Starting a job search can be one of the most overwhelming experiences of our lives, ranking right up there with buying a house, getting married, and having children. This is especially true if you’ve worked for the same company for many years and now find yourself searching.
No matter the reason for your search, knowing where to begin is critical so start by taking a personal career inventory. This is the best way to identify what you want and what you’re capable of.
A Personal Career Inventory helps you:
Set Goals – Identifying target companies, titles, industries, locations, company cultures, and timelines will make the job search process smoother.
Keep the message consistent – Know what you want to say and how to say it professionally. If you’re exhausted, bored, angry, scared, or bitter about your job search it will show. Define the message and how you plan to present it when the opportunity comes.
Be ready when the opportunity comes – Taking a career inventory will help you identify what you want so that you’re ready when the opportunity arrives. Remember to be flexible. Some of the best opportunities come in ways we didn’t expect.
Build an easy system to track your job search – The most overwhelming part of searching is keeping track of the people you’ve networked with and the jobs you’ve applied to. Create a system that works for you for tracking and consistent follow up.
Questions to ask as you take inventory:
Do you have what you need to get started?
- Modern, accomplishment-focused resume in .docx format
- A cover letter that you can quickly customize for each position you’re considering
- A personal email account (Do not use your work and family email account)
- A professional headshot
- An All-Star LinkedIn profile
- Professional contacts and references
- What you use to track projects (spreadsheet, calendar, etc)
What do you personally need from a new job?
- Geographic location – remember to factor the cost of the commute into compensation!
- Compensation range (min and max)
- Preferred position/title/rank
- Remote options
- Benefits – know the full cost of what they will offer and what is a ‘must-have’.
What value do you bring to a potential employer?
This is also considered your “pitch”. It is a trick question in a lot of ways, you might think you need to list skills, experience, or talents but your value is summed up best by answering the question:
Once you’ve answered the tough questions it’s time to:
- Write an accomplishment focused resume
- Prepare your cover letter and thank you letters
- Create an all-star LinkedIn profile
- Set up your preferred way of tracking progress
- Keep a list of your defined job goals nearby as a reminder to stay on track.
- Keep your value proposition nearby as a reminder of what you bring to the table.
Need help answering these questions? A career coach can help.
Need a great resume and LinkedIn profile? We can help with that too.