No one enjoys searching for a new job. Regardless of whether you’re choosing to leave a current role or the choice has been made for you, the process is stressful, time-consuming, and doesn’t always warrant results. That’s why it’s critical to begin preparing for a job search now, when you don’t absolutely need to be. By getting a head start and preparing early, you’ll avoid the panic of finding your resume outdated by five years, your LinkedIn account overflowing with unanswered messages, and your initial applications rejected. 

Maintain a living list of all the projects you’re involved with in your current role and update it regularly.

I believe the hardest aspect of developing a resume is explaining your job duties. It’s difficult enough to write about quantifiable accomplishments rather than descriptions as it is – don’t make it even more difficult by leaving out details of your role. Instead, create a Note or Document with a simple bullet-point list of projects you’re working on. I like to transfer items from my To-Do List to this document once I’m finished with it so I don’t forget anything. This document can also help you quantify your resume, as you have a better idea of how many times you do something. For example, you may be able to reach a round total of how many articles you’ve written or cases you’ve addressed if you keep an organized enough list. The longer the document, the more detail you’ll have when it comes to updating your resume.

Set up monthly email alerts for jobs in your industry.

You don’t need to be inundated with constant emails about job openings when you aren’t looking, but it is helpful to have an idea of what’s happening in your industry. It’ll help you get a sense of which skills are most in demand and which companies are expanding teams in your field, while also giving you potentially valuable intel for your current role. For example, many public relations roles have evolved to include social media management and digital marketing. Seeing these duties in a job description may encourage a PR guru to earn their Google Certification in Digital Marketing to stay up to date.

Prioritize professional development (whatever that means to you).

The phrase “Professional Development” is thrown around so often that it has little meaning to many. For our purposes, though it will look different based on your industry and skill level, it means to keep learning. Take an online course, earn a certification, go to a conference, publish an article, give a talk on something you’re knowledgeable about, or teach a college class. You’ll expand your network and skillset simultaneously, which will benefit each of your current and future.

Use all of the resources LinkedIn has to offer, checking in on a bi-weekly basis, at minimum.

LinkedIn brings a wealth of information: updates on your network, connections to recruiters, and lists of current openings. Checking in every other week will ensure you stay in touch and keep a relationship with the people who will likely be the first to know when you’re on the job search. Pick a few connections to message each time you log on and make a mental note of how they’re doing. LinkedIn may also reconnect you with your alma mater, a relationship that’s helpful regardless of the year you graduated.

From the financial implications to the mental health ones, job searches often bring out the worst in us. By preparing for that period now, you’re taking the first step to ensure the process is as seamless as possible. Best of luck! 

Madison S