This blog post is the first of a 5-part series titled “Everything You Need to Know Before you Enter the Job Market.” Our career expert, Sadie Guzman, will explore the job search process from start to finish to make sure you are fully prepared to land your next career opportunity.
“So, You Want a New Job? Here’s Where to Start.”
Are you looking for the next step in your career? Or perhaps you wish to change careers completely, maybe you are relocating and need a fresh start. Whatever your reason for entering the job market, the first thing you must focus on is understanding yourself and what is within your scope of control. There are many possible factors affecting the job search that are unknown, unfamiliar, and out of your control, which can cause anxiety. For example, you will not be able to control when you receive an interview call, what the job market looks like for your desired career, or if you ultimately land the position. The truth is, you will never be able to control all aspects of the job search and application process. Sometimes it comes down to having the right timing. Instead of fixating on factors out of your reach, think positively and direct your efforts toward self-improvement.
What do you want out of your next role? Before starting the job search, engage in a self-reflection session to understand what your goals are, and what skills you may have to help achieve those goals. Reflection can help you focus your job hunt and get a good sense of how you are feeling about entering the market. It is important that you have a clear mindset before beginning the often frustrating and uncertain process. Be prepared for the job search to be time-consuming and possibly full of rejection. You must take care of yourself to succeed in a new workplace!
- What motivates me to wake up in the morning?
- What do I value in a work environment?
- Where do I want to live?
- What type of compensation do I need to live comfortably?
Self-reflection is also a great way to narrow down what you don’t want to do! After identifying certain elements of your current job that you dislike, you can seek out a position that specifically does not incorporate these aspects. Additionally, if you are contemplating changing careers, you could even seek the help of friends or mentors. Ask the people around you what they think you are skilled in to identify your next career move. You could also consider utilizing LinkedIn’s new Career Explorer to gain some direction for your new job transition. Taking the time for this reflection will help you achieve better success down the road by knowing yourself and where you want to go!
Do Your Research!
The second step to necessary for success in your job search is to do your research. The past few years have seen tremendous changes within the job search & application process, and the historical hiring trends you may be familiar with may be outdated and inaccurate. To be a competitive candidate, you will want to make sure you are up to date with how the hiring process works and the newest trends. Being informed about the journey you are about to embark on will allow you to be more prepared and alleviate any uneasiness. The more knowledgeable you are, the more control you will have over your success! If the acronyms ATS or WFH are unfamiliar to you, I recommend that you conduct some research on what a job search looks like in 2021. Applicant tracking systems (ATS), working from home (WFH), video interviewing, and online networking are a few of the job market trends you will encounter during your research.
You will also want to research the companies that you are interested in working for. Since you will have done your reflection, you will know what you value and what you are seeking in your new position. Don’t restrict your research to only websites and social media, expand your understanding by having conversations with the companies’ employees. Consider conducting informational interviews with both current and former employees to get the inside scoop! You can find and reach out to these individuals through a simple LinkedIn search. This research will definitely pay off as you go through the interview process!
Showcase Your Strengths & Organize!
Now that you understand your personal values and job market trends, it is time to prepare your professional presence before you apply. We will go over resumes in a later blog, but in general it is time to locate the document, dust it off, or even start from scratch! Besides your resume, the other thing you will want to pay special attention to is your online presence, most importantly your LinkedIn profile. Your LinkedIn profile will be one of the first things that recruiters and hiring managers evaluate to determine your candidacy. LinkedIn is a fantastic way to showcase your qualifications as an applicant and your unique personality. With the amount of influence that your online presence can have on your candidacy, make sure to take the time to create a thorough and engaging profile that aligns with the role you are seeking.
Finally, staying organized during your job search will also be key to your success. The job search can take up to several months. Since you will be continuously applying, you will want to keep track of where you applied, when you applied, and what materials you applied with. I recommend that you create a folder for every position with an Excel spreadsheet documenting all the roles you applied to. Each folder should include the tailored resume you used to apply, your cover letter, and a Word document copy of the job description. Then, in your spreadsheet you can include the title of the job, company, date applied, and any other details such as the professional references you listed on the application.
Once you understand what you are looking for in your next role, what the most recent hiring trends are, and how to stay organized, you can begin looking for positions! Remember to focus on aspects of the search that are within your control.
The next blog in this series will explore how to search for jobs and where to find them!
Sadie Guzman has over 7 years of experience in the career services field, supporting job seekers to achieve their career goals. She is passionate about hiring trends, recruiting best practices, and demystifying job search myths, and considers herself an advocate for those seeking employment. She currently serves as the Associate Director for MIS Career Management in the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, where she advises graduate students on all aspects of career development and connects employers, alumni, and students. In her free time, Sadie loves traveling, spending time with her husband and Pomeranian, and playing in an adult kickball league!
Connect with Sadie on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sadieguzman/