5 Actions You Should Take Before Starting Your Job Search

4 Actions You Should Take Before Starting Your Job Search

Bench recruiters are often asked for help when it’s time to initiate a job search.  No matter if the need to search was planned or not, much has changed due to the rise of online recruiting.  If you haven’t waged a job campaign in the last several years, you’ll need to take certain steps to put your best foot forward and create a big digital footprint.

#1 Update your LinkedIn profile

If you’re like many and have let your professional profile languish halfheartedly between this world and the digital cosmos, now is the time to get serious.  Corporate recruiters use Linked In on a daily basis and chances are that you will be located first through this professional networking site.  Not only should your profile be complete in every regard (see Linked In for great how-to resources), but you should pay close attention to the keywords you use to describe yourself.  For fast ideas, look up people you know, and focus first on those with 500+ contacts.  Linked In stops counting after 500 contacts, and your colleagues with 500+ are likely old hands at networking.  Read their profiles and look for similarities.  Carefully choose your wording in your Headline (up top between your name and industry) your Background Summary and your Experiences section.  Keywords help recruiters to use automated searches to find candidates quickly.  Use Linked In’s exact phrases; those terms that can be found in the Skills and Endorsements section.  Select those skill phrases that you know to be commonly used in your field or industry (e.g. employee training might be more common than employee learning).  Focus on staying consistent rather than creatively saying the same thing in different ways.  For example, stick with “project manager” instead of varying with “managed projects,” or “managing projects.”  By repeating the same key words you will increase your relevance rating within your job category, and algorithms will rank you higher when automated search results are displayed for recruiters.  If you do not yet have a Linked In profile, create one immediately and follow these guidelines.  If you tend towards being private and are hesitant to put information online for the world to see, you’ll have to get over that if you want to be found.  Note that it’s certainly not necessary to post personal information if you don’t want to, even though Linked In provides a place for Interests and Personal Details.  It’s not critical to being a prospective candidate.

#2 Update your resume

Your resume should closely parallel your Linked In profile but probably in greater detail.  For more tips and techniques, please see Resumes – 2014 for current trends.  Heads up… resumes have changed too!

#3 Upload your resume

Once you’ve hammered out the best resume possible, your next step is to share it online.  Go to sites such as Career Builder, Monster, Simply Hired or Indeed and upload your resume for free.  There are other good sites out there as well, but these will get you out to a wide audience quickly.

#4 Share your resume

Send a copy of your resume to Bench, Inc. and to any other recruiters or staffing firms that you may know.  Include a brief note describing the types of jobs you’re open to discussing, and whether or not you would also consider contract work.  It’s not necessary to request an interview,  as client needs initiate the placement process for most staffing firms.  You’ll be contacted by the agency if a broadly relevant opportunity comes along and then you can have a deeper discussion about your specific employment goals.  Don’t forget to let your friends and professional contacts know of your job search.  Advisers agree that there is absolutely no shame in doing so and that you can’t tell too many people that you’re on the market and looking.

#5 Go on the offensive

Make a list of companies that you would like to target for employment.  Check out their websites’ career pages; almost every company has a careers tab.  A company’s website is the easiest channel for in-house recruiters and resumes flow across their desktops daily.  If at first, you don’t see anything that’s a potential fit, check back often.  Big companies, in particular, can change their listings several times a week.  Set up “alerts” as job postings may not last long because response rates can be overwhelming in the online job world.  But don’t despair, only a fraction of applicants will be true competition; the rest are clicking and submitting simply because it takes so little effort.  When alerted to an interesting opening, take action and respond quickly.  Throw your hat in the ring!

Final note

A new job search can be daunting, but in some ways, it has become much easier because the activity has been consolidated online.  Make a plan, create a checklist and execute your search with enthusiasm and discipline each day.  What hasn’t changed?  The old adage of making your job search your job.

Best of luck from all of us at Bench.