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Looking for new career opportunities can be a full time job. If you’re searching for a new job while being employed, you already have a full time job. It’s important to approach your job search with strategy and focus so as to best utilize your time. It’s also important to organize your search so you don’t self sabotage your efforts.

Do a self inventory. Whether you’re in an unhappy job and are seeking career satisfaction or unemployed and seeking to return to the workforce, you should start your search with some honest introspection. A self-inventory of your skills as well as your interests should be done so that you can start to target specific industries or roles. What are you really good at? What do you really get excited about? What skills are most appreciated at work? What kind of people do you really like to work with? However you like to do this, journaling or spreadsheet, it will set the foundation for your job search as well as prepare you for your upcoming interviews.

Update your resume. Be sure to include new information, but also revisit your previous experience to be sure that it aligns with your new goals. You may have grown personally and professionally over the years, and your resume should tell this story.

Update your social media profile. Everyone should have a LinkedIn profile, but there are many other platforms out there too. If you’re unsure of any abandoned profiles out there, do a simple search on yourself through your web browser. Make updates as necessary.

Meet more people. Join networking groups on LinkedIn. Attend networking events relevant to your career, and be sure to follow up with everyone the next day.

Keep track of your activity. Submitting resumes, talking to recruiters, asking for referrals and introductions, and interviewing are all actions that you should have record of. The worst thing you can do is apply online, have an external submit you, and have an internal employee refer you. That combination of actions may actually cancel out your eligibility for consideration. Whenever there is a conflict inside a system, a company generally chooses to reject a candidate. If you’re working with recruiting agencies, keep track of all of your communications with them including the companies that they are submitting you to. In very large companies, it can be possible to be submitted into different divisions, but it’s helpful to know that first. I’ve spoken to candidates that use everything from spreadsheets to professional CRM products to organize this data. However you keep track of this data, it should make sense to you.

Follow up. After every call or meeting, a simple email is appreciated. It also keeps you on the top of the other person’s mind. It’s also valuable to ask about expectations for the next communication. At the end of your interview, you should be asking if there is any additional information that they need for a decision THEN asking when you might expect follow up.
Refresh as needed. None of these steps need to happen in this specific order, as you should always be updating your social media profile. This is your brand, and can also help you get a promotion in your current job. This action tells others “I’m serious about my career progress”.