With the economy on the slow road to recovery after the 2008 collapse, you may be thinking that it is the right time for a career change. Whether looking for a change of scenery, or a leg up, you will find yourself in the unenviable task of putting yourself out there. However, too often people begin their job searches with a lack of preparation. Going into the job market without taking the proper steps beforehand, can decrease the chance of you landing the job you always wanted. Let’s take a look at some simple things you can do to make yourself more ready than ever to find a new job.
Research Potential Employers
When you have had the itch to leave your job for longer than you can even remember, it’s easy to jump ship at the first opportunity. With the economy continuing to add jobs, there are more options than ever. Don’t make this mistake. It might seem like the first job that pops up is the one you have always been waiting for, but it’s likely not. The desire to immediately jump ship is a result of wanting to be rid of your old job, not excitement to work at the new one. Switching jobs frequently can lead to a pattern of working for a small amount of time, only to then switch to a new job, and so on. Not only does this mean you will be constantly retraining and wasting time, but it looks bad on your resume too.
A better solution is to be patient and wait until you the right opportunity opens up. Part of this is knowing what your career goals are. Obviously, if you aspire to be a restaurant manager, switching from your fry cook position to a retail advisor makes zero sense. Ideally, you want every job switch you make to be done with a solid reason as to why your new job will aid your career. Researching the companies that you are considering applying to will help you make those decisions. There are plenty of resources available that can give you detailed information about certain company’s employment policies, pay scale, culture and more. Researching the companies you are thinking of applying to will save you time, and send you on the right path for your career.
Perfect Your Resume
More often than not, your resume will be the first thing any prospective employer will see from you. It can’t be overstated how helpful taking the time to update, rework, and improve your resume can be. Again, it is the first thing an employer is going to look at. You don’t want it to be a flimsy, wrinkled piece of paper you haven’t changed since college.
Sitting down and updating your resume will give you the chance to highlight any strengths you have in your field, as well as cover any weaknesses. Didn’t finish school? Focus on your employment history. Got fired at a previous job for eating too many jelly doughnuts? Talk about your food addiction rehab and how you have positively changed your life and relationship with food since. You don’t have to go it alone either. There are plenty of resources available to help you fine-tune your resume into a veritable work of art. Both online and offline professional resume helpers can give you sound advice on your resume, such as what areas to highlight, or how to format your resume. You can even find great cover letter examples online.
Have A Backup
Sometimes finding the job you want takes a long time. In fact, it can take months of applying, researching, and interviewing before you land a permanent gig. So before you start, it is wise to have a backup plan ready. A backup plan can take a few different forms. One option is to continue to work at the same job you already have. This is the route most people choose, whether it is out of necessity or convenience. On the plus side, it looks good to employers when you are still working while applying, and you keep a steady income. However, one negative aspect is that keeping your old job leaves you less time and energy to search for a different job.
Another option is to save up enough money to able to take time off and dedicate yourself to a job search. While not feasible for everyone, this is the best option if you really want to spend the time searching out the perfect job for yourself. You will have ample free time to research, apply, and prepare for your next job. One possible pitfall though is you get stuck without a job and run out of money, in which case you are back to square one.
Searching for a job is an exciting time. Just remember to plan out your approach ahead of time, so you are not giving yourself unnecessary headaches, looking for your next job.