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Starting a job search? Three things you should do first

Get organized!

OppoSuits Solid Colored SuitsWith many people looking for jobs, positions can fill quickly, so it’s important that you’re prepared to apply as soon as you find an open position that fits your needs and qualifications. Before you start looking for a job, you should gather all of the digital copies of all documents you’ll need, including:


Make sure your resume is current and free of spelling/grammar errors. It’s  also a good idea to have another person proofread your resume – a fresh perspective may catch errors or find information that is unclear.  While you should have a resume ready, tailor your resume specific to each job before submitting it; this shows you want to get that job, not just any job.

Cover Letter

Have a basic cover letter written that includes information regarding your work experience and skills and how they relate to the type of positions you’re applying for.  Like your resume, be sure to individualize the cover letter for each job application.


Get permission from each person you’d like to list as a personal reference to ensure they will give you a positive reference and are comfortable with your sharing their contact information.

List of Previous Employers

Keep a list of previous employers and their contact information – address, phone number, and email address – for your reference when filling out job applications. Unlike your references, you do no need to get permission to share a business’s contact information.

Create a Job Search Schedule

Put your time management skills to use and carve time out of every day to devote to your job search.  Make a routine and set measurable goals, so you’ll know if you’re making progress.  Here’s an example of a job search schedule:
Day Task Goal
Monday 2-3 hours of job search Find 5 job openings
Tuesday Wednesday Thursday 2-3 hours daily on job applications Submit 5 job applications
Friday 3 hours of preparation (e.g. research companies you’ve applied to, interview practice, or scheduling informational interview) Contact 3 employers to request an informational interview

Schedule Informational Interviews

Contact employers and professionals you’re interested in working with and ask to schedule an informational interview.  Use this interview to learn about both the organization and positions you’re interested in; prepare a list of questions to learn more about:
  • job duties of the different positions you’re interested in,
  • the education and/or experience needed to work in these positions,
  • the work environment and culture of the organization,
  • what current employees both like and dislike about their jobs.
Treat this as a meeting with your future employer, as these face-to-face meetings can create some of the most important contacts you’ll use in your job search – if you make a good impression, they may contact you when jobs open in the future.  Although these meetings are generally informal, dress appropriately for the job you’re discussing.

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