By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS

Whether you have just been laid off or have been working on a career campaign for a while, the New Year brings with it the opportunity to start your job search anew. However, for some people, the feeling of being overwhelmed takes over and they are not sure where to begin. Below you will find 8 tips to start you on your way towards an organized, strategic, planned career search that will bring you closer to your next career transition.

1. Attitude Adjustment. If you were laid off from your job, there are a lot of feelings that accompany this job loss. Some people get angry, some are sad, some become paralyzed and others feel lost. While all of this is normal, the successful candidates are those who realize that this is where they are and what they have to deal with. They take time to deal with the situation but move past it as well so that they can focus on the actions they need to take to secure their next position. Working it through quickly and letting go is the first part of goal attainment.

2. Gain Clarity.  Take some time to think about what you want to do in your next job. This is very important because if you are not clear on what you want, it will be very hard to figure out the steps necessary to get what you want. So, what does this mean? Well, think about what you want from your next job. Do you want to switch industries? Do you want to change careers totally? Do you want to work in a bigger or smaller company setting? Should it be for-profit or non-profit? Take some time to start shaping the vision of your next job. This is one thing that people often forget about in the process. They just turn around and try to go back and do the same thing that they did before. However, for some people, this is a golden opportunity to make the career change they have thought of in the past.

3. Online Presence Check. Another important action to take is to do a check of your  “Online Presence” to see what is out there and what needs to be worked on. Look at facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Flickr and other places that you appear and make sure that you do not have photographs or other information that will reflect you in a negative way.  For example, you do not want to have pictures that show you having taken time off from work for an unapproved reason or holding onto company property that you took home but should not have. You also do not want pictures of yourself getting drunk or doing illegal drugs. You want your presence to appear professional and further support that you have the skills and professionalism for the position you are applying for.

4. Resume Review and Rewrite. Take out your resume and give it a good once over. Is it modern or is this the resume you used 8-10 years ago? Find out what a modern resume should look like and see if yours needs revision. One of the most important things to do for your resume and for your job search in general is to have a strong Value Proposition.  I often call this the “spine” of your career search. It is the statement that answers the question of who you are in relation to the role that you are seeking.  It can be used as part of the introductory paragraph of your resume. It takes some introspective thought to create this statement of the value that you bring to the table so be sure to invest in it.

Re-working your resume is an arduous task that will pay great dividends when you are able to communicate your value and support it with the successes of your work life. It is important to show an employer that when they hire you, the successes that you have had are what you are going to bring to them.  The best way to do this is by recounting these achievements and providing metrics so that an employer can concretely understand what you can do.  A picture is painted when you describe handling global Human Resource issues in Digital Media for a staff of 1,000 employees worldwide rather than saying Human Resources in Digital Media. This is how you can promote your brand and distinguish yourself. Remember, looking for a job is a selling process where the product you are selling is yourself and what you can do for an employer.

5. Create or Review and Update Your LinkedIn Profile. LinkedIn is the largest professional social media platform so having a good profile is important. When employers are looking to see if they want to bring you in for an interview, they will often check out your LinkedIn profile. So make sure that it is a good reflection of you from a business perspective.

6. Networking. Networking is a very important part of a successful career campaign. The “hidden job market” is often accessed through your network contacts.  What is this hidden job market? Oftentimes, before a position gets out onto the company website. a job board or some other method of advertising, someone hears about it and recommends a person for the position. Many times people are hired at this stage and the job never goes out elsewhere. The only way to hear about it is through someone who knows someone. And, the best way to do this is to share your situation with  your network.

7. Track your efforts. There are a number of things that you will be doing throughout this process including completing a number of applications, sending cover letters, creating and sending customized resumes, attending events and meetings, interviewing etc.  As a result, you need to have a way to track all of this. Figure out what works for you and scrupulously track your actions.

8. Prepare for interviews. Gone are the days when you went for an interview and the company spoke to you about what they do to educate you.  Today, it is expected that when you interview for a position, you have researched all different types of information about the company from what they do to the company culture to press releases and beyond.  Do your homework and be prepared.

I trust the above information will help you navigate the road of your career transition.  As always, I am here to help you. If you find that you are struggling, please contact me. Whether you want help with your resume, mock interviewing, or figuring out your strategy, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Every Success –