7 Must-Do’s to Get Your Job Search Back in Shape

Navigating a job search is a lot of work and can also have an impact on your emotions and confidence. Here are seven things to do to get yourself in a position to look for that next job.

1. UPDATE YOUR RESUME. The most important thing to remember about your resume is that it has to tell the reader who you are in such a way that they want to keep reading.

  • Use a good, clean format for your resume.
  • The top half of the first page of your resume must clearly state the value you bring to your profession and specify the types of roles and positions where you will be most successful.
  • Each of the positions you’ve listed must highlight your accomplishments in those roles.
  • Use bullets to showcase your accomplishments, but make sure they are no longer than two lines; otherwise readers lose interest.
  • When possible, show the results of your work (e.g. recovered $20k in fees; increased sales by 18%).

Remember, you don’t have to list everything you’ve ever done, just the key ways you impacted the companies you’ve worked for and the value you’ll bring no matter where you are.

2. UPDATE YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE. This is the first place people will look to see who you are and how you present yourself.

  • Your picture needs to be clear, current and professional.
  • Update your Headline (the line right below your picture) to list three to four areas of expertise.
  • Don’t use this space to advertise that you’re looking for a new job. Revise your summary to ensure the first two sentences grab the viewer’s attention enough to make the reader click on “show more”.
  • At the end of your summary, feel free to mention that you’re in a job search, and post your contact information, so people can contact you directly rather than using an inmail.
  • Make sure your most recent job showcases your successes and accomplishments.
  • Increase your connections to get maximum exposure.

Under Settings & Privacy, go to the Privacy tab and scroll down about 2/3 of the way to section titled “Job Seeking” and make sure both options are moved to “Yes”

3. INVEST IN YOUR IMAGE. How you look and present yourself is critical for how you’re perceived while networking and interviewing, and will play a role in landing your next job.

  • Have at least three really good outfits for interviewing and networking.
  • Depending on the industries you’ll be pursuing, you may not need a full suit, but I recommend having one, just in case.
  • Make sure everything is neat, clean and crisp, and make sure your clothes fit you well.
  • Take your shoes to get them shined and cleaned up.
  • Get a haircut and manicure (that applies to men, too!).

4. IDENTIFY YOUR “DEAL MAKERS” AND “DEAL BREAKERS”. In order for you to make a good decision about what job to accept, you need to know what’s absolutely essential to you.

It’s easy to think of things like commute time and compensation, but you need to be clear about a company’s culture and the leadership style of a company’s executive team. I’ve heard people say, “I get along with everyone” and “I can work anywhere”, but that isn’t true. You need to be able to articulate who you are, the values you believe in, and where you know you’ll thrive, then you need to know what to look for in the companies where you interview.

5. PRACTICE INTERVIEWING. We all need feedback about what we say, how we look, and what we can do to present our best self. Find someone you trust will give you honest feedback and role play like you’re in an interview (do this both for phone interviews and in person interviews).

  • “Tell me about yourself.” Your answer should be professionally focused, not personal, and should capture your talents and what drives you.
  • Expect to be asked about anything that is on your resume. You’ll need to explain each situation clearly, including your role, actions, results, and lessons learned.
  • You’re likely to be asked about being laid off or terminated, and what you’ve been doing since you last worked. Be honest, but don’t feel the need to go into a lot of detail. Explain what happened and what you’ve learned from the situation, then talk about how you’re now ready for your next role.
  • Prepare questions to ask the company, too.
    • How do you celebrate your successes?
    • What was the most challenging project or client you faced this year?
    • How has your company’s growth affected the company culture?
    • Tell me about the best hire you ever made,
    • Tell me about a couple of the mentors you’ve had in your career.

6. CREATE A JOB SEARCH PLAN. Plan your day/week, so you know you’re applying at least 25 – 30 hours of time to searching for a new job.

  • Reach out to your former colleagues, people who know your work, and business contacts you know and trust. Let them know you’re looking for a new role and be specific about how they can help you.
  • Expand your LinkedIn connections.
  • Meet with recruiters who specialize in your area of expertise.
  • Go to workshops for job seekers and get to know the leadership (they know a lot of people and are natural connectors).
  • If you’re looking to work in a specific industry, find groups where those industry professionals meet.
  • Be a consistent visitor to these groups. It’s a waste of time to show up once and never return.
  • Search job boards for positions that interest you (LinkedIn.com, Indeed.com, SimplyHired.com)
  • If you can, find a person who can connect you to someone in the company.
  • Apply online, only as a last resort.
  • Create a list of target companies where you’d like to work.

7. ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING. Be Ready to show people a positive, confident self. Now that you’re looking great and feel ready to interview, it’s critically important to maintain a positive attitude and show confidence.

Own Your Story. The way you speak about who you are, what you’ve done, the people you’ve worked with, and what you want to do, will make or break your progress. This will come through in your body language, as well as your voice and the words you choose. Before you enter a building, take a moment to settle your nerves and think positive thoughts. It may sound cliché, but it really does make a difference in how you “show up” and present yourself.


Julia is a Career Strategist and Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach based in the Bay Area. She helps career-focused professionals showcase their unique abilities and talents in order to amplify their presence in their chosen fields and when re-entering the job market. Julia uses her extensive leadership experience in interviewing, executive management, business development, team building and recruiting to help her clients have the career they always wanted. Learn more about Julia at www.JuliaHolian.comwww.LinkedIn.com/in/JuliaHolian,   https://Twitter.com/JuliaHolian (@JuliaHolian) and www.Facebook.com/JuliaHolian

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