jobsearchIt’s that time! Time to launch yourself into a new job search. Perhaps your project is coming to an end. Or maybe you’re discontent in your current position. Maybe you’ve been at your current company for a while and just get the feeling that it’s time to move onto a new place. Whatever the motivation, you need a plan to get started and this post will give you some tips for mid-level up to senior job searches to make the process more streamlined.

Research

Step 1 is to reacquaint yourself with the current job market. Look through job ads for the kind of roles that you may want to pursue. As you read, take note of reoccurring skills, technologies, buzz words, things that employers are looking for and also things that recruiters will be able to pick up with a quick scan of your resume.

Resumes

Next prepare a few versions of your resume. Each version should focus more towards a particular skillset or type of job that you are looking for. After working in one company for a few years you will have performed a lot of different work. Emphasise the parts of your work that are most relevant for the type of job you are looking for with each version of your resume. Just like writing a good email – keep the most relevant and important information at the top of each section. When you start applying, you’ll have a few good ‘base resumes’ that you can further customise to suit the role you’re applying for.

There are many sites out there on how to write a good resume. Remember there are different styles used in different countries so something that’s appropriate for someone else may not work in your environment.

Practice interview questions

After you’ve prepared your resumes, it’s good to re-familiarise yourself with the common interview questions. There are also many sites out there with a lot of information on common interview questions.

One very useful tip that will make it easier to prepare for your interviews later on, is to think of the 3 most valuable capabilities you bring to an organisation. Then prepare 2 stories that demonstrate each of these capabilities. With 6 solid stories that you can adapt depending on what the interviewer is interested in, you’ll feel much more confident when answering behavioural style interview questions.

Application tracker

Sometimes you may have multiple applications in progress or even head hunters looking for you! You still want to leave a good impression at your current employer so you’ll still be concentrating on your work there too. You may also have a lot of other things going on in your life. In these situations it’s easy to lose track of your applications or forget a recruiter’s name or contact details.

To solve this problem, prepare a job application tracking spreadsheet. Include columns to capture the Date, Tags to filter on, Description, Recruiter contact details, Employer contact details and status – open/closed. Later, you can log all your job search related interactions in the spreadsheet. This data can also come in useful in your next job search and provide insights, contacts, and lessons learned.

Professional network

Now you’ve got the foundation ready for your job search and you can start reaching out to people from your professional network. You can talk to your friends in different companies, colleagues who have recently left your current company (the place they went to may be hiring), previous managers whom you have a good reputation with. See if their company is looking for people.

Applying

Time to submit your applications. Job search sites are great however you do need to devote a bit of time to customising your applications. For every application, take one of your ‘base resumes’ and customise it for the particular job using the information in the job advertisement. If you heard of an opening through your professional network, find out as much as you can about what the prospective employer is looking for and customise your resume accordingly.

Interviews

There are two key ingredients to having a successful interview. The first is Preparation. Once one of your applications results in you setting up an interview, research the company and carefully examine what the job is looking for. With this information prepare some good questions to ask at the interview, and prepare to answer the common interview questions.

The other key ingredient is Perception. If you can give the prospective employer the perception that you are smart, you are motivated for the job and you will solve their problems, then you’re in. Sometimes you need to be able to think on your feet in the interviews and practice will make you better at this.

Always keep in mind what the prospective employer is looking for, and relate your answers back to those points, creating the perception that you will solve their problems. It’s also really great if you can relate your answers back to things the interviewers have told you about their company or projects during the interview. Also, if you can ask questions during the interview, suddenly it changes from an interrogation into you and the interviewer(s) working on a project together which is a very positive outcome.

One last point on interviews – remember that they want to hire you! That’s why they are interviewing you. You just need to let them know that you’re smart, motivated for the job and will solve their problems.

Resigning

Once it’s time to resign, the most important thing is to keep a good reputation at the employer you’re resigning from. Even if you have been treated poorly, don’t say anything negative in your last few weeks. If you do, it’ll likely be passed on through the gossip grapevine. The people you worked with will also move on to other companies at some point and inevitably you’ll end up working with, or for, some of them in the future.

You made it – time to impress

Once you start in your new company, you’ll want to work very hard, be efficient and social at the same time. Creating a good first impression will greatly help you in your new company and will give you many more options later on.

As you get to more senior positions in your career. The steps are quite similar however you’ll spend more time on different points. E.g. For a very senior position, you’ll spend a lot more time researching and networking than you will on applications and may not spend any time on job search sites. You may not even submit a single application as you make connections through presentations that you give or conferences you attend. You’ll still spend time preparing for interviews though, as it always takes a bit of practice to get into the right frame of mind if you haven’t been looking for a while.

Do you have ideas to create a streamlined job search?

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