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May 31, 201812:25 PMOpen Mic

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A job seeker’s checklist

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Whether you are currently employed or out of work looking for your next opportunity, finding another job can be an arduous, emotional journey filled with ups and downs. Technology, competition, uncertainty, and the accelerating pace of business have all contributed to the changing landscape around finding a job. Nevertheless, there’s a lot at stake for making this process more efficient and effective. Getting qualified workers employed quickly is a triple win — for the individual, for business, and for government.

The purpose of this article is to provide a set of practical tools and advice to help today’s job seeker land his/her next role. Leverage the following checklist as part of your search or share with someone you know.

Personal brand

In a job search, you, the candidate, are the product/service. Packaging yourself into a strong, unique, and indispensable talent is the most critical element of your search. Your objective is to stand out from your competition; articulate a clear, concise value proposition; and enable potential employers to find you.

  • Resume: A solid resume is essential. Tailor your resume to each job application. Consider developing an inventory of resume bullet-point accomplishments to help with customization. Ask a trusted friend or colleague to review.
  • Elevator pitch: Crafting a 30-second summary of your background, skills, expertise, and value you bring to an organization will be essential for interviews and networking conversations. Keep it concise and memorable.
  • Transition plan/handbill: Take your elevator pitch a step further by creating a brief summary of your objective, desired roles, value proposition, core competencies, and target companies. This essential document will help your friends, colleagues, and networking contacts better assist you.
  • LinkedIn profile: A professional LinkedIn profile is a must, including a professional-looking headshot, customized URL, and captivating headline. Upgrade to LinkedIn Premium for additional benefits.
  • References/testimonials: Secure your formal references early in the process. Ask for letters of recommendation and LinkedIn endorsements to strengthen your personal brand.
  • Professional portfolio or “pitch book”: Stand out from the competition and make a powerful statement by highlighting your skills and accomplishments in the form of a booklet. Customize it for each position and bring a printed copy to an interview.
  • Personal website: A personal website is an effective way to tell your story and showcase your skills and past achievements. It conveys your technical savviness, professionalism, and, like any website, allows you to be discovered.
  • Articles or blogs: Sharing your knowledge demonstrates your expertise and is a great way for prospective employers to find you. Share links to articles with prospective employers.
  • Speaking events: Speaking at a conference or event positions you as an expert and allows you to make a positive impression on a captivated audience. It’s also a great venue for networking.
  • Webinar, or lunch and learn: Offer to organize a lunch and learn at a target company, or, to capture a wider audience, host a webinar and record it for on-demand viewing.
  • Skills development: Training, certifications, reading, and/or workshops will hone your skills and make you more valuable to your next employer, helping to position you as a continuous learner.


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