Four simple steps to refresh your job search for spring

Spring has finally arrived — but has your next job offer?

If you’ve been slinging resumes for the past few months with no success, take these simple steps now to bring some of that spring cleaning spirit to refresh your job search. If you plant the seeds of growth now and tend to your job search diligently, the right offers will bloom for you soon.

1. Clean up your calendar

Before we look outwards, start by cleaning house. Begin with your calendar: how are you spending your time today, this week, this month? Does your calendar reflect your most current and important goals? Are you setting aside time to focus on the work that’s most critical to your long-term growth (like developing the skillset that will round out your resume) even if it doesn’t come with a deadline or someone else holding you accountable? If not, where can you make adjustments to set the healthy boundaries you need to preserve your most precious resource?

In addition to considering how your calendar reflects your goals, pay close attention to how it reflects your target audience. Are you looking to get a job in the government sector after years working for nonprofits? When and where are you building relationships with people in your target industry?

Go through your calendar week-by-week to add networking events, conferences, and even casual meet-ups to your agenda. Traveling to make those a priority might even be well worth the expense since job search-focused travel expenses are tax deductible.

2. Reconnect with VIPs

Relationship-building is probably the best investment you can make in your job search. Back in 2013, TheNew York Times covered a trend in hiring that’s only increased since then: employers are increasingly relying on internal referrals for hiring. That means that building relationships with staff members who currently work at the companies you’d love to work for can be total game-changers for your job search. Make identifying and reaching out to these VIPs a top priority.

Keep in mind — cultivating real relationships means being reciprocal. Don’t only reach out when you’re asking for help. Instead, consider sending along a timely article related to your contact’s work or tip them off to events you think they might want to head to as well. Be a useful source of information to them and it’ll feel a lot easier asking your VIPs to do the same for you.

3. Refresh your online presence

That old adage of the tree falling in the forest applies to your job search, too. If you’re doing great things with your career but no one knows about them — do they count?

Make sure your online presence makes clear what your value proposition is to your dream employer. Go ahead and Google yourself! Think about what your search results would look like to an HR manager at one of your target companies. How would you help their team? How would your skills and experiences add value?

If your skills, experiences, and achievements aren’t clearly communicated online, you must learn to boast like a boss. Bragging online has never been easier, but make sure you proceed with tact. Use LinkedIn, Google+ (which disproportionately impacts your Google search results), and other social networks that make the most sense for your field to document your achievements over time. Intersperse your self-promotional updates with resources and information you’re sharing for the benefit of others, and be sure to share news directly related to your field to show that you’re staying current.

4. Make coffee meetings count

So you’ve been searching for months and diligently growing your network along the way. But are you putting that network to work for your job search? It’s time to make those coffee meetings count by making a clear ask for the support of your colleagues and friends.

  • Ask for an email introduction to their hiring manager.
  • Ask for them to drop your resume off on their boss’s desk for you.
  • Ask them to let you know of the next industry event or conference they’re heading to.
  • Ask for them to make a phone call to the hiring manager vouching for you if you’ve already applied.

Do not hesitate to follow up. Make it easy for people to help you by writing the email introducing you for them. Keep your closest colleagues up-to-date on your job search progress on the regular and of course, thank them for continuing to keep their ears to the ground for you.

Emilie Aries is the Founder & CEO of Bossed Up and the co-host of Stuff Mom Never Told You, the fiercely feminist podcast by HowStuffWorks.
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