Your job search: what’s the first step?

Catherine Recruiting

You’re on a job search again, whether by choice or due to a change in employment circumstances. Either way, it’s often intimidating to know where to start, especially if it’s your first time job-seeking in a while. Where are you even supposed to start? Thankfully the answer to that is simple: prepare! Here is your first step of your job search broken down into an easy-to-follow checklist.

1. Review your current/previous role for how to market yourself on your job search

Write down all of your responsibilities in your current/previous role. List the skills that helped you carry out those responsibilities. Put down the skills that you acquired through that role that you didn’t have before. Make a list of your achievements in that role. Having a complete picture of what your last role was will give you an idea of the value you contributed. This will allow you to market yourself effectively going forward.

2. Prepare your CV/cover letter

While it’s best practice to customise both for each application, make sure your base is complete. If there is info that won’t change from application to application, ensure that it’s updated. This will save you time when applying later. If your CV needs a modern or eye-catching facelift, now is a good time to do that. Your CV is often the first impression you make, so make sure that it’s a good one.

3. Prepare your social media for your job search

Make sure that your social media profiles are up to date. According to a CareerBuilder survey, roughly 70% of employers use social media to screen potential candidates. This means you should put your profiles to work. It’s not necessary to remove all evidence of your life outside of work, especially on more social platforms like Facebook, but make sure that there is nothing there you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see. On platforms like LinkedIn, make sure that you are highlighting your professional and industry achievements. Having social media that markets you well is one less thing to worry about on your job search.

4. Decide what you want from your next role

Get serious about the kind of roles you want to hold and the kind of companies or industries you want to work for. This will help you streamline the kinds of opportunities you apply for, helping you create a more streamlined job-search. Also be honest about the kind of environments you’re willing to work in. If you’re someone who likes the stability of a corporate environment, you’re probably not going to want to work for a start-up. If you’re someone who dislikes monotony and needs a constantly changing environment, a start-up might be ideal for you. Knowing this ahead of time will save you unnecessary effort going forward.

5. Sign up to as many portals as possible to help your job search

Even if you aren’t using each of them to apply for roles, having profiles on as many job portals as possible can only help you. Recruiters use a wide array of portals to look for candidates, so being discoverable on them gives you the best chance of being headhunted. Here are some portals to start off with, but there are many more:

6. Prepare interview answers

Research the most common interview questions asked and prepare your answers for them. It may seem silly in the moment but going into your interview knowing what to say will keep you from getting caught off-guard. To start, here is a list of 50 commonly asked interview questions and how to answer them.

7. Network, network, network!

Your job search is so much easier when you’re not doing it alone. Join job seeker groups for tips and available opportunities. Attend industry seminars/webinars and meet people at the kind of companies you’d like to work for. The more people you know, the better your chances are of getting your foot in the door somewhere.

Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong way to go about a job search, but following the tips above can help make it slightly easier.

For more great advice on your job search, take a look at some of our other blog posts: