Job Searching… Where do I Start?

How to Start Your Job SearchLosing or leaving a job can bring even the most positive person down. And, if you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to remember when starting your job search to think upwardly – in your attitude and actions. Staying optimistic can keep you motivated and energized during your search, be an impressive quality to potential employers, and help point you in the right direction.

Thinking “up” isn’t just in your attitude, it’s in every aspect of your job search. You can remember these three “ups” that will give you a starting point for your job search:

Touch up
First, start internally by updating and touching up your resume. Don’t worry about how long it is, just start updating by listing your previous jobs and include your achievements in each job. Employers look for tangible, real figures like the number of customers you have served in a day, how much money you saved the company, how much you increased your employer’s business, how many products you sold, or the amount of people you managed in a team and how it impacted your employer. Don’t just list your job duties. Listing specific achievements will catch a hiring manager’s attention. Once you find the job openings you want, then you can customize your resume with the right experience that best fits that job description for a tighter, more effective résumé.

Lookup
Now that you are ready to market yourself as a job candidate, it’s time to find your venues. First, look up former employees or managers you worked closely with and ask for their permission to serve as references. Some employers require a list and contact information for those who can vouch for your work, and you’ll need to have it ready. Think outside the box too. If you volunteer or have any group hobbies, include someone who can say good things about your leadership or soft skills. These references can also help connect you with decision makers and influencers in your field that you can build relationships with in the future.

Use an internet search to find local professional clubs or groups in your area. Most of the time, their websites will have job postings, networking events, and chances for you to grow and develop trending skills in your industry if you attend their meetings. You can also find out where employers and recruiters post the kinds of jobs you need, and you can find where you can post your resume so it can get the most attention. If you have an idea of some companies you’d like to work for, research their websites and find some people who work for them to get to know the company better. Check your network to see if you know any current employees.

Set up
With the people and venues you’ve found, the next step is to get ready. You may be rusty or haven’t had much practice interviewing or building a resume, so here is your chance to get some peer review. Call and schedule time for an informational interview with your references, leaders in your professional association, or the new contacts you made at a company of interest to you. These informational interviews can help you see what you’re good at and identify areas you need to improve. They can tell you what you should focus your resume on and what to leave out. You’ll feel more confident and comfortable when you go in for a real interview.

It’s also a good idea to set up professional or work-related social media profiles like Twitter, Linkedin, or a blog to help build a professional image when employers research your name.

Did you start your job search a little differently? Tell us your story about starting a new job search in the comments section below.

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