Job hunting isn’t for the faint of heart, or the disorganized. There’s so much to juggle when you’re looking for a job – customizing your cover letter and resume for each employer; filling out lengthy online applications; scheduling and preparing for interviews; and emailing back and forth with management or recruiters. For these reasons, we bring you ten steps to getting a job.
The entire process is incredibly time-consuming, it can be tedious and anxiety-production, and it’s also so complex that it’s easy to accidentally let something fall by the wayside. If it feels like you forgot to do something, you probably did!
Here are the most important things to keep in mind and to keep track of while job hunting.
Comb through your social media accounts.
You don’t want to get one interview away from landing your dream job and realize they didn’t choose you for the role because of your Facebook photo album from that beach vacation last year.
Carefully go through your social media accounts to make two different types of changes:
1. Update all of your privacy settings to make it difficult for potential employers to find something you’d rather they not see.
2. Update your profiles to remove anything you think could negatively influence your job, like tagged photos of you. Even something like the other pages you’ve liked on Facebook could impact someone’s impression of you.
Moving forward, always make a point to keep your social media accounts on the up and up. They don’t have to be stuffy and professional, but avoid posting anything that could be frowned upon by an employer.
Don’t hide your social media profiles.
You may think that the best defense is to simply hide or remove all of your social media accounts. Some of them may actually help you land a job, though. For example, your Instagram feed can show employers that you have an interesting, well-rounded life; your Pinterest boards can showcase your eye for style and the aesthetics you prefer.
If you’re going to purposely keep these social media accounts public for the sake of catching the eye of an employer, just carefully go through them to make sure there’s nothing that could put you in a bad light, like a comment you made on one of your photos that doesn’t show your best side.
3. Get rid of old, defunct social media accounts.
Is your MySpace or Tumblr profile still up, even if you haven’t logged into it in years? It’s time to remember your password, get into the account and shut it down. If you can’t remember if you have an account with a site like that anymore, Google your name or your old email addresses to see if anything pops up (basically, do exactly what an employer would do).
4. Go through your email account.
You’re going to be communicating with potential employers a lot via email, and you want to make sure that everything is up-to-date and professional. Check the profile photo that shows up next to your name, update your signature and make sure any included links work, and check associated accounts, like Google Plus if you use Gmail. Overall, you want this information to be up-to-date and positive.
P.S. If you’re still using an email address from your college years, consider creating a new one to use for professional purposes. Do this before you start job searching so that everything moving forward is going to your new address.
5. Update your personal website and portfolio.
A lot of job hunters link to their own website or work portfolio when applying to jobs. Make sure that you have the latest information on these sites. If your website has a blog, make sure there’s a recent post up there (or republish an older post so that it has a more recent date). Swap out older links or files in your portfolio for newer ones. Most importantly, make sure the links work! If you don’t spend a lot of time working on your websites, it’s possible the domain name or hosting package expired.
6. Compare your LinkedIn profile to your resume.
Resumes and LinkedIn profiles are written in different ways, but they shouldn’t necessarily contain conflicting information. When it comes to the job experience you’ve listed on both, make sure that everything syncs. The location, job title, dates of employment and job description or responsibilities should be the same. Otherwise, it’ll look like you’re either lying or that you can’t be bothered to update one of them.
7. Make your video chat platform professional.
You may end up having to do a video interview with an employer, and without much notice. Now is a good time to make sure that your Google Hangouts or Skype account is professional. Update your photo to a headshot (like one you’d post on LinkedIn), make sure the associated email address is one you’d use for work, and double-check that your status doesn’t say anything embarrassing or inappropriate.
8. Pick a good spot for a video interview.
Another way to prep for scheduled or potential interviews is to figure out where you’re going to position yourself. You’ll want a clean background that doesn’t have any clutter, particularly the kind that makes you look unprofessional (an overflowing laundry bag or a leaning tower of celebrity magazines, for example). Login to the video service you use and turn the camera on before the call to get a view of what the other person will see. Also, make sure that you can plug your computer in from wherever you’re sitting – you don’t want to scramble mid-interview to relocate closer to an outlet if the battery’s about to die.
9. Have a chat with the references you provide to an employer.
When you list references on a job application, make sure to give them a head’s up that they might be getting a phone call or email. If your references are caught off guard, they could accidentally put you in a bad light simply because they’re surprised and not sure what to say. When speaking with your references, tell them a little about the type of work you’re looking for and explain the types of things they should mention that will most apply to the jobs you’re after.
10. Be highly responsive to recruiters and employers.
Job searching may be multi-layered, but hiring new employees isn’t a cinch, either! When a recruiter or an employer contacts you, don’t make them wait for an answer. Even if you’re not interested in a position anymore, let them know that they should take you off their list of potential candidates. When it comes to the jobs you do want, don’t move slowly when the employer wants to setup an interview, and make sure to send a thank you note after you’ve had the interview.
A lot of work goes into job hunting, but if you stay diligent and organized, you could end up reaping the benefits. If you land a great job that you adore, all of that work and preparation will be well worth it.