No matter how things are going for you in your current place of employment, you should always be prepared with a résumé and a basic job search strategy. Besides the fact that it’s better to look for a job when you are in a job (primarily because employers place more value on candidates who are working), you should be documenting while you are working the challenges you are currently facing in the workplace, the actions you took to meet those challenges, and the results of those actions. This is not as daunting a task as you might imagine. Try to quantify your accomplishments on a daily basis. You will be happy that you did.
Other reasons for planning your job search strategy while you are working include:
1. your financial concerns are fewer when you are working
2. your psyche is in a better place when you are working
3. the structure of work tends to enhance your productivity when you’re not working; most people get more done when they have less free time and must be increasingly focused on managing their time
Another useful bit of advice: build a network of people who might be able to help you get a job when the time comes. Develop relationships with people at industry meetings, professional associations, personal get-togethers, and via the Internet. Connect online by responding to bloggers, answer questions on on-line forums, and participate on e-lists. Your focus should be on forging relationships with people who might one day help you connect with potential career opportunities.
Social networks are an excellent way to optimize your online image. A LinkedIn profile exponentially builds your online professional presence. And, it has been stated that your professional picture on your LinkedIn profile is a necessary component. Of course, your LinkedIn profile must deliver a consistent branding message. And, it must be well written, starting with the branding statement, remaining consistently well written until the very last line of information offered. After all, the LinkedIn profile is all about YOU!
As most of you know, in today’s market, résumé writing has become an art. Rather than presenting a basic resume template, you need a targeted document that distinguishes you from your competitors, one that strategically positions your career challenges, actions, and results. Of course, a targeted cover letter must accompany your résumé. Then, you must create a compelling “sales pitch” that aligns with your résumé and cover letter so that you can demonstrate your professional value to prospective employers and recruiters. As always, remember: optimistic, forward-thinking attitudes are key to your success!