So, you are ready to begin looking for a new job?   Many of the best practices in conducting the search are the same whether you have been forced to undertake the search or have just decided that it is just time to  make a move.  Here are some of my thoughts on best practices:

Conducting a Job Search-Best Practices

1.  Update your resume and LinkedIn profile

These steps are the foundation of the job search.  Make sure to take the time to completely and accurately update your resume and LinkedIn profile.   Also, make sure that both the resume and LinkedIn profile contain the same content as companies will, in most cases, review both of them.  It could be an embarrassing situation if one does not agree with the other.  As far as the content, make sure to list your specific accomplishments for each job and be prepared to talk about these accomplishments during any phone or in-person interview.

2.  Tap into Your Existing Network

It is very important to let your network know that you are on the job market.  This network would include former (and maybe current) co-workers or associates, LinkedIn connections, and recruiters that you know.  Many candidates find their next position through networking as opposed to answering a job posting.

3.  Work to Expand Your Network

Letting your current network know that you are on the job market is the easy part.  Expanding the network is tougher.  Asking for referrals from your current network is a good step.  Also, search LinkedIn to locate recruiters who may specialize in placing candidates with your skill set.

4.  Check the Job Boards for Suitable Openings

Check all the major job boards like Indeed. LinkedIn, Monster, CareerBuilder, etc. for any suitable postings.  Apply only to the jobs that you feel that you are strongly qualified.  In today’s very specialized job market, it will be a longshot for a company to consider you for a role if you don’t have direct experience in their respective industry or the specific discipline. Companies are generally looking for candidates who can hit the ground running with very little ramp-up, so candidates who are not ideal fits generally don’t get contacted.

5. Contact Companies Directly

Develop a list of companies in both your local area and specific industry where your skills may be in demand.  Use a tool such a LinkedIn to identify people who may potentially be hiring manager for someone such as you.  Craft a very specific cover letter which highlights your skills and fit and send it (along with your resume) to the potential hiring manager.  Timing could be on your side.  At worst, you should be able to make a valuable contact.

Job hunting is never an easy process and, most likely, will take a longer time that you originally determined.  Hopefully, these practices will be the process a bit smoother.