Your 6-Point Checklist for How to Look For a Job When You Haven't Been on the Job Search in Ages

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
May 24, 2024 at 4:9PM UTC

We’re in a new age of job hunting. The Great Resignation, a period characterized by mass exoduses from employers around the world, is full of opportunities for job seekers, but at the same time, it presents new challenges — especially if you haven’t looked for a new role in a while. 

If you are newly on the job hunt after being on hiatus for a long period of time, whether you were settled in a role or taking a break from the working world, it can be overwhelming. How do you navigate this new landscape? Here’s a go-to checklist.

1. Do your homework.

Because the landscape of practically every industry has changed dramatically, it’s important to do a deep dive into current practices and trends in your field, particularly in terms of the hiring process. Learn about how people are getting hired, what skills you need and other goings-on.

One way to do this is to research job boards and job listings. While it’s not a good idea to rely on listings when applying — this should be a supplement to your strategy, not the entirety of it — they can give you insight into what employers in your niche are looking for, as well as what’s available.

2. Formulate clear goals.

Before you set out on the job hunt, understand your own needs and what you’re looking for. Sure, you may have a clear idea of the role you want now, but what about in the longer term? Consider your overarching career goals and what it will take to reach them. Think about how roles have changed in your industry and what you place in it is now. Keep your objectives in mind as you move forward.

3. Network, network, network.

Networking is always a helpful tool, whether you’re re-entering the job market, looking for a new role or simply progressing in your career. Reach out to current and potential contacts on LinkedIn. Attend industries events, virtual or face-to-face. Let anyone and everyone know that you’re looking for a new role. If you do apply for a position, try to find a connection to help you get your foot in the door — this will help you establish trust with the employer and put you on their radar.

4. Set up informational interviews.

Informational interviews are a great way to learn more about an organization and industry as a whole. When you’re applying for entry-level positions, you should set up these meetings to help you get established in your field. The same goes for applying for a job after a hiatus.

Informational interviews will give you insight into the state of the industry today. What’s more, you’ll establish a connection with a prospective employer, who may keep you in mind for future openings, even if nothing is available at the moment.

5. Upskill.

It’s critical to stay up to date with the needs of your industry. This will often mean learning new skills. Once you’ve discovered the competencies that are necessary for the types of roles you’re looking for, figure out how you can upskill and set yourself up for success. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to gain new skills and credentials in today’s digital world, such as via online courses on LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, Udemy, and similar models.

6. Polish your resume.

Of course, your resume is a critical tool in the hiring process. When you haven’t had to look for a job in a while, you probably haven’t had reason to update it. Now is the time to do it. Not only should you add any new roles, skills and qualifications, but you should also aim to highlight the most appropriate qualifications for today’s job market.

Get another set of eyes on it (or two or three), preferably from professionals in your field who are in a position to hire candidates. But even friends, family members and former or current colleagues can offer you feedback, too.

It’s a job seeker’s market right now, but that doesn’t mean landing a job is simple. Armed with these tools, however, you’re well-equipped to enter a new career landscape.

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.

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