So You Decided to Look for a Job. What Do You Do Next?

Nancy Anderson
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Whether you're fresh out of college ready to start your career, newly unemployed looking to break back into the industry or a long-time employee yearning for a change of scenery, starting out on a new job search can leave you feeling intimidated. If you're not sure where to begin, take a deep breath, then review these six steps to starting the job search and finding a position you love.

Step 1: Perfect Your Resume

One key to any successful job search is a flawless resume. Start with a career summary, add your educational background, list employment dates and job titles, outline significant achievements and highlight relevant skills. Proofread your resume for grammar and spelling errors, and make sure the format is professional and uncluttered. Ask a trusted friend, colleague or family member to review it with fresh eyes.

Step 2: Write Cover Letters

Draft a generic cover letter template that you can use for every application. Include a brief introduction that explains your skills and goals, talk about your impressive achievements, and discuss your strengths. Throughout the job search, you can customize this template as needed to provide a tailored document to each position for which you apply.

Step 3: Narrow Your Search

As you scour job boards and flip through newspapers, be sure to focus your sights on positions that meet your goals. Review your skills, and think about your dream job. Direct your job search so that you're putting ample effort into finding the jobs that really interest you and suit your aspirations.

Step 4: Utilize Social Media

Review your social media accounts thoroughly to make sure they're sending the right impression to potential employers. Remove any inappropriate photos and questionable posts. Update your LinkedIn account so that all dates and contact information are current.

Step 5: Use Your Network

Reach out to mentors, previous employers or former colleagues to ask about potential job openings. Let these contacts know that you're on the job search so they can make you aware of any positions that become available. Attend job fairs and industry events to expand your network. use LinkedIn to connect without professionals in your field.

Step 6: Boost Your Skills

Take inventory of your marketable skills, then review the skills that seem to appear on multiple job postings. Decide on one or two that you could learn. Seek out training courses or take classes at a local community college so you can add these new marketable skills to your resume.

If you're starting a new job search, there's a lot more to it than just checking out the job boards and sending in your resume. It's a process, so be sure you have plenty of time and energy to devote to it. Get started with these six steps.

Photo courtesy of Master isolated images at


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