5 steps to set yourself up for a successful job search

Figuring out your next career move can be difficult, and starting out on a new job search can seem daunting, but it becomes much more attainable if you break it up into small tasks that you can accomplish one at a time. Here are five steps to set yourself up for a successful job search.


If you want to set yourself up for a successful job search, start by brainstorming to figure out what you want to do. Consider a few different scenarios to give yourself a well-rounded and realistic feel for where you may end up in the next few months. There’s no way to tell what could happen, but it’s smart to go through a few possible options and goals to figure out a rough game plan for each. Use your brainstorming session as a time to figure out what you want next and strategically plan your next career move.

Take a look at your transferable skills, figure out what jobs you’re qualified for, and do some soul searching to figure out what kind of job will be the right fit for you. This is your opportunity to take time and plan your next career move so that you’re excited about it. Take control of your career and make your next move worth it so you can pave a career path that fulfills you.

Update your resume

Once you’ve brainstormed to get a better sense of what direction you want to take your career and what kind of jobs you want to apply to, make your resume great and articulate all that you have to offer. Gather information about past jobs, internships, class projects, and other information that highlights what you bring to the table. This will help you create the most effective document to meet your needs.

Reach out to your contacts

The ultimate way to get your resume into the right hands is to use your industry connections. If you have a contact who can direct your resume to the right person, use it. “Job search is about going beyond the resume to get noticed. Real relationships with colleagues and friends matter in getting a foot in the door,” says career coach Alyson Garrido.

Reach out to industry contacts to let them know you’re about to graduate and are looking for new opportunities. People are often willing to help, but they cannot do so if they aren’t aware that you’re interested and open to new opportunities.

Consider sending an email like this:

“Hope this note finds you well! We met [where/when you met] and I wanted to circle back with you and see how things are going. [Insert a question about how an event went or follow up about something you spoke about when you met].

As you may remember, I’m currently working at [Company] as a [job title] and am looking for new opportunities relating to [field]. [Company] is on my short list of dream companies because the mission strongly aligns with my personal philosophies, so I wanted to see if there might be any current or future openings I could look into. I’ve recently updated my resume and have attached it to this email for your convenience. Please let me know if you have any questions, and feel free to pass it along if you see fit.

Thanks in advance for your help! Please keep me posted on how things are going and if there’s anything I can do to return the favor.



Leveraging your network is one of the best ways to find and secure new job opportunities. Doing so enables you to get your resume in front of the right person and often helps you bypass large applicant pools.

Focus on the quality of applications, not the quantity

It can be tempting to just hit “apply” on every position that might seem like a potential fit, but instead of focusing on how many job applications you submit, try to create a couple of really strong applications with resumes that you have customized for each position based on the job description.

Often people employ the “spray and pray” tactic when applying for jobs. This term has become common among recruiters when describing a candidate that applies to tens or hundreds of positions with the hope that someone will bite. On average, each corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes. This means that your resume has to be outstanding in order to stand out from the crowd. When using the spray and pray tactic, resumes usually don’t hold the specified requirements or keywords. This causes them to get turned down immediately. When you don’t customize your resume to each job, it’s clear that you’re using the spray and pray tactic. This isn’t an effective job search strategy, and it also doesn’t bode well for your reputation among hiring managers or recruiters.

Remember that it takes time

Ultimately, finding a job that is a good fit for you takes time. Even if you do everything perfectly to set yourself up for a successful job search, you likely won’t find something right away. Yes it’s possible to find a job quickly, but it’s important to be realistic with your expectations.

There are so many factors that go into finding a job such as company culture, location, salary, scope of work, timing, etc. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or get dejected because your job search isn’t going as well as you hoped, but it’s important to realize that it’s often not personal. Finding a job is hard for everyone! Finding a job that meets your criteria and is a good fit for you and your potential employer is difficult whether you’re searching for your first job out of college or looking to make a lateral move as an executive.


Finding a job is hard, but these steps will help you set yourself up for a successful job search. Keep your head up, know your value, and be confident in what you have to offer!

This article first appeared on Write Styles. 

Michele Lando is a certified professional resume writer, personal branding expert, and founder of Write Styles. She has a passion for helping others present the best version of themselves both on paper and in person, and works to polish individuals’ application package and personal style. Aiming to help create a perfect personal branding package, Write Styles provides resources to enhance your resume, professional appearance, and boost your confidence. Michele strives to help others gain the confidence to put their best foot forward in a personal and professional light.