Take Five Crucial Steps To A Successful Job Search

The end of the summer, long weekends and vacations will arrive soon.  Are you excited about getting back to more intense work?  If not, it may be time to consider a change.  Collecting a year- end bonus and starting fresh in a new role may be a good solution.  It’s important that your search gets at least the same attention to detail that you give your current job. There are five crucial steps to take to make sure you are ready to move forward before you contact financial recruiters and potential employers.

STEP ONE: Take a fresh look at your resume.

Your resume is your marketing piece.  It represents a summary of what you have done and what you have to offer.  Is your current job at the top?  If not, that one is obvious.  If so, it’s time to update the description of your role.  Add new responsibilities and achievements.  Use verbs to make descriptions livelier.  Change verb tenses on earlier jobs.  Check your dates and GPA for accuracy. SPELLCHECK! Then ask three people to read your resume from right to left and then left to right, to make sure that any typo or grammatical error that spellcheck missed, gets corrected.

STEP TWO: Find and check your original employment letter/agreement.

Before you start your search, it is crucial that you know if you have a non-compete, garden leave or notice periods.  We had a situation some time ago where a client made an offer to a candidate on July 15 that would cover a full year’s bonus even though the candidate would not start the job until August 1.  At that point, the candidate checked his employment letter to discover that he had a 90-day notice period and could not start the job until October 16.  The client considered pulling the offer out of concern that the candidate was not detail-oriented.  Instead, the candidate started October 16 with a bonus that was pro-rated for the 2.5 months he was employed by our client. He lost the rest of the bonus.

STEP THREE:  Beef up your LinkedIn profile.

Recruiters rely heavily on LinkedIn, not just to find candidates but also to see how they present themselves in their social media profile.  LinkedIn will tell you to add a photo.  I don’t think that is necessary and can play to viewers’ biases and assumptions.  However, do add some detail on your roles.  Just because you work at a top tier company, for example, does not mean that you have the experience needed.  You may get unnecessary calls or miss out on recruiting calls if the recruiter has no idea what you actually do.  Direct all correspondence from your LinkedIn profile to your personal email and not your work email.  Do not use your work email for any job hunting correspondence.  Start Linking In with people you know who may be in a position to assist you with your search.

STEP FOUR: Prepare your elevator pitch and your larger message.

Figure out what you think you want to do next and how what you do now relates.  Prepare the 30- second description of who you are and what you are looking for.  Avoid memorizing your pitch but be well-prepared so that it comes naturally to you.

Then, start thinking about the questions that you might ask someone with your profile.  How you would address those questions and what issues could be important? Do not characterize yourself as “hardworking” and a “team player.”  Describe yourself through examples of your work and show that you work well with others and put in the extra effort.  Find a way to present your strengths in a humble but factual manner and address your deficits in the most productive way possible.  Be ready with ideas and a point of view that an interviewer might find intriguing.  Don’t send out any resumes until this is ready.

STEP FIVE:  Set up your job search spread sheet.

Keep a record of all your conversations, chance meetings, interviews and calls including names and contact information.  Be sure to ask when to follow up.  Make note of ways that you might be able to maintain communication with contacts including forwarding ideas, articles and bits of relevant information that could be helpful to them.  Don’t be a “user.” Instead, make yourself someone that your contacts will be happy to speak with.  Use the spread sheet to keep track of where recruiters send you and make sure that they tell you where your resume is going before they send it so it does not land anywhere twice.  Keep a record of those individuals who are not helpful as well as those who are.  When you land your new role, you will have a list of everyone to update and thank.

Good luck!

If you found this article helpful you might also want to check out, “I Don’t Want to Read Your Resume Summary”