Women at Work: How to Start Your Job Hunt

As part of my new Women at Work series, I knew I wanted to touch on the topic of searching for a new job. If you’re happy in your current position, great! If you’re not, been there—done that.

It can seem incredibly daunting (and kind of like you’re doing something wrong!) to start your job hunt while you’re at another company but trust me, we all do it. And, I’ve switched jobs and companies a few times in the last few years. Even though I’m not currently on the hunt, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks on how to make it smooth sailing.

Here’s my advice for how to start your job hunt:

1. Think about what you like.

This is the best thing I’ve ever done (and most important step) in my previous job hunts. I sit down and make a list of things I like—and not just at work, but in life. Things like fashion, photography, writing, etc. Those are all things I genuinely love and know I want in a job, whether it’s working for myself or at my 9 to 5.

This will help you dream big, and really figure out what types of jobs at what types of companies you want. You might be working in finance at a huge firm right now, but this list might make you realize you really should be in a more creative field, at a small company. Or, maybe you got stuck in marketing but have always dreamed of going back to school to learn how to code and be a #girlboss software engineer. Whatever it is, this list is usually eye opening.

2. Think about what you don’t like, too.

I believe this is an equally important step. What are the things about your current job that frustrate you? What about your company, or your immediate team? Also, think about your manager! Make a list of all of the things you don’t like about your current situation—and now you have a list of things to look out for in future jobs and companies.

P.S. take this list with you to interviews in the form of questions! For example, if you know you want to work independently and have the freedom to really own your own category (maybe at your last job you had an overbearing boss and a team that was constantly in your face), ask the hiring manager how they would describe your would-be manager's management style, and what the team culture is like. Knowing what to look out for gets you one step closer to finding your perfect fit.

3. Refresh that resume.

Once you have an idea of the types of companies you’ll be applying for (and in what roles), you should refresh your resume. Not just the content, but the layout, too! Odds are, the resume you used five years ago to apply to your first job out of college is outdated, no longer represents you, and could seriously use an upgrade.

I use Canva to design most things in my life, and they also have hundreds of free resume templates you can use to design yours. Remember: even in 2017, your resume is likely going to be the thing that gets you an interview or not, so make sure you’re really happy with what it says about you and your personal brand.

4. Network, network, network!

This is always the most uncomfortable step for me as an introvert. But, you just have to force yourself to do it! Once you’ve made your lists of what you like—and what companies you’d like to work at—go through your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles (and even your phone contacts!) and send emails or messages to anyone who works at a company you’d like. Also consider reaching out to well-connected friends and grabbing coffee with them, just to see if they know anyone who is hiring. You never know where your next job will come from, so turn over every rock here!

5. Don’t give up so easily.

Job hunting can be discouraging, I totally get it. It can feel like you’re getting rejection after rejection or even no responses at all—and sometimes it’s easy to give up and think that you’re un-hirable or that you’ll never get out of your current position. If you feel this way, take a day off and give yourself a breather. But then, get right back in the saddle and get out there. Try to apply to as many jobs as you can. When I was job searching, I would aim for one new job application or networking opportunity per day, but that’s aggressive—do what’s right for you.

Are you currently applying for new jobs? Let me know your tips or what’s worked for you in the comments section!