Anytime is a Good Time to Prepare for a Job Search!

Now is the Time For job search preparation

Much has been written about how to begin a job search AFTER you have been affected by a layoff. Those articles can provide great suggestions. However, we would recommend that you begin preparing today before you ever NEED to initiate a job search.

Actions to make preparations part of your routine:

  1. Never let your resume get out of date
    When the time comes for you to share your resume with a new company, recruiter, or outplacement consultant, it is best to not feel rushed. Why risk throwing together a document that may not include all of the competencies and accomplishments you have achieved since the last time you needed your resume?

    At least once a month, review what you have listed under your current position and add any completed projects and accomplishments from the past 30 days. Spend some time wordsmithing, but do not obsess over it. You can refine the wording when you need to share the document later.

    Has your budget increased? Has the size of the team you manage changed? Have you taken on a new assignment or gained a skill set? Won an award? Put it all in your resume now; you can delete it later if you don’t think it is relevant.

  2. Give thought to what you want in a new position
    Do you want a bigger team? A larger P&L? More responsibility? Less travel? Think about an industry that excites you. Identify geographies that are appealing or at least acceptable to you and your family. Identify other functional areas where your skills and competencies can be well-applied. Be open-minded but also be realistic.
  3. Make at least 2-3 networking contacts every week
    It is not as daunting as it might sound. These are not supposed to be hour-long conversations. Networking can simply be emails or “just checking in” voice mails. Focus on updating others on what you are doing… finding out what your contacts have been up to… chatting about the industry, economy, or other shared interests. These communications keep your name fresh in the minds of your connections. It can reinforce to them that you are an expert in your field and shows that you are interested in their careers.

    End these calls with the suggestion that you reconnect again down the road. Create a tickler to remind yourself to follow up later. You will find that some of these contacts will start checking in with you. It is easier to ask for help from someone with whom you have had recent interaction than someone who you have not spoken with in years.

  4. Know your company’s competitors and what they are doing
    Most jobs require a ton of reading. I’m not suggesting that you spend a lot of time paging through articles. Scan the internet, identify some topics and dig in where you have an interest. I don’t know your field, but I would guess that there some relevant topic that is cutting-edge. Familiarity with these will help you keep abreast of companies you admire in case the need arises for you to make a change.
  5. Always be open to a quick conversation with a headhunter/recruiter
    Even if you are not really interested in hearing about new opportunities, investing a few minutes with us will be beneficial. You may be able to help a colleague or friend. You may be able to gain information about other companies. Though we probably will not give you specific compensation numbers, you may glean some information about your value in the marketplace. A connection with us now can pay dividends in the future. Doing this will help you become a “Friend of the Firm.” When you need us, we will remember you.

If ever laid off, and more importantly if you are part of a larger downsizing, getting out of the gate quickly is vital. Being prepared will have you implementing your strategy while others are just developing theirs. You can be “out” in the marketplace days, maybe weeks before the others who have shared your misfortune.

These efforts will never go to waste. Keeping track of your successes prepares you for performance reviews. Hearing about open opportunities gives you a sense of your compensation relative to others in your field. Giving serious thought to your next career move helps you evaluate the opportunities when introduced to you in the future.

These are just a few of the actions you can be taking now to prepare for a potential job search. Preparing today will lead to a smoother search process and a more confident presentation of your successes and capabilities, no matter when it is needed.

Bench, Inc is a professional services firm located in Richmond VA. We provide flexibility and strength in reserve by offering contract professionals, direct hire services, and executive search nationally. Our experience covers nearly every industry and function. For more information email us at or call 804-325-1252.