I find myself in the midst of preparations for my second big job hunt out of college. My one year anniversary at my first job post graduation falls on Tuesday and wow have I learned a lot. Not only have I learned about the corporate world and the intricate workings of the work refrigerator, but I have learned a lot about myself and what I want when it comes to a career. I felt that it was only right to share my cheat sheet for this job search with you guys in hopes that it would maybe help someone else on this journey. I know the second job can be seen as kind of scary from afar. You have to meet new co-workers, get equipped to a whole new work culture, and start over fresh. There is also this feeling of guilt that you may have about leaving your first job. They were the first ones to believe in you and give you a chance. They might have even responded to your follow up e-mail and given you another interview when no one else did. You have to shake this feeling because we are now in an era where people don’t keep the same jobs forever. The whole “getting a job and working there for thirty years” thing is over and it is time you snap out of it and catch a grip. Well let’s get to it, these are just a few things that I think will be vital on the job search.
The LinkedIn Jobs app is a major key for job hunting. I don’t think I used it at all when I was applying for jobs my first go round. Sure, I had my LinkedIn profile cleaned up and looking nice, but I didn’t take advantage of this easy app. Not only can you search for all kinds of jobs in any state or country you want, but they also have this dope feature called Easy Apply. With Easy Apply, for jobs that have it enabled, you can just send your profile directly to the recruiter. This cuts out all of the grunt work of updating a resume in Microsoft Word. You do want to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is clean and up to date though. You can also even set up notifications for jobs you want or maybe even a certain area you want to move to and you get a notification daily right on your phone.
Don’t forget that word of mouth goes a long way. Let your friends know that you are on the hunt for a new job. You’d be surprised how quickly the conversation over drinks at happy hour can turn into you being recommended for a position by your friend to one of their friends. Also stick close to those friends who are doing exactly what you are trying to do. Pick their brains and learn what you can from them. Make sure they know that you are trying to do what they are doing. A good friend like this can always be a walking referral while they are doing that job that you want day to day. Another thing to keep in mind is that you may have friends who work for companies that offer bonuses for referrals. Trust me they will want to get you hired and will do everything to make sure that your resume is sitting on their hiring manager’s desk.
- Spending Time Looking for Jobs
This one may seem like a no brainer, but it actually does take some time and effort. I would suggest spending atleast a half hour to an hour a day applying for jobs and or editing your resume. Having that level of intensity will ensure that you have options in the long run. And that is what you want…options. At the end you want to be sorting through offers like the top high school football prospect. Also don’t be afraid to follow up. You actually should be following up until you die. Every millenial’s tombstone should have the quote, “Just wanted to reach out and follow up”. You’d be surprised how much following up helps. It shows that you are actually interested in getting the position. It shows persistance.
- Tailor Your Resume for the Jobs You Want
Another important thing is that you can’t just clean up your resume. You also need to tailor it to the exact job that you want. Get rid of the stuff that is not important for the job that you are going out for. No one cares that you were the assistant manager at the smoothie bar for two years when you are going out for a position as the lead editor for a magazine. You should actually have multiple resumes that fit for different jobs that you can use accordingly. Lastly, make sure you look up sample cover letters or templates for the job you are going out for if they require them. Should they require a cover letter you will have already worked on one that is molded specifically to their criteria.
- An Amicable Relationship with Current & Past Employers
This is really important if you value references. Form a good relationship with your current employer so that you can use them as a resource for your next job. And don’t feel scared to hit up past employers to make sure they remember you. What you don’t want is to blindly use old employers as references, and then when they are actually contacted they have no clue who you are. Next you want to make sure that you don’t just dip on your old job. Give your boss proper notice so that they have time to replace you. You also want to make sure you don’t burn bridges. No matter how much you may have hated your job or co-workers don’t burn bridges. You never know in five years they may have a new position that fits you perfectly. If the bridge is still intact you can feel free to cross back over if you see fit.
- Highlight What You’ve Learned Since Being Employed
This is where you can shine. These highlights don’t have to just be work skills, but also what you have learned since joining the work force. This is what will set you apart from all of the new grads. Make sure you are highlighting things that you are actually and truly skillful at. Things that you are comfortable ellaborating on in an interview and not stuff that you might have touched on junior year that you now no longer remember. It could get very awkward if you are asked about a skill that you really don’t know anything about. At this point don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. Talk about all those milestones and deadlines you helped meet. Talk about how you were the president of all those organizations. Talk about the projects you have been apart of. Sell yourself.
My favorite part of job hunting is negotiating. Now if you didn’t get a chance to do this on your first go round of the job search, please utilize it this time. Trust me, if a company likes you and sees that you are a fit for them, they will do just about anything to get you before someone else does. Negotiate for relocation, a sign on bonus, an earlier/later start date, negotiate it all. Now of course you have to know when you are getting a little outrageous, but honestly no one is going to give you anything unless you ask about it. Negotiating salary may seem like a tender subject, but forget all that. I mean salary is the reason why you are even looking for a job anyway. If the numbers aren’t looking like what you expected don’t hesitate to negotiate a better number. If they like you they will do whatever they can to make sure you are happy with your salary and any other bonuses they may be offering. Don’t forget to mention what you were making on your last job and what they offered as collateral. And the last thing with negotiation is to make sure that you don’t settle. Don’t settle for the first thing that sounds good unless it is your dream job. Let them know that you are interviewing else where, let them know what other companies are offering you. In parting make sure that you remember that you are the prize. These companies don’t want to just pay you because you have a great personality. They want to pay you because they believe you will benefit them in the long run.
I hope you can take something from this in whatever type of job hunt that you may be embarking on. Lastly, just be patient if you can afford to. Don’t feel ashamed if you have to move back in with your parents or stay at that job you may not like for a little while longer until everything aligns. Because trust me, trouble doesn’t last always and neither will this situation. Ten years from now you may be working a position that isn’t even thought about today. If that doesn’t help the grind I don’t know what can. If you’re reading this with a little bit of uncertainty about moving on from your first job, feel free to check out this post for some motivation: 5 Hints it’s Time to Move on From Your First Job