How to line up your next job – before you really need to
We’re constantly conditioned to save money for a rainy day and make sure that we’ve got a plan when it comes to an emergency, but most people do not have a “Plan B” for leaving our jobs, either voluntarily or involuntarily. It’s important to not just work through scenarios in your head about “what if.” With the job market being unpredictable, you should organize your work activities around a regular search to keep your career moving forward, or to help you plan the logical next step.
Before you begin your search
Spend some time thinking about where you’d like to move next, whether by company or by role. Do a search for similar roles and make note of any skills or responsibilities that you might be missing or weak in.
Brush off your resume and look for anything you may have done recently that can help enhance your experience and get your resume looking as good as possible.
Post your resume, but take advantage of options in resume posting services to not broadcast or share that you recently updated them.
Revisit your resume every three months and make sure you’re adding responsibilities and achievements as you complete them.
If you find a job description that suits you, consider applying for it even though you may not currently be considering moving. Just getting a call for an interview is enough to let you know you’re on the right track with your career trajectory. There is no shame in just applying, or even going to the interview and changing your mind later about whether to move. This will help you hone your skills of interviewing and let you know whether your resume is good enough should you need to move.
Passive job search
You can set up saved searches on most job search platforms, and you can even set up saved searches on Twitter and Google to ensure if roles are posted in your field at your level, you will be the first to know, so you can respond quickly and increase your chances of getting an interview.
Subtly informing your networks
Do not go out of your way to broadcast that you’re “always looking” via social media or email. This could come back to haunt you,. (one of the biggest reasons people don’t get hired is because they are deemed a “flight risk.”) Eliminate this possibility by only discussing with colleagues you trust well in person your desire to see what else is out there.
If there is a company you would like to work for, spend some time trying to find someone in your extended network who works at that company, and take them out to lunch. Find out all the details about the culture and the work environment first, to make sure that you’re not just romanticizing that company in your mind. As your relationship with this person grows, you can begin to ask them whether they would send you internal job postings in your desired role or department should they come up.
It’s hard looking for a job from a cold start, so don’t put yourself in the position of being either caught off guard by a reshuffle at work or by one day falling out of love with your job. In a few hours every month, you can keep your resume up to date and keep up with hiring trends and even test the waters with a few roles so you know exactly where you’re going to next.