Job searching can be overwhelming. It’s easily the equivalent of having another job. There are so many things to do: Update your resume and your LinkedIn profile, scroll through job listings on multiple websites, send out resumes and applications, schedule phone screens and interviews, write thank-you letters. It’s a lot to manage if you’re still employed, and if you’re between jobs, the pressure is magnified.
To help manage the overwhelm, I recommend focusing on some basics. In addition to updating your resume and applying for jobs, here are eight things you should be doing regularly while you’re looking for work:
Check your email daily. And respond promptly to messages. Email is still the primary means by which we all receive important communications, including from hiring managers, prospective employers, and other important folks who might be positioned to help you get a job. “I hardly ever check my email” is not a valid excuse for missing a message.
Answer your phone. I’m guilty of letting calls roll to voicemail, but while you’re job searching, at least during business hours, you may want to actually answer.
Don’t forget about voicemail. First, delete all the old voicemails that have your mailbox so full that no one has been able to leave you a message since before we all got vaccinated. Now, set up a fresh voicemail greeting that’s more personal than the default one with just your phone number. Finally, do check your voicemail on the reg. Recruiters like phones.
Double-check your LinkedIn contact info. On your profile, next to your location, click “contact info.” Make sure your email is current, consider adding a phone number, and ensure any social media links you have there are current. AND, set your LinkedIn app to allow notifications – recruiters will message you within the app, so you want to keep an eye on them and respond promptly.
Up your LinkedIn game. Spend time updating your profile so it shines (or work with a pro to help you). Research prospective employers, read what industry leaders have to say, and follow topics of interest. Interact with people who work at companies you’d like to work at. Connect with people you know (you don’t have to connect with the randos), because you never know who will be in a position to help you. You can set your status to “open to finding a new job” and add keywords to your profile. Recruiters search LinkedIn for candidates all the time. Help them find you.
Network. In addition to LinkedIn, you should network in real life, too. Tell everyone you know that you’re looking for work, and don’t tell them you’ll do “anything” – tell them what you want to do. You are far more likely to land a job through some personal connection than you are by sending your resume into the “black hole.”
Google yourself. Have you done this yet? Prospective employers will. Take down any photos of you in, um, unsavory situations, or less-than-tasteful written posts that happen to be public. (If there are things you can’t remove, you might want to invest in a reputation management service.)
Lock down your social media accounts. Any photos you wouldn’t want your grandma to see, change permissions / privacy settings or remove them altogether.
If you attend to these activities regularly, you will feel in control of your job search. Make time daily to run through this checklist to be sure you’re putting your best foot forward to every prospective employer.
Want this in handy checklist form? Click here.