Labor and Employment

Job Hunting Checklist

There are many reasons why you may be looking for a job. You may have been laid off, want to make more money or you just want a change of pace. The reason doesn't really matter when it comes to creating a strategy for finding a new job.

Here's a checklist of some of the steps to include in your job hunting process:

When & Where To Start

  • Whenever possible, start your job search while you're still employed to avoid the lack of a paycheck
  • Decide on the hours you'll devote to your job search and then stick to your schedule
  • Research the field, job and company you would most like to work for. Also, find out who at the company does the hiring
  • Write or revise your resume to make sure it's current and accurate

Work with Others To Find a Job

  • Sign up for an online network group to reconnect with former co-workers and friends who can help you
  • Network with clients or contacts you know from former jobs. Employees are mobile and changing jobs is common. Here's where leaving a job on good terms pays off. Those you've worked with in the past may welcome the chance to work with you again
  • Sign up with a recruiter or job placement company. Temp or contract agencies might be able to find part-time positions. Many of these services are free, but check out their terms and guidelines. Some agencies also provide benefits while you're working for them
  • Post your resume online where employers may look to fill vacancies: Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, as well as industry specific portals or organizations. You may also wish to create an online portfolio of your work to show prospective employers
  • Check out any job search groups or clubs in your area. Meeting with others who are in a similar situation can keep your morale up and provide a networking resource
  • Join a professional organization to learn more about your industry and meet people with similar interests. Attend a conference or seminar
  • Take online classes and read to update skills. Some educational services and resources to help you look for a job and improve your skills may be tax deductible. Keep track of receipts
  • Participate in online discussions about your interests. You never know who may be "listening" and need someone with your expertise. Blog or write about your experiences
  • Beware of anyone who asks you for money in exchange for a job

Getting & Handling Interviews

  • Write a cover letter that makes you stand out as a candidate with unique skills or experience. There are many online resources for sample letters
  • Make professional business cards for yourself. There are many places to order them for a small amount or free, both online and off. They give you a professional look and help others remember you
  • Practice your interviewing skills by answering common types of interview questions. Use a video recorder, if possible, to tape yourself and learn what you can do better
  • Prepare a list of questions you will want to ask a prospective employer during an interview
  • Always follow up an interview with a "Thank You" letter or e-mail. You can even contact the hiring manager later on if you have a suggestion or something of substance to contact them about to show how interested you are in the position 

You May Options When Your Search Doesn't Go Well

  • Consider going into business for yourself. There are resources through your state's unemployment agency to help you get started. Take a hobby or something else you're passionate about and make it a business
  • Think about going back to school for a different degree or to learn a new trade or profession
  • Look for part-time or temporary work. You'll be able to pay your bills, and it may even turn into a permanent job
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