It’s time to take the step. You know it’s time. After some self-examination and reflection, you’re ready for the next step in your career.

Step one is assessment and reflection.

Searching  for a new job  can be a daunting task especially if you are working. Where do you begin, what type of job do  you want,  what are you qualified to do or do you want a job or a career? Either choice, think of it as a time of meaningful and rewarding growth. It is the time for  self-reflection to  look at your experience, qualifications, and career interests. The importance of brazen tenacity and humble belief in yourself and your talent is vital.

In addition to thinking of what you want to do,  you need to spend time to discerning the companies and even the industries. Are you looking for a lateral move? Are you looking for more money? A better manager? Flexible work and work-from-Home adjustments? What kind of culture do you do your best work?  Are you looking to gain a new skill-set? Consider too: is there a new skill-set you might need in order to be qualified for a new job? A degree? A certification? You might need to consider broadening your skill-set through professional development classes before you even send your first application.

Technology has made it deceptively easy to apply for jobs. LinkedIn quite literally has a button on some job posts called, “Easy Apply.”

Easy, right?

Hold it right there.  There is  more work to be done before you start posting and applying for positions.

 Step two is do your research of your industry and functional area of expertise.

Before you start applying for jobs, you need to start your research. Have you ever taken  a test or major assessment in your life that you just walked into without practicing, studying, and spending time understanding and mastering the subject? The same concept applies to your  job search.

When you see a job online, is it a job that you can do or one that you’ve done in your career? There is a difference and many companies today are looking for people who have done the job in some way.  Since your resume will go through an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to determine if you have the skills and experience the company needs, making sure your resume contains  the necessary key words is essential before you hit apply.  This does not mean you change your resume every time you apply for a job. If you are, I would question, “is it the right job for you?”

Step three: update your resume and polish your writing skills for a cover letter

When looking at a job posting, remember that the basic or minimum qualifications or requirements are the “Rosetta Stone” of the Job: they are the key to unlocking what is required for the job and what the recruiter will be looking at when they review your resume.

Companies are looking for accomplishments with results. Have you heard of PAR Statements? You’ve identified a problem , a solution to resolve it and you have results to show. Each bullet of your resume starts with a strong action verb. Your resume is not what you do with tasks nor what you are responsible for (this belongs in the scope of your role.)  I highly recommend working with a career consultant who you can help you develop strong accomplishment statements and a summary too. When looking at a job posting, remember that the Basic or Minimum Qualifications or Requirements are the “Rosetta Stone” of the Job: they are the key to unlocking what is required for the job and what the recruiter will be looking at when they review your resume.

Look at the type of jobs you want to apply for and see if your resume has many of the key words, qualifications, skills and experience. Does your resume the necessary key words? Your cover letter needs to focus on how you are qualified, why you want to work for the company and what differentiates you from others.

Take the time to go through these 3 steps.  You will be better prepared to interview if you are selected.

Reach out to me James Dunford, President of CareerEngage at james_dunford@careerengage-.boston.com  if you need some advice about your resume or cover letter.