Thinking of leaving your current position to find a new job? Whether you are changing industries or if your current job simply doesn’t have anything more to offer you, you may be wondering when to start looking for a new job. Do you wait till you have attained a degree of financial stability or paid off your student loan? Should you stay on at your job until it looks like you are going to be laid off, just because the thought of finding a new job is daunting to you?
When it comes time to kickstart the search for a new job, you will want to go into it ready and prepared. In this guide, we share with you a step-by-step guide on finding a new job, which you can follow to increase your chances of success!
Redefine Your Goals
The first step is to sit down with yourself and make a list of things you want out of a new job. You don’t necessarily have to be switching industries in order to do this – for instance, if your current or previous job offered little opportunity for growth or was eating into your work-life balance, these are factors you will want to consider. If everything is going okay with your current job but the commute eats into a significant part of your day, distance will be one of your priorities, or you may wish to consider a remote working arrangement.
Make a list of your priorities when it comes to several key considerations that include job stability, growth opportunities, company culture, diversity & inclusion, level of responsibility, pay & benefits, and much more. This will help you to narrow down your choices when you get down to searching. While you are at it, you can also take some time to evaluate what you enjoy doing as well as the type of tasks you absolutely don’t want to do.
Update Your Resume and Screen Your Social Media Accounts
If it has been some time since you updated your resume, it’s time to do so now. Although you will need to tailor it to very single role you apply for, it helps to have a solid draft ready. Instead of just listing out your past duties and responsibilities, your resume should tell a story. Any employer should instantly be able to tell which position you are applying for by taking one look at your resume.
To this end, you will want to make sure that your accomplishments and experience line up to what is required of each role. Also double-check that you have included details such as up-to-date contact information and ensure that your latest and most relevant experience is on the first page. You will want to proofread it several times and get a friend too to do so as well.
If you have a LinkedIn account that is open to prospective employers, remember to ensure that your details match what is written on your resume. Now is also the time to give your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts a one-over. Just as you are doing research on any prospective employer, they will be doing the same to you. Make sure that anything that would not be appropriate for your
employer to know is removed from your accounts, or adjust your privacy settings before sending off applications!
Get Your Documents Ready
Chances are, you aren’t completely new to job hunting. You may have gone through the process multiple times before and will have a clear idea of what documents you need to get a job. For example, if you are in an industry that involves working with vulnerable groups such as young children or older adults, employers will need to run a background check on you, and references will most likely be required at a later point. Be prepared for this by having all the required information in one place, such as your social security number and a list of contact details for your referees. Other documents you may be required to present include certificates proving you have undergone the required training and/or education. Educational transcripts, writing samples, cover letters and portfolios are just other examples of documents you may be asked for, so always make sure you have them ready!
Prepare a List of References
While you don’t need to include references in your application or the contact details of possible referees unless you have been specifically requested to, it helps to have a list ready. In the case that your application gets moved forward to the interview process and beyond, it’s likely that a reference or two will be required. Instead of spending time tracking down potential referees when it’s asked of you, you can simply hand over the list you already have.
At this early stage, all you need to do is ask any past or present professors, managers or colleagues if they are willing to write a reference letter for you. With their permission, take down their preferred mode of contact, ready to pass on with their consent when a reference is required.
Start Identifying New Opportunities
Whether you have already left your last job or are waiting to secure a new position before doing so, it’s time to start scouring job boards, recruiting agencies and company career pages to identify the opportunities you are looking for. If you already have a specific company in mind that you would like to work for, you can go directly to their website and check out their listings.
Another resource you can tap into at this point is your network. Chances are, your friends and colleagues know you are looking for a job in your specific industry. Are there openings in a company they know about, or can they recommend you to a key player in your industry? You may be surprised at the number of unlisted opportunities that open up to you through leveraging on your network of contacts.
Besides those you interact with in person, you can also consider reaching out to your network on LinkedIn. When you draft a message, make sure that it’s not too general or vague and that the recipient can clearly identify what you are looking for without any guesswork. Of course, if you haven’t left your current job, you may not wish to let present colleagues know about your intention to leave at this point, so you will want to be selective about who you reach out to.
Research a Company Before an Interview
Once you have sent out several applications and decisions have started to come in, your next hurdle is how to research a company for an interview. It goes without saying that you should never go into an interview unprepared, whether it’s in-person or digital.
The first place to start with would be the company’s website itself. Take a good look through the “About Us” page and familiarize yourself with the company’s mission and values. Next, go to Google News and find the latest press releases or news articles about the company. Not only does this give you a good idea of what they do, it’s something you can bring up during the interview to demonstrate that you take a keen interest in the company’s latest happenings.
Going forward, check out the company’s social media pages, paying particular attention to any team bonding events that happened recently as well as reviews from clients and customers. This will give you a better sense of the company culture and how diverse the team is on top of providing you with something to mention and/or ask about during the interview.
Go In Ready to Negotiate
As part of the research you conduct on the company, you may also want to take a look at the amount of pay and benefits you can expect. Websites like Glassdoor and Salary.com can give you an idea of what’s a reasonable amount to ask for, and from there, you can decide your lower limit and decide how you are going to negotiate based on the expertise and experience you bring to the table.
Besides pay, it also helps to take a closer look at the benefits offered to employees, in particular how many days of paid time off you can expect. You may also want to take into consideration any medical and dental benefits. While benefits tend to be less negotiable than pay, it can help to inform prospective employers of plans that you already have in place, such as a booked vacation a few months down the road.
Work on Your Interview Skills
Now that you have got everything you need to know about the company, it’s time to brush up on your interview skills. From selecting the right outfit to formulating answers to some of the most commonly asked interview questions, you may even wish to practice beforehand with a friend. For in-person interviews, always make sure to arrive slightly early.
If you are having a phone or video interview, make sure you have access to a quiet space where you will not be interrupted for the duration of the call. You will also want to choose a background that’s free of clutter for a video call and ensure that you are dressed in an appropriate way. This can be different based on each company’s unique culture – for instance, you may not want to wear a full
business suit for an interview with a start-up, or be in jeans when interviewing for a position at a law firm!
Send a Thank You Email
After an interview, what do you do? While the easiest course of action would be to sit tight and wait to hear back, the reality is that many employers don’t reach out to candidates who haven’t made the shortlist. Even if you have made a good impression during your interview, it doesn’t hurt to send a follow-up email to say thank you. This should ideally be sent on the same day, but the day after
In this email, you should address the interviewer by name and include clear details from your conversation to show that you were engaged. Always remember to sign off with your full name so that your interviewer knows exactly who has sent the email. It doesn’t have to be anything over the top; a short and simple email will be enough to leave an impression!
Decide Whether to Accept or Reject an Offer
It’s highly unlikely that you will be applying to just one job. You would have sent off several applications and reached the interview stage for a few. After that, the offers will slowly start to come in. Once you have received an offer, you don’t have to rush to accept it. If you need to consider the terms or if you are waiting to hear back from another employer, ask to be given some time within which to make your decision.
Ultimately, you may end up receiving more than one offer, and it can be difficult deciding which to take up due to the different pros that each position can offer you. When that’s the case, you will want to go back to the list of priorities you have made before starting your job search. Does position #1 offer a higher starting pay but little room for career growth? If so, you may be better off going with position #2 that offers a slightly lower pay but comes with a supportive company culture and more employee benefits.
At the end of the day, a job has to give you what you want out of it. When you know your worth and are able to identify the opportunities that will propel you to greater heights, you are well-equipped to find a job that ticks all your boxes!