Looking for a job can be a daunting task, even in good times. To help you organize your efforts, use this checklist. Being buttoned up is especially important if you're working and looking for a new position, because you have to stay on your game even while you're scoping out new positions.
1. Do What You Can To Keep Yourself Employed
· Step up to help out; be a utility player - you might find a satisfying new role in the organization.
· If things are getting unbearable, look to what you do outside of work to stay sane and carve out time to devote to your career strategy.
· Take the high road - resist the temptation to do job search activities on company time.
2. Revive Your Resume
· Develop an all-purpose resume that's ready to go on short notice, but also develop a Master Resume document you'll tailor to reflect different opportunities. See the "tailored" vs. "off the rack" resume comments here.
· Be sure your bullet points answer the "So What?" question. Emphasize context and results, and de-emphasize job responsibilities.
· Lead with verbs ("Managed," not "Responsible for managing"). Search "resume action words" online.
3. Order Personal Business Cards
· Name, cell phone, personal e-mail address, brief descriptive title ("CFO") if appropriate.
4. Set Up A Personal (Not Family) E-Mail Account If You Don't Have One Already
· Keep it simple: Jane_Smith@xxx.com - not Racquetball_King@xxx.com
5. Revisit Your Voicemail Greetings (Home And Cell). Are They Appropriate For a Job Search?
· "You've reached the cellphone mailbox of Jill Moneypenny" -- let the caller know they've reached their intended number.
· Nothing silly, please -- no singing children.
6. Determine Your Minimum and Ideal Salaries
7. Develop an "Elevator Pitch" and Practice It Out Loud Till It's Second Nature
· Concisely describe who you are and what you offer, ideally in about 30 seconds.
· If you're unclear on exactly what you'd like to do next, it's fine to say something like, "Right now I'm evaluating ways to combine my background in A with my personal interest in B."
· Leave yourself a voicemail with your elevator pitch -- it's always a good thing to get an idea of how you sound.
8. Read Articles From Efinancialcareers.Com's Career Toolkit Daily - They're Relevant To Everyone
9. Subscribe Online to a Regional Business Journal to See Who's Growing
· Visit www.bizjournals.com and click on "Choose Another City" to find your area.
10. Interview For Information
· Connect with a college or work alumnus/a or friend of a friend -- have a phone conversation, or meet for coffee. Ask candid questions as you develop your job search strategy: Where should I be looking for job opportunities - online, recruiters, networking, finance professional organizations? What are typical salary ranges? What backgrounds are successful in the role you're in? What surprises you about the work you do?
11. Revisit Your Online Presence
· Employers do look. Is your online image (or lack thereof) in synch with the professional image you'd like to portray?
12. Start Lining Up References
· Identify a cross-section of references, brief them about your career plans, and confirm that they're willing to speak confidentially on your behalf.
· Give each reference a heads-up every time you provide their name to an employer, and brief them on the specifics of the opportunity.
13. Reconnect With Your Alma Mater And Their Career Resources For Alumni
14. Consider Meeting With An Independent Career Counselor To Map Out Your Strategy And Options
· View www.acpinternational.org for recommendations.
15. Dust Off the Interviewing Cobwebs
· Examples, examples, examples - build an arsenal of great stories about your accomplishments.
· What are the current trends? Ask informational interviewing and HR contacts.
· Phone interviews are increasingly common; look online for tips for successful telephone interviewing.
· Practice at home - talk out loud, watch yourself in the mirror.
16. Critique Your Appearance in Anticipation of Interviews
· Have at least one up-to-date suit or outfit tailored and ready. Shoes in great shape. Hairstyle, eyeglasses, accessories up-to-date. Nice-looking portfolio and/or briefcase with handsome pen.
· Tune in to career conversations even when socializing - get an idea of what other people are doing, which organizations are growing, the nuances of the job search for different careers and employers.
· Attend professional organization meetings to keep current while expanding your network.
· Connect with recruiters if relevant.
· Expand your mind and your network to keep things interesting - attend lectures at local colleges/universities, teach a community education course, pursue that long-put-aside hobby, join a round-robin.
18. Fine-Tune Your Job Search Strategy and Start Applying
· Integrate what you've learned from your research and your informational interviews and determine where the jobs are - Online? Via recruiters? Networking? Combination?
19. Interview and Evaluate
· Ask about next steps when you interview so you may follow up appropriately.
· When you receive an offer: Get the facts, say "thank you," and stop talking! Digest the information and talk it through with a trusted partner before negotiating.