☐ A Specific Goal
Can you name the specific job title you’re going after, or several closely related ones? If you can’t, you may want to work with a career coach to clarify your career goal. If you do know the title(s) of your dream job, research that job and make sure you understand not only the nature of the work but also the working conditions and future outlook of this occupation. Is there a strong demand for people in in this field, or is it glutted with wannabes? Look it up in the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. You can also learn and lot (and build your network) by doing informational interviews.
☐ A “Best Practices” Job Search Strategy
Did you know that the average rate of return when applying to jobs online is less than 5%? That many or most jobs are never even advertised? The average job seeker knows that job search networking is important but doesn’t know how to do it effectively, and thus hates the whole subject. Become an above-average job seeker who knows the best practices, especially how to use informational interviews to get a job. Plan a truly strategic networking campaign, get people to talk to you, and stay on their radar screens. This style of networking has the added benefit of being easier for introverts, since it focuses on one-on-one meetings instead of “working the room” at group events.
☐ Materials that Stand Out and Get Attention
You know you need a strong resume. Other essentials include an engaging, keyword-optimized LinkedIn profile and an attention-grabbing cover letter you can customize for each job. Aside from written documents, you need effective answers to common questions like “Tell me about yourself,” “Why are you looking for a new job?” and “What are you looking for?” You also need plenty of good success stories.
☐ Interview Preparation
Are you ready for a phone screening? The minute you’ve submitted a resume or begun networking you’ve opened yourself to the possibility of a phone call that is basically a surprise interview. If you’re successful in that, more interviews follow. Start preparing for interviews sooner rather than later. My free five-lesson eCourse is a good way to start.
Is all of this really necessary?
Do you really need to prepare all of these things? Maybe you can get by without all of this preparation, but if you want to get a great job as soon as possible, why not use this job search checklist to organize a “best practices” job search that will give you the advantage?
This article was originally published in December 2017 and has been updated.