As a career management practitioner, I believe you should always be ready for a job search for many reasons. Today, tomorrow, or next week, an executive recruiter could call you and say they have the perfect opportunity for you. Today, tomorrow, or next week, your employer could terminate you. We are in a very fluid society where there is no loyalty to your employer and where you should be ready to take advantage of opportunities offered.
Here are 10 tips you need to embrace to prepare for a job search:
1. Brag Book
We live in a performance-driven society. You will be employed because you can make money, save money, streamline operations, eliminate headcount, introduce new technology, and for many other reasons. Keep a brag book at home to document your accomplishments.
2. Update Your Resume Frequently
The resume highlights your full career hard skills, soft skills, personal brand, and education. Utilize your brag book to trigger your memory to build stories around your accomplishments. The more up-to-date your resume is, the less work you will have to do if a tap on the shoulder comes today for a decision maker to see your resume.
3. LinkedIn Profile
Like your resume, your LinkedIn profile should be current. If you are in career transition you should change the headline to reflect your job search situation with a striking message.
4. Connect, Connect, Connect
We are in a society where networking and the use of connections can bring significant value. If you are gainfully employed networking need not be as furious as when you are in career transition. Don’t negate connecting with people 24/7/365.
5. Career and Professional Development Plan
These two go hand-in-hand. Updating your education and skills are important. If you haven’t been on any courses or attended community college or university recently, you need to review that. Continuous education is part of the screening process that decision makers use before calling you for an interview. Incorporate your professional development and continuous learning into your career plan which is a directive highlighting your ambitions and goals. Where would you like to be in two years, five years or ten years?
6. Professional Associations
Most vocations have professional associations where you can learn from others in your industry or profession and network with your peers to understand industry trends and uncover potential vacancies. If the association offers a website or magazines, make yourself available to write articles or blogs. This is an ideal way of bringing your name to the forefront of the membership. Another important and engaging tactic is joining the leadership of the local chapter or national board of the chapter. Being voted by your peers can say a lot about you.
7. References and Recommendations
A professional, sensibly managing their career, will maintain a list of references. If you are in a search mode, you need to keep those references up-to-date with your search activities and potential calls from potential employers. LinkedIn also affords you the opportunity of receiving and giving recommendations. Don’t wait until you are in disaster mode (i.e., career transition) and need to rapidly bring yourself up-to-date before soliciting recommendations.
8. Review Industry Trends and Job Listings
Although job boards show only a small percentage of jobs available in most countries, go ahead and browse through to see who is hiring and what they are hiring for.
9. Job Satisfaction
Sadly, I see so many people who are unhappy in their careers. A job consumes so many hours of your life. Why should you be unhappy in it? If you feel unhappy, are experiencing burnout or stress, maybe it’s time to activate that job search plan. Or, bolder still, quit your job.
10. Career Alternatives
Today, it is encouraged for people to transition industries or sectors. It is less frowned upon than it has ever been in my 25 years of helping people attain their career goals. What are your transferable skills that you can take with you to a new industry? Look how those skills can fit in with that sector’s job trends.