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8 Tips to Help Prepare for a Job Search

By Alicia Stevens, BC Management:

There comes a time in everyone’s career when they will consider a job change. Some desire career advancement and others may be affected by a company downsizing. Regardless of the reason, embarking on a job search requires preparation.

Consider the below tips to help you get started:

1. Update your resume and cover letter. Make sure your resume has the necessary keywords that hiring managers (and importantly, the applicant tracking software) are looking for in your field. Resumes can get outdated very easily, so if you haven’t looked for a job in a while, be sure that all the dates and job titles are correct but more importantly, don’t just add to it! Make sure to remove items as you grow more senior and advanced in your career. As you apply to jobs with a different focus, be sure to tailor your resume to each position — it could make or break your chances of getting an interview. Finally, don’t neglect to put some time and effort into writing a compelling note to the recruiter or hiring manager. No matter how great your resume is, it won’t matter if it never gets opened because you flop on your introductory email.

2. Freshen up your social accounts. Make sure your LinkedIn profile looks as good as your resume and you have plenty of endorsements from colleagues. A recent article indicated 80% of recruiters and hiring managers are using LinkedIn to vet candidates for their open positions. More generally, do a review of your online reputation and your social media accounts and clean up whatever you think does not reflect well on you as a job seeker (yes, that means you may have to delete certain photos on your Instagram account). Don’t forget that it’s not all about managing downside.

3. Start searching for jobs and do your research on potential companies, their policies, culture, and benefits that are important to you.

4. Get in touch with headhunters and recruiters that specialize in your field. Network, even if you hate to network. Or, attend local association meetings or conferences instead of networking events.

5. During your interview process, be aware that if your first round is a telephone screen that there are certain things that are especially important for over-the-phone interviews. Be sure to research telephone interview tips to know what to focus on and how to prepare. Don’t forget to prepare questions to ask of your interviewer — not doing so could make you look unengaged or uninterested in the role.

6. Be prepared to ask colleagues and former managers (if applicable) for references in advance so that you don’t slow down the job offer process hunting down people who are willing to speak on your behalf.

7. Figure out your salary requirements and prepare to negotiate ahead of time. This is the time to make sure you get paid what you’re worth, but you also need to be realistic of what the current job market trends are as well as what the total compensation package is. If you’re not sure what a fair salary is, do your research by salaries and companies.

While not every point above may apply to you, depending on your seniority level, industry and the kind of job you’re looking for, you’ll certainly be spared that awkward moment of regret if you use this list!

8. Finally, as tedious as it may seem, you must send a thank-you note after every interview and make sure you follow-up the right way and yes, an email will work. Arguably this can be just as important as the impression you made during the interview process itself, particularly if the hiring manager is having a difficult time deciding between candidates. Be sure to use proper grammar and reiterate your interest.

About the Author: Alicia Stevens is the Talent Manager for BC Management, responsible for implementing strategies that enable BC Management to recruit, a high performing and motivated workforce for her clients. She has served as the Director of Program Development and Membership for the Association of Contingency Planners Orange County Chapter and is an active member of the Business Resumption Managers Association. She can be reached at

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