We have all been there at some point or another.
On the lookout for the first – or next – great job.
Job hunting can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. It can be daunting. What criteria should you base your search on? Which tools should you use? How should you present yourself, your skills, and your achievements to engage potential employers?
Because we know how overwhelming it can feel when you are scoping out your next career move, we have put together a four-part plan to help you navigate your job search.
Step 1: Back to Basics
First things first, you are going to need to get some of the professional basics nailed down.
Principal among these is probably your profile. The first impression any headhunter, recruiter, or employer will likely make of you will be based on your resume. So be prepared. Have a good general resume up to date and ready to tweak or adapt to the specific requirements of a job that interests you.
Alongside your resume, it is highly recommended to have a good, up to date LinkedIn profile. Why? Well, LinkedIn is the tool of choice for most recruiters. With more than 400 million users in over 200 countries around the world, LinkedIn is the behemoth of professional networks.
Take some time to go through your profile and be sure to update your Cisco certification. And have a listen to our webinar on making the most out of LinkedIn for your job search.
In addition to having a base resume and LinkedIn profile setup, make sure you have a professional email address. Create an email signature that is professional that you can use when corresponding with employers and recruiters.
Step 2: Get Organized
Once you have prepared your profile, you are ready to dive into the active searching stage.
It is important at this point to get yourself really well organized. Stay on top of the search and keep motivated. And that means treating your job search like a job until you find one.
Set yourself a schedule and stick to it like glue.
Be clear about your goals and disciplined with yourself about reaching them. Again, that means steering clear of interruptions and dedicating the right time and effort to your project.
Try keeping an excel sheet to track your applications - this will help you stay in control when you do get that call about a job you have applied for. And while you are at it, keep your general resume and any customized versions well organized and filed. You never know when you are going to need to reference them.
Step 3: Get Informed
Doing your research is something you simply cannot skimp on. If you are serious about finding your dream job, find out which job search engines are most commonly used where you live, or where you want to live and work. You can do this by running a Google search or by asking around - why not ask your instructors or peers?
Spend some time searching the companies you would like to work for. Find out who is hiring in your region. And add this information to your excel sheet in a new tab.
There are numerous excellent resources on the web to help you identify which companies are hiring.
Again, LinkedIn is a fantastic resource for you with postings from all over the world. And be sure to join the Networking Academy LinkedIn group which brings candidates and employers together in one shared space.
Step 4: Get Connected
We have said it before and we will say it again.
Informational interviews are an excellent way for you to find out more about companies, roles, or sectors.
Informal conversations with professionals or specialists give you the chance to find out what you would like to know about anything from corporate culture to the day to day of a certain role. And they are also an excellent way to start building your network of connections.
Think well and hard about what you want to find out and how you want to project yourself before you go ahead and set one up. And take a look at our seven-point plan on informational interviews for ideas and tips.
So there it is.
It can feel overwhelming, but finding the next great job does not have to be daunting, if you break it down into pieces and treat it like a professional project.
If you are interested in getting a more in-depth explanation about the steps outlined above, be sure to watch our recorded sessions from our Career Advantage Webinar series about Preparing for Your Career.