If you’re secretly looking for a new job, you’re probably not the only one in your office. Sixty-nine percent of full-time workers in a recent CareerBuilder survey reported that job search activities were part of their normal routine.
It appears there’s a growing awareness that we’re all “free agents” who need to keep our eyes open and actively manage our own careers. But are we ready to nail that great opportunity when we see it?
Opportunities have a way of coming along when you’re in the middle of a super busy week and have little or no time to prepare your response.
To get your ducks in a row ahead of time, put together the following:
- Success Stories – Build a list of “wins” from your current and/or past jobs, showing how your abilities have made a measurable difference for your employers. Read my post, How to Identify Your Accomplishments for tips on pulling these together.
- Online Presence – If someone googles your name, what comes up? One of your first steps to a great online presence should be LinkedIn. If you’ve developed some expertise you can share, maybe it’s time to start a blog. And of course, clean up any digital dirt.
- Resume – Make sure it’s not only updated but that the resume really sells you. Is it a collection of boring job descriptions, or do your accomplishments and unique value really jump off the page?
- Cover Letter – Although the most important part of a cover letter is the part you can’t write in advance – where you show your understanding of the job and company, and why it’s a perfect fit – it is a good idea to have some kind of template ready for customizing. A great cover letter is rare – and thus likely to attract notice.
- Interview Readiness – A phone screening can happen unexpectedly. Are you confident that you’re ready to give strategic answers to questions like “What are your salary expectations?” and “Would you please tell me about yourself”? And do you know how to convey why the employer should hire you – your Unique Selling Proposition?
- Target Companies List and Networking – Decide on a few dozen companies you’d like to work for, and start following and networking your way into them. This is not only crucial in order to be better prepared to answer a job announcement – but also because so many jobs are never announced.
When the door of opportunity opens, be ready to stride through it with your head held high!