Photo: Prateek Katyal | Unsplash.com
Are you happy in your current job? If not, you’re not alone!
Research shows that more than half of employees in the U.S. (51%) are either already looking for a new job or considering it. If you are ready to explore new career opportunities, there are many things to consider…primarily what do you want out of a new position that you do not currently have? This could involve some soul searching. You want to determine what it is about your current role that has you frustrated, and how you’d like to change that.
Once you’ve done that, there are several things you want to tackle first as you start a job search so that you will set yourself up for success.
1. Freshen up your LinkedIn profile.
Check your settings. Who can see your activity? Before you start making updates, you want to be sure your account settings are what you’d like them to be.
Click on your photo in the top right corner of your profile. Under that dropdown menu, you can access “Settings & Privacy” to see your settings. There are numerous features you can control from this area, but the one I encourage you to check is who can see your activity. As you make updates, add employment information, or rewrite existing information, there are settings that will let your entire network know you are making updates. For most people, that isn’t ideal if you don’t want your current employer to know you are searching for a new job.
To check the setting that controls this, choose “Visibility” on the left menu. Under this option you can access “Visibility of you LinkedIn activity.” This is the setting you want to check. Scroll down the list until you find “Share profile updates with your network,” and confirm “no” is listed under “Change.”
Make sure you have a professional photo. Does your current photo represent you in a way you like, or is it time for a new one. With a cell phone, a friend and an uncluttered background, you can take a new one that will look nice. Check out this 2-minute YouTube video for some quick tips.
Customize your LinkedIn URL. Instead of the random web address that LinkedIn initially assigns you, you can change this address if you click the “Edit public profile & URL” link in the top right corner of your profile page. Use your first and last name if it is available. If it isn’t available, you could add your middle initial, a title or a degree like FirstNameLastNameMBA.
Review your professional summary and make sure your employment information is up to date. Have you added your most recent accomplishments or responsibilities? Does your summary accurately (and concisely) represent you and your experience? Are you using the Features section? This is a great place to showcase examples of your work. You want all of your best work and best accomplishments to be easily seen.
2. Research companies you would enjoy working for on sites like Glassdoor.com or LinkedIn.
Both of these sites are great places to learn about companies. On LinkedIn you can see what open positions a company has and find people to connect with, or even apply directly through the site. On Glassdoor.com, you can read reviews of companies, find job openings and explore any salaries that are listed for a company.
3. Create job alerts on career websites.
Most of the popular job-search websites include a feature where you can create alerts for specific keywords or job titles. Once you set these up, any new postings that include your keywords will be emailed to you. This can help you keep an eye out for interesting opportunities.
There are also industry-specific sites that you may want to check frequently.
4. Update your résumé — maybe even several times.
I wish one résumé would work for every job you want to apply for, but it just doesn’t!
Fortunately, there is a way to avoid “reinventing the wheel” every time you want to apply for a new position. If you create a master document of your work experience, you can easily work from that to customize a new résumé to fit the position you are seeking.
Remember that your résumé is a marketing document, not a complete recounting of every job you’ve ever had. You want to strategically choose what experiences and accomplishments you include.
5. Access your network
Hopefully, through work contacts, conferences, LinkedIn, or industry meetings you have started building a professional network. These are contacts within your industry (or an industry you’d like to be in) who could help introduce you to hiring managers. As you begin your job search, let those in your network know that you are starting to look for new opportunities. One of the most successful ways that people land positions is through their network. You may even learn of open jobs before they are ever posted by a company. And while you are taking time to connect with your current contacts, don’t burn any bridges with coworkers at your current company. They could become an important part of your network for future career moves.