Searching for a job can seem daunting, whether you plan to resign from your current position — or unemployment arrived unexpectedly. If you're wondering where to begin, don't worry. The following simple guidelines can help you strategize a successful search:
Lay the groundwork
Update your resume so it's succinct and clearly showcases your accomplishments rather than listing each and every skill you possess. Craft a compelling cover letter you can customize for each position you apply for. Make a list of your professional references and ask if they are willing to speak glowingly about you and your work. Finally, update your professional profile on networking sites like LinkedIn.
Remember to stay organized. Keep track of all job applications, contacts and references on a spreadsheet or an app such as JibberJobber.
Update your skills
If your skills are rusty, or you haven't kept up with the latest technology, you're at a disadvantage when searching for a job. Make yourself as marketable as possible by seeking out professional development opportunities wherever you can.
- Take classes through local colleges or industry associations.
- Attend seminars hosted by industry associations or other professional groups.
- If you're currently working, sign up for any professional development opportunities offered by your employer.
As you're searching for a job, reach out to family, friends, neighbors, teachers, mentors and former coworkers. Even if they are not currently hiring, they may know someone who is or will keep you in mind when they hear of opportunities. Start conversations with your professional contacts by asking pertinent questions that help you learn the job market, the industry or that person's career trajectory better.
Register with a staffing firm
One of the most effective strategies you can implement when searching for a job is registering with a specialized staffing firm. Searching for a job on your own is hard work, and if you are currently employed, finding the time for that quest is even more challenging. When you have a recruiter on your side, you're essentially doubling your search capabilities.
Staffing agencies are experts at pinpointing great opportunities for skilled candidates and connecting employers with top talent like you. Because of their deep relationships with employers, staffing agency specialists often have the inside scoop on jobs that are not yet posted.
And there's nothing that can replace the personal relationship you get when working with the best staffing firms. Once you're registered with a staffing agency, typically you meet the recruiter so he or she can learn about you, your skills and interests in greater detail. The recruiter can give you personalized advice on refreshing your resume, crafting a compelling cover letter and updating your skill set to help make you as marketable as possible. And some firms give you access to free online training sessions to help you strengthen your marketability.
For more guidance in searching for a job, consider these excellent career resources.