How To Get Ready to Start a Job Search
Are you ready to start a job search? Sometimes, a job search happens by choice. Other times, you don’t have an option. In either case, it’s important to be ready to change jobs—because you never know when a career transition might become necessary for you.
If possible, it’s always a good idea to stay on excellent terms with your previous employers by always giving plenty of notice, offering to help find and train a replacement, and agreeing to be available for questions in the future. If it’s not, and sometimes you’ll need to leave right away, it’s important to be ready to pivot quickly into job search mode.
Take Care of the Basics First
Whether you’re about to hand in your resignation or you’ve just received a pink slip, it’s important to prepare to leave your current role and to conduct a job search.
Take care of the basics first and check on eligibility for continuation of health and life insurance benefits, accrued vacation pay, unused sick pay, and other payments terminated employees may be entitled to.
Check on Insurance and Unemployment
Keep in mind that there may be a lag between when your current health insurance coverage ends and a new policy starts. If you’ve been terminated, ask your employer about eligibility for continuing coverage through COBRA and file for unemployment immediately. You may be able to file over the phone or online.
Also, check into the government’s Health Insurance Marketplace plans. A marketplace plan may be a more affordable option than COBRA.
Don’t Wait to Start Job Hunting
If your work situation is unstable and you’re not sure if you’ll still have a job tomorrow, get ready to start a job search now. Don’t wait until you’re unemployed to start looking.
Remember, you don’t have an obligation to accept a new position if you get an offer. Plus, it never hurts to see what’s available. You never know—you just might get an offer you can’t refuse!
How to Prepare for a Job Search
Get organized. Your job search will be much easier if it’s organized and streamlined. One of the best ways to organize your job search is to use Teal to build your resume, optimize your LinkedIn profile, and track your job search. The basic version is free. Also take a look at some other simple and easy ways to organize your job hunt.
Use personal contact information. Use non-work contact information for your job search communications, so it’s easy for employers to get in touch with you via email and phone. It’s safer too. Some employers track employee activity and you don’t want to get caught using company resources for job searching. That could cost you your job.
Tip: Make sure your primary email address on LinkedIn is a personal one. You don’t want to lose access to your account when you leave your job.
Research the job market. Especially if it’s been a while since you had to search for a job, it pays to take the time to check out the job market before you start a job search. This is easy to do online; there are free salary calculators that can help you estimate your worth in the current market, and you can also use the advanced search options available on job sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and CareerBuilder to get an idea about the demand for your professional skills in different geographic markets.
Create or update your LinkedIn Profile. LinkedIn is an invaluable tool for job searching and career networking, since people often learn about the most exciting new job opportunities through their professional networks. Creating a profile and building a network allows prospective employers to review your resume, alerts you to new job openings, and introduces you to other professionals who might be willing to recommend you as a job candidate to their own companies. Review these tips for optimizing your LinkedIn profile to make the best impression.
Build your network. If you haven’t been very active on LinkedIn, spend some time each day growing your network. Connect with current and former co-workers, business contacts, university alumni, and professional connections. The more people you’re connected with, the more people who may be able to assist with your search for employment.
Show recruiters that you’re open for work. Let recruiters on LinkedIn know that you’re interested in new opportunities. Use LinkedIn’s Open to Work tool to share your availability. If you’re employed, be sure to select recruiters only to keep your job search private.
Check your social media. Unless you are using them specifically to promote your career, it’s advisable to keep your social media profiles as private as possible. You want prospective employers to focus on your professional qualifications, not what you are doing personally.
Update your resume. It’s important to have a well-written resume and compelling cover letters (specifically tailored for each job to which you apply). Quite simply, resumes help get us interviews. Our resume writing guide will help you write an interview-winning resume that will showcase your professional accomplishments, your educational achievements, and the skills that qualify you for a job.
Get ready to write cover letters that show why you’re a fit. A cover letter is often your earliest written contact with a potential employer, creating a critical first impression. Use our cover letter writing guide to ensure that your job search correspondence is top-notch.
Compile a list of references. Plan ahead and compile a list of references, so you’re prepared when a prospective employer requests them. Get contact information for your co-workers, vendors, customers, etc., so you’ll have it for future networking purposes.
Important: Be sure to ask for permission to use them as a reference before you use give out anyone’s name and contact information to a prospective employer.
Have a reason for leaving ready. If you’ve left your job, or are even just planning on quitting, be prepared with an answer for interviewers who are going to want to know why you resigned or were fired or laid off.
How To Handle Your Resignation
Finally, if you are resigning, always leave on the best terms you possibly can and don’t burn any bridges. Let the company know in advance that you’re leaving, when possible, let them know why (as diplomatically as possible), and thank them for having had the opportunity to work there.
Tip: Do you have companies on your radar that you’d be thrilled to work for? Here’s how to get noticed by your dream company.