How to Start Your Job Search

New Year Smarter YouResume Target Illustration theSkimm
PUBLISHED JAN 1, 2019

The Story

Finding a new job is a full-time job. About a third of your life is spent at the office, so it’s important to pick the right one. Just ask Michael Scott.

Where do I start?

With a few deep breaths. It can take months to find a new job, and the biggest hurdle is deciding that you’re ready for a change. Pro-tip: January and February are the best months to look for something new in the US job market. If (read: when) you start feeling overwhelmed, focus on these four things…

Reflection. Throughout the process, consistently remind yourself what you love to do. Make a list of the things you’re good at, what you like about your current role, and what you’re looking for in a new job. Throughout your search, keep coming back to that list to find the job that checks off most of what you want.

Resourcefulness. Hitting apply on a job website isn’t enough. Use your network to help bring your application to the top of the pile. Reach out to first or second tier connections on LinkedIn who work at the company, continually stay in touch with people in the industry who can mentor you, and never say never to having coffee with your uncle’s friend’s daughter’s boyfriend. Every connection counts.

Resume. You and your resume are about to get veryyy close. It’s your first impression, no. 1 hype man, and personal brand deck all rolled into one.


Do...

  • Fit your resume onto one page. Less is more. And no one needs to know you played clarinet in your middle school band.
  • Reverse reverse. Use reverse chronological order and put your most recent and important accomplishments at the top.
  • Make your experience work for you. Figure out what skills are needed for the job you want, and tailor your resume to those qualifications.
  • Use spell check. The difference between receive and recieve could make or break you.
  • Mind the gap. If you have months or years where you didn’t work, be prepared to answer why.
  • Be honest. If your resume says you speak French, be prepared to do more than say ‘bonjour.’


Don’t...

  • Brag about your GPA. Unless it’s your first job out of college, leave it off your resume.
  • Be Captain Obvious. Avoid phrases like ‘hard worker, ambitious, hit the ground running, and ‘think outside the box.’ These should all be a given.
  • Be shy. Your resume is not the time to sit down and be humble. It’s your opportunity to pat yourself on the back and remind employers why you’re worth hiring.
  • Include everything. Trim down your experiences to include what’s relevant to the job you’re applying for.
  • Ask for too many opinions. Trust your gut, because no one knows your strengths better than you.


References. We all have no new friends. So use your old friends and work-wives to back you up. Keep these things in mind when choosing your references…

  • Choose people from different points in your career.
  • Give your references a heads up so they’re prepared when the call or email comes.
  • Don’t choose someone you haven’t spoken to in years. If they don’t know you that well, it will come across that way to your potential employer.
  • And then?
  • You’re ready to spread your wings into the great, wide world of interviews. Dress for the job you want, always be five minutes early, and remember that your cyber footprint is real. Take down that FB pic from five years ago on spring break in Cabo.


theSkimm

Taking the first steps to finding a new job can be intimidating and frustrating AF. Take it one day at a time, keep your head up, and remember that if Andy survived Miranda...you can survive anything. That’s all.

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