Best Laid Plans: 5 Things to Do Before Starting a New Job Search

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Best Laid Plans: 5 Things to Do Before Starting a New Job Search

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the number of people who quit their jobs reached 3.2 million in January of 2017. The unemployment rate is steadily dropping this year as well. Job-seekers are feeling justifiably confident in their ability to make a career change in this current market. According to a recent Gallop poll, 51% of employees are actively looking for new positions or watching for job openings.  It’s not surprising that many employees would be eager to explore other opportunities for any number of reasons. Sometimes the cause is a lack of connection with a supervisor. Another reason could be a lack of mobility within an organization. Sometimes there is just a general feeling that he or she is unappreciated or undervalued in their current situations. If this resonates with you, you may want to start preparing for a career change. Here are some important things to do before you start off on your journey.

Evaluate and Improve Your Online Image

If you’re using job boards like Indeed, Monster or Careerbuilder, be sure that each of these have your most recent resume, and that the position and salary information is consistent throughout. Hiring managers will be looking for inconsistencies, so make sure that the tone, facts and dates all match.  If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you should create one before you begin your search. LinkedIn is an invaluable resource for recruiters and hiring managers.  Business Insider  advises that profiles with photos receive 21 times more views and nine times more connection requests. This same article is a virtual “how to” for maximizing the reach and efficacy of your LinkedIn profile, provided by Hari Srinivasan, head of identity products at LinkedIn.  Since we’re discussing social networking, now is a good time to consider taking down or replacing any social media photos or posts that might portray you in a less than desirable way to prospective employers. According to Glassdoor, 80% of employers will Google you before they invite you for an interview. Your character and behavior are just as important to many organizations as your qualifications for the position.

Create a Target Employer List

Careerbuilder estimates that there is about a 2 month period from when a job search begins to when you accept an offer. In an effort to stay organized and focused in the course of your search, many career counselors will recommend that you create a target employer list. Simply put, this is a spreadsheet type list of organizations where you would like to work.  It should include company name, contact, website, the date you submitted your resume, and if you’ve followed up or not. At minimum, this list should include at least 25 prospects. This is a good number to ensure that you are covering enough ground in your search, and that you are applying to companies that may or may not be currently hiring. Use this as a tool to remind you when it’s time to follow up. As you receive calls from prospective employers, you’ll have the list in front of you to quickly reference pertinent information and appear more informed.

Brush up on the Core Skills of Your Desired Job Title

For starters, it’s important to research what these skills currently are in today’s market. This is especially important if you’ve been in the same position for a number of years. Industry qualifications and technology may have changed since your last job search. Core skills are almost always included in the company job description. If not, you can research them through online searches of the job title. An article on Time’s Money section references 21 of the most valuable career skills. Another article from the same source talks about some ways to acquire them, including tapping into your current organization’s resources, as well as some useful online certifications. The Muse offers a tip about 18 free classes you can use to boost your skills in areas like Microsoft Excel, social media platforms and even foreign languages.

Determine if a Career Move is a Logical Step

Start by asking yourself if the grass is really greener on the other side. The Muse cautions that we often get trapped in a vicious cycle of negative thinking about our jobs when we feel frustrated by supervisors, procedures or co-workers.  Make a list of pros and cons about your current position to gain perspective. Sometimes it’s not our jobs that are the problem, but the way in which we’re thinking about them.

From a financial perspective, there are some very important things to consider before you begin your search. What is your current salary and how does it compare with others in the market? Turn to resources like or a trusted recruiter to find out what the current pay rate for someone in your job title. Many candidates have unrealistic salary expectations that can sabotage their job search, and literally price them out of the market for their desired position.

Take into account all of the aspects of your current compensation package to evaluate the complete value of your salary. Does your current employer pay for your medical benefits? Do they provide in-house childcare or paid maternity/paternity leave? Some employers offer additional types of compensation for tenured employees that you could stand to lose by walking away from a current position. Weighing these factors against the unknowns of another organization may cause you to reconsider leaving.

Consider speaking to a career coach

Regardless of your age, you probably know a few people who still don’t know what they want to be when they grow up. If you aren’t exactly sure yourself, it may be beneficial to speak with a career counselor to gain some perspective. Career coaches can help you develop your skills to achieve greater success and advancement in a current position. They can also help you discover if it is time for a complete overhaul of your career and guide you through the process of retooling your resume and targeting your job search. While there is a lot of career counseling information available through online resources, The Muse maintains that there is no substitute for the personalized instruction a job-seeker can get through a career coach. He or she will focus on your personal brand and abilities, and help to package it in a way that is meaningful and valuable to perspective employers.

According to the Holms-Rahe Life Stress Inventory scale, job changes are among the top ten most stressful life events that humans encounter. Even if those changes are for the better, they can still be stress-inducing, and cause anxiety. Having a clear plan for when and how your career change will take place can help to build your confidence and reduce the anxiety that comes with an uncertain future. Many hiring managers will ask the question candidates often dread: “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” According to LinkedIn, Employers ask this question because they want to know that you’re willing to stick around, and grow with the organization. A Fortune  article revealed that employee retention is the top concern among business leaders in 2017. If you’ve reached the interview stage, you should already have established that this is a company that you could see yourself working in, given the opportunity. Having a clear picture of what you want to do, what you’re most qualified to do, and what you want for your future will help guide you in your search and demonstrate that you are focused and driven.

Bradley Staffing Group is a full-service staffing firm based in Wayne, PA. We are committed to matching A-level talent with best-in-class businesses. Our knowledgeable and well-trained staff brings a combined 70+ years of staffing experience to our clients and candidates alike.


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