Going after a new job can be exciting and ultimately rewarding but also intimidating and challenging. If you are simply unsatisfied with your current job and are looking for something new, it can still be hard to apply and win over employers. It’s a competitive market, no matter what your situation. So take some time to strategize, plan, and get ready to sell yourself.
1. Show off Your Skills
Applying for a job means showing off, which makes a lot of people uncomfortable. This is your time to shine. Update your resume with your current skills and experience, credentials, degrees, licenses, and anything else that highlights what you have to offer.
As you prepare to apply for jobs, you may find that your skills are out of date or limited. So it’s not a bad idea to update your marketable skills and knowledge. Consider taking classes, earning a new certification, or even working toward a degree. Whatever you can do to modernize your skills will make you a better hire.
2. Keep Tabs on Market Trends
Another part of modernizing your status is keeping up with what’s going on in your industry. If you’ve been out of the loop, start researching what’s happened in the meantime. Even if you have a gap in your career, it will show potential employers that you care enough to stay up to date.
3. Dust off That Contact List
Even if it’s been awhile since you had a professional network, you probably still have essential connections in your industry. So don’t be embarrassed to get in touch. You’ll find that most people are happy to hear from you, to find out what you’ve been up to, and even to help with your job search.
Your old network can keep you abreast of what’s going on in the industry. They can point out available positions that may not be posted yet and generally provide leads. These former coworkers or industry friends will probably be happy to connect you with employers or anyone else you need to know to get your next job.
4. Tell Your Story Your Way
One of the most challenging things about seeking a new job is explaining why. If you have been out of work, for instance, a new employer will want to know why. They’ll also want an explanation for why you want to leave a current position.
These aspects can be challenging to explain in a way that is honest but still puts you in a good light. The secret is to highlight how these transitions became learning experiences or develop your character. For example, if you had a medical leave for a long illness, describe how it affected your desire to get back to work and learn new skills.
There are many good reasons to have a gap on your resume. There are also good reasons to leave a current job. Spend some time brainstorming how you’ll talk about these issues. You don’t have to lie, but you should create a story that benefits you.
5. Protect Yourself Online
Expect any potential employer to search your name online and to go through your social media accounts. Before applying to any jobs, take a look at what the internet has to say about you. Do you like what you see? Or is there room for improvement?
To look better online, take these steps:
- Review your social media pages to look for posts you might want to remove.
- Check out social media pages of friends and family who may have tagged you in unflattering content.
- Consider making your accounts private.
- Remove any old websites you have with content you don’t like or don’t want to highlight.
- If you have some serious concerns about your online reputation, contact a professional service to remove negative internet content.
Prepare, Then Apply
When looking for a new job after a long time out of the workforce or in another position, it’s best to plan and strategize first. Take some time to update your resume, connect with old work friends, and manage your online reputation. This will make your job search more accessible and more successful.