Make the most of this holiday season with a checklist for your job search.
It's conventional wisdom that successful people often make and follow to-do lists, and this is as true for the job search as anywhere else. As the holiday season fast approaches, keep your job hunt top of mind by making a practical checklist for your job hunt — and checking it twice. Here's what every job seeker should be sure to include on a holiday to-do list.
1) Update your resume
Your resume should be updated at least once a year, or more regularly if you've changed jobs. Keep it around one page if you're new to the workforce and two pages if you're a mid-level or senior-level professional. Make sure it is pleasing to the eye with a readable, professional font and layout. If you are still using an resume objective statement, update it to a professional summary and add in keywords for searchability. Above all, make sure you list your specific accomplishments and the measurable impact you've made at previous jobs, not just your responsibilities.
2) Monitor relevant job boards
Job boards may not be the only way to find jobs, but that doesn't mean you should neglect their existence. After you have a well-written resume filled with accomplishments, upload it to relevant job boards. A word of warning — your resume's format may be altered if you copy and paste it as text, so be sure to double check before you click complete. Sign up to receive email alerts on jobs that may interest you, and take a few minutes each day to check out the latest openings. And of course, update your profile on each job board whenever you update your resume.
3) Manage your social media presence
Social media is a great way to stay in touch with your network and build connections with potential employers. Because of this, maintaining a positive, professional online presence should be a key part of your job-search strategy. But it goes much further than simply making sure that your profile is consistent with your resume. Through sites like LinkedIn and Twitter, you can build your personal brand and strengthen yourself as a candidate. You can also use social media to join relevant professional groups, participate in industry discussions online, and post interesting content. This will help you establish online credibility and may also lead to new and useful connections. Try to post updates to your profiles at least twice a week.
4) Make the most of your professional network
Your professional network is a powerful tool, so take advantage of it when you are searching for a job. Reach out to your network about your goals and ask questions. Don't harass everyone in your contact list about job opportunities, but do stay current and let people know you're on the market and would appreciate appropriate introductions. Find out what you can do for others as well. You'd be surprised at how often you can help, and stronger relationships can only benefit you further down the line.
5) Create cover letters
This takes time, so a good technique is to have a really great template and some bullet points you can plug in, depending upon the role. When you apply for a position, it's important that you tailor the cover letter as much as possible for that particular job. Hiring managers can tell when you've sent them a copy-pasted cover letter, so take the time to modify every letter you send out so it's a match for the job in question.
By diligently following this job-search checklist, you can maximize your time and efforts this holiday season and position yourself to start the New Year with a new career.
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