Job Search Checklist
To be job search ready, you need to be prepared. Here is a checklist that can help you get there.
Have a work appropriate email address
Before writing an email to a potential employer or contact, make sure that your email address is professional. Some combination of your name is best, for example, firstname.lastname@example.org. Please avoid anything that is too personal, like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. These kinds of email addresses do not make a good first impression. If you have an email that you are not sure about, then create another account just for professional purposes.
Able to write a professional email
Email is an important part of your job search. You can distinguish yourself from the "e-illiterate" by paying careful attention to your electronic communications. Check your email at least daily, and respond promptly to messages. Companies expect a reply within 48 hours to an email, if you fail to reply you could miss a big opportunity.
Have networked with people in my community about employment
Networking is probably your best strategy for finding a position. Have you ever heard, “It is not what you know, it is who you know?” This is true, especially when it comes to a job search. Networking means going out into the community and talking to people who you know or maybe even don’t know that can give you advice or information about jobs or potential openings.
Able to use multiple job search sites
In today’s job market, you must be able to use the internet to search for jobs. You should be familiar with sites like Indeed.com, Craigslist, WorkSource, and other online job boards in your community.
Know what kind of jobs I am looking for
Before starting a job search, it is important to know what jobs you are looking for. The amount of job postings on the internet makes it necessary to focus your search or you will be overwhelmed with information. Starting a job search with the idea of looking for “any job” makes preparation, planning, and marketing yourself very difficult.
Completed a resume
A resume is a sales document to potential employers that describes your skills, experience, and education. The goal of a resume is to get you an interview. A resume is a job application and is probably your first contact with a new employer.
Completed a cover letter
The cover letter is the document that first introduces a job seeker to a prospective employer. Much has been written on the importance of first impressions to the success of the interview, and the cover letter is no different. The cover letter creates the first impression. If well written, it can create excitement and interest in the prospective employee. If poorly written, it can prove fatal to an otherwise well-planned job search.
Able to apply to a job by email
Most jobs on community job boards like Craigslist will require you to apply by email. Just like applying for a job in person, you need to make sure you make a great impression with your email so make sure you proofread before sending it.
Able to send email with an attachment
Many jobs will require you to submit your resume and cover letter by email. So if you do not know how to send an email attachment, you won’t be able to apply for many jobs. Once you get familiar with sending email attachments, it should be not be a problem.
Have filled out a master paper application
A master application is tool to help you keep organized during your job search. It will have all of your job history, previous employer contact information, and reference contact information among other things. This is great information to have handy, because you never when a job opportunity might come up.
Able to apply for jobs with online applications
These days if you are applying to a job with a larger company, it is very likely that you are applying online. Companies use online applications because it saves them time and money. In addition to applying directly on company websites, there are thousands of other websites where you can post your resume online and complete an online job application.
Have a professional “60 Second Commercial”
In most job interviews, or even at a career fair, a question employers always ask is, “Could you tell me about yourself?” This question can throw you off if you are not prepared. Fortunately, there is a simple and almost fool-proof method to handle this challenge: a 30 to 60- second commercial about you. It is a snapshot of you and the qualities that you would bring to the job.
Have answers to the commonly asked interview questions
There are many common questions that most employers ask. It is important to prepare for these kinds of questions before any interview. You should be able to talk about your skills and experience, tell a few different stories about how you have successful on the job, and be prepared to ask the employer a few questions about the open position and their company.
Have a few of specialized resumes and cover letters for different positions
Would you show up at the swimming pool wearing a business suit? Probably not, but this is what it looks like to an employer when you do not adapt your resume specifically to a job opening. If you are applying to a position in retail and your resume is all about health care, you are unlikely to be called for an interview. Adapting your resume is how you create a more targeted resume. Your cover letter is no different as it should be specific to the job you are applying for.