profiles altogether. If using Twitter, you can start searching for people to follow from companies you want to join and share or retweet content that is relevant to your industry.
5 | Get out there.
Let your friends and contacts know exactly what you are looking for. Start researching different networking events and volunteer opportunities where you can offer your skills and meet new people.
6 | Ask for wisdom.
Most people will feel awkward if directly asked for a job, but most are more than willing to share their advice and open up their contacts to those they deem worthy of them. Reach out to professionals in your industry who might have valuable insight to offer. Remember to be respectful of their time. Offer to buy them a cup of coffee and have a list of questions at the ready. Always send a thank you note.
7 | Brush up on your industry news.
Read articles, research the latest developments and brush up on trending keywords. The last thing you want is to be left standing like a deer in headlights when asked about something you should know about but don’t.
8 | Join different groups.
If you’re a woman in technology, join Ada’s List. If you own a brand, Dreamers and Doers is great. The point is to start speaking with like-minded people in your industry and finding ways to collaborate, offer support and value. They will likely offer it back in kind. You’ll also learn about insider opportunities and tips which can lead to a great new position or partnership.
9 | Pay attention to your email account.
You know better than to have HotBabyGrrrl as your email account, but did you know that your host can also put your in the hot seat? As unfair as it may sound, your AOL, Yahoo or Hotmail address can place you on the do not hire list as these are seen as dated domains.
10 | Seize the opportunity.
When you do get the call, be prepared. Have a polished and pressed interview outfit ready, several printed copies of your resume in a nice folder, your portfolio on a drive and a thank you note template saved. Get to the area where the interview is a half hour early and have a cup of tea or coffee nearby (just bring a mint for afterwards). Read the job description once more and have a list of questions ready to ask in the interview. Send a thank you note to each individual within 24 hours.