☐ A Clear, Well Chosen Goal
Make sure you have a clear goal. You should be able to name the specific job title you’re going after, or several closely related ones. Research that goal 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.
☐ An Understanding of the Best Practices in Job Search Networking
Don’t suffer – do it right! 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. You can gain a new perspective by reading The 2-Hour Job Search by Steve Dalton. You’ll learn how to 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.
To help guide and focus your networking conversations, I also recommend building a personal marketing plan for your job search.
☐ Materials that Stand Out and Get Attention
You know you need a strong resume. Other essentials include an engaging, keyword-optimized LinkedIn profile and a basic 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.
☐ Good Tools
Like anything else, job search goes better with the right tools. Two I recommend are Fridayd, which automates the process of applying to jobs online, and Jibberjobber, which helps you organize and track all the contacts and tasks of your job search.
☐ 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 an advantage?