Job Search Process Overview

Slow and steady wins the race.
-Robert Lloyd

It took me 5 months from the time I was let go from my former job to find another position that would leverage my skills and bring me both challenges and satisfaction in my work. I learned a lot during the 5 months and I also wrote an article abour hiring, “Finding the right candidate is difficult at best,” in March 2019.


IMHO the hiring manager and team needs to do the bulk of the work to find the candidate who’s the best fit for the position. BUT, as a candidate, it’s up to you to be prepared so you have the best chance of landing the role.

Below I’ve captured 14 15 steps/categories that I used. If I had to choose one key takeaway, it would be that you need to have enough practice interviewing so you’re comfortable and able to tell your story and that your expertise, therefore, comes through.

  1. Start log files.
    1. Track all job-related activities by date in a Word or Google document file.
      These next ones can all be tabs in the same Excel or Google Sheets file.
    2. Keep a separate list that is just jobs you applied for.
      1. Job title
      2. Company
      3. Status (Submitted, Interviewing, Rejected, etc.)
      4. Date you applied
      5. Brief description of the role
      6. Link to the posting
      7. Additional notes
    3. Keep a list of your networking contacts. Both who’ve you contacted and who you should contact.
      1. Name
      2. Company
      3. Title
      4. Contact info
      5. How you met them
      6. Last contact date
      7. Contact notes
    4. Keep a list of any classes that you have taken to improve or refresh skills.
  2. Update/create your Resume.
    1. Must be ‘scannable’ by machine and also by the reader.
    2. Check for overall succinctness.
    3. Some color is ok, but it must look good when viewed/printed black and white.
    4. Accomplishments should begin with the results. For example.
      1. "50% reduction in ______ through ______."
      2. "35% revenue increase within 6 months by _______."
  3. Apply to 2 jobs minimum every week. Don’t wait for your resume to be perfect!
  4. Update/create a LinkedIn Profile based on your resume.
    1. Make sure you have a professional headshot photo.
    2. Add a background image.
    3. Update your setting so recruiters know you're looking.
      (See Privacy > Job seeking preferences.)
    4. If you're unemployed, add a new job, but insert the name of your city as the company and add your skills and capabilities as the job description. This can be the same info as the intro on your resume.
    5. Make sure your core competancies are within your About section. This helps with SEO and can also be taken directly from your resume.
    6. Build your connections -- ideally people from within your industry.
    7. Grow your Recommendations.
  5. Order business cards.
    Vista Print often has sales as low as $10.
    1. Add a headshot, so you're remembered.
    2. Your title should be generic enough for reuse in multiple situations. 
    3. Include contact info and your LinkedIn URL.
    4. The back should be blank, so you can write notes.
  6. Contact Recruiters.
    1. Contact all Recruiters in your Linkedin Connections Network, letting them know you’re looking for work. Be specific with title(s) and/or brief job description.
    2. Contact all Recruiters who are 2nd in your Linkedin Connections Network, introduce yourself, let them know how you found them, and let them know you’re looking for work. Be specific with title(s) and/or brief job description.
  7. Network every week.
    1. Former co-workers.
    2. Friends.
    3. People from any groups you belong to. For example church and softball team.
    4. Attend conferences and Meetups. Be sure to talk to people.
    5. Job seekers network groups.
    6. Strike up a conversation at a coffee shop and/or bar.
    7. Volunteer at non-profits and events.
  8. Create and start using a Cover Letter on jobs you apply for. Use as a template and modify as needed for subsequent applications.
    1. I don’t think it’s as important as it once was.
    2. Must have specific examples different than the summary bullets on your resume.
  9. Create 5 - 10 SOAR (situation, obstacles, actions, results) stories.
    1. Illustrates a strength.
    2. Illustrates overcoming a weakness.
    3. You’re a team player.
    4. Working with a difficult team member.
    5. Working with a difficult boss or senior person to you.
    6. Big achievement/success.
    7. Failure with lessoned learned. *BETTER: how you then applied the lesson.
  10. Deep-dive into your job searching keywords and criteria and look for additional postings based on your skills and experience that you’ve uncovered through SOAR stories and searches to-date. The goal is to improve your searches by finding additional or different keywords and job titles to use in your job search.
    1. Highly recommend using Google to search across all job sites.
  11. Update your Resume, LinkedIn profile, and Cover Letter based on SOAR stories and search deep-dive. Likely you will find yourself updating these items several times throughout your job search process.
  12. Practice interviewing.
    1. Use SOAR stories.
    2. Review and make sure you have answers for the top 10 questions from "How to Answer  The 64 Toughest  Interview  Questions" (pdf). 
    3. Develop questions. Some will be generic while others may come from specific research of the company you’re interviewing with.
    4. Be succinct and don’t talk too much. Allow the interviewer to ask for more info as needed. The trick is to get to the point of being more conversational with the interviewer. Note that you may be the one setting them at ease.
  13. Create a References document.
    1. Validate with References that you’re using their name, email, and phone.
    2. Notify the References every time you’ve shared their contact info. Provide them with the company and the role with a brief description.
  14. Interviewing.
    1. Be early.
    2. Ask the HR Recruiter appropriate dress code for onsite and video interviews.
    3. Research the company. Add to potential questions you will ask.
    4. Send ‘Thank You’ cards after interviews. If handwriting is a concern, type, print, and insert into a card.
  15. When you get your new job, notify and thank all contacts you worked with.
Let me conclude by stressing that this is a marathon and not a sprint. Continue to work on your job hunting every day, but don't allow it to all consume you. Use this time away from the work grind and do a few things for yourself such as visiting family and friends and/or taking a (low budget) vacation.

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