It is likely that technology has evolved since the last time you looked for a job – whether it has been 10 years or 10 months. While the latest technology tools and platforms can aid in your job search, the steps to follow are probably similar. Use the checklist below to organize your job search and learn how technology can enhance your effort at every step.
1. Update your resume and cover letter.
An applicant tracking system (ATS) will likely conduct the first screen on your resume and cover letter, so be sure they have relevant keywords throughout. These keywords will allow you to be discovered via online job boards too. Make sure your grammar is on point with Grammarly. Also, consider free resume templates via Microsoft Word, or you can even purchase more extensive ones on Etsy for less than $10.
2. Spruce up your LinkedIn profile.
You can guarantee a hiring manager will look you up on LinkedIn. Make sure your profile is updated and matches your resume and cover letter. Including keywords in your profile will also help your job search as recruiters will often use LinkedIn to source candidates. Mark that you are “open to opportunities” to entice them to reach out. Join groups on LinkedIn that interest you and are related to your career aspirations. This will keep you in touch with what is going on in the industry and enable access to professionals in the field.
3. Prepare your references.
It is likely that prospective employers will ask for references if you advance in the hiring process. It is not a good look to ask the employer to wait to contact your references because you have not prepared your contacts yet. If you are embarking on a job search, speak to a few strong potential references and let them know it is possible someone will be reaching out soon. Consider asking those who already gave you a glowing review on LinkedIn. Also, because companies are now utilizing reference checking technology, think about who might be best contacted via email or phone. Companies will usually give you the option if they require multiple references.
4. Reach out to recruiters – and network with other professionals.
You should be networking online and in-person throughout your job search. Making connections on LinkedIn is great, but do not shy away from attending in-person networking events. Remember to bring business cards! They are reasonably priced (some sites just require you to pay shipping and handling costs) and are necessary to make an impression at mixers. Include your professional social media profile links on the cards and your personal website and/or portfolio. Do not forget to collect as many cards as you hand out. This will allow you to connect after the event.
5. Make a list of top companies.
As a job seeker, you have access to tons of information about the companies you are thinking about working for. Do some research to see if you would be a good fit. Look at company hashtags on social media to view employee-generated content. This will paint a clearer picture of the company culture. Check out LinkedIn to see if you have any first- or second-degree connections with employees at your top companies, and do not hesitate to reach out for tips about getting your foot in the door.
6. Search for interview tips.
Glassdoor publishes company-specific interview questions that candidates have been asked, so start there. It will give you the most specific information, but it is also limited to what previous candidates or employees have submitted. So, you can look at interview question lists for other ideas (there are hordes of them online). Then rehearse your answers! Also, make a list of smart questions to ask the interviewer. This will showcase your level of interest in the company and job.
7. Be prepared for salary negotiations.
Salary.com is a comprehensive salary tool that will tell you what you are worth based on your skills. It can also give you a compensation range according to location and job title. This will give you an idea of what is an appropriate salary range to negotiate for the new position. Glassdoor publishes salary information as well, so that is worth a look. Again, while the information is more specific, it is also limited to what employees have submitted.
8. Dress appropriately for your interview.
First, research the company to determine if it is business formal or business casual. It may mean the difference between a jacket and tie and khakis and a polo. Checking employee-generated content may give you some insight. Then, peruse Pinterest for put-together looks. There are boards dedicated to interviewing outfits, and some even have links to where you can purchase similar pieces.
9. Send thank-you notes.
Written thank-you notes are still much-appreciated by some people, but the speed in which you get the thank-you card on the hiring manager’s desk matters. So, resort to shooting off a thank-you email shortly after the interview – try to keep it same-day or next-day if possible. You can use other techniques to subtly follow up or remind the interviewer of your interest, like connecting on LinkedIn, if you have not heard back about your status.
Remember to keep these 9 steps in mind whenever you are looking for a new job or a new start in your career. Happy hunting – and good luck!