8 Things to Do Before You Start the Job Hunt
Looking for a new job is really friggin’ hard. It can take a long time (on average 3 to 6 months!), it’s super tedious, and – and this is something we don’t talk enough about – it’s also really emotionally draining. You are putting yourself out there to be judged and that takes courage. And a lot of work. However, the more organized and prepared you can be before you start looking, the easier it will be to keep yourself motivated throughout the process.
Here are eight things you can do right now:
- Prepare for self-care. Carve out ways and time you can give back to yourself. Start with a list of things that are replenishing: sunshine, naps, chocolate, connecting with friends. Assuming that it may take approximately 2-3 months to find a new job, carve out time in your calendar for consistent self-care (the operative word being consistent.) To increase the odds of actually following through, make it reasonable and realistic – i.e. standing outside of 5 minutes with your face in the sun.
- Gather your materials. If you’ve done the whole job search thing before, dig up your old resumes, cover letters, and any other materials you used. Most likely you’ll be starting from scratch (everything needs to be tailored to the new job description), but it can be helpful to see what you’ve done before. Don’t worry if it makes you cringe, just be proud of how far you’ve come!
- Set up alerts. Besides utilizing sites like Indeed and Payscale, you should definitely set up job alerts on Google Alerts, LinkedIn, and search for keywords on Twitter using hashtags (a lot of companies have dedicated accounts just for recruitment as well.)
- Create a tracking system. Probably the most important thing you can do right now is to create a tracking system where you can stay on top of your applications. I also recommend creating an email address specifically for the job search (you just have to remember to check it!), as well as folders and labels to keep organized. I personally love Airtable, Trello, and Todoist. There are also sites like Teal and JibberJabber that are made specifically to help you track your applications. If you prefer to build your own system, here’s one way to organize it:
- Company name + information (location, services and/or products, size/number of employees, recent developments, etc.)
- Job description + potential start date
- Where you found the listing
- Names and contact info of any network connections
- Person of contact at the company
- Date of application
- Date of interview
- Follow up (keep a record of who and when you reached out)
- Preference (compared to other job applications on a scale of 1-10)
- Make a schedule. One of my mottos is, if it ain’t on the calendar, it ain’t happening. Map out the next month (don’t forget to include time for self-care!) to see when and where you can carve out space for this process. After around two weeks, review how things went and where you may need to make adjustments. For example, perhaps you thought you’d dedicate your Sunday afternoons to applying for jobs but in reality, you’re too exhausted. So instead, maybe try out doing 30 minutes every day and then reevaluate.
- Get support. Community to give you feedback, hold you accountable, and cheer you along the way. We all need perspective and between colleagues, mentors, friends, and even strangers, you can get invaluable insight into how to best position yourself. You might also want to look into hiring a coach, joining Ladies Get Paid, and/or watching our master course, How to Get the Job.
- Be open. It’s important to always keep an open mind when it comes to your career, and this process – and yes, it is a process – is going to show you a lot about yourself, your values, and your dealbreakers. So check in with yourself along the way, and be ready to pivot if necessary. There is no failure, just an opportunity to do something new or different.
- Sign up for the How to Get the Job Master Course. There is so much information out there about applying for work, it can be very easy to get very overwhelmed. So we put together a 90-minute video, along with a 40-page toolkit that has literally everything you need to do to become the best possible candidate for any job, in any industry, at any level. Learn more here and get ready to get hired!