If you’re looking for a new job then I don’t have to tell you how nerve-racking the process can be. While looking through some notes recently I came across this checklist which I developed while job hunting. I thought it might be helpful to someone else, so here it is. While this list may not be everything you need, at least it will get you started down the right path.
1. Make an exhaustive list of possible opportunities
Don’t overthink it … start a running list … keep building it …whenever you think of a possible opportunity add it to your list immediately. To be successful you’ll first need to be successful in landing a job.
2. Know the length of your runway
I’ll never forget meeting with Jim Griffith at Starbucks in Celebration, Florida. We were meeting beacuse I was planning to start a church and needed his professional guidance. After formal introductions his first question was: “Are you independently wealthy?” He wasn’t smiling. He asked because in order to give me the best advice for moving forward, he needed to know how much time I had until the money ran out. Don’t run out of financial runway and end up crashing. Sometimes it’s just necessary to work at something while you are looking for the next job or client. Don’t concern yourself with what others may think, unless their going to support your habit of living in-doors and eating.
3. Write an effective, clear resume (check online for help)
Start with brainstorming all the jobs/clients you’ve had and put them in order. Under each make a list of accomplishments and responsibilities. Don’t overlook the value of inviting others to be part of the brainstorming process. Choose active, powerful, and emotional words over passive, overused, throw-away words. If needed ask for someone to help you lay out the information in a clear format.
4. Write a strong cover letter
Customize it, 3-4 paragraphs including introduction, hit the highlights of your career, and let them know when they can expect a follow up call or email from you…usually within one week. When possible send your resume to someone specifically as opposed to a general email beacuse you’ll have a better chance at getting looked at.
5. For public positions include a photograph and links to videos or blogs in the cover letter
Make it easy for your prospective employer to learn about you.
6. Send your customized resume
Include full address and email … make it simple to contact you. Whenever possible send the resume to a person rather than a general mailbox or company because a person will decide to hire you, not a company. Have someone proofread everything for grammar, spelling, and overall accuracy.
7. Throw a lot of bait in the water
Finding the new opportunity IS your job … or it is your second job, if you already have a full-time job … work the process … no one is going to do this for you.
8. Keep accurate records
Where did you send a resume? When did you send it? Who did you talk to? When did you talk to them? What is your next step?
9. Follow up when you said you would
10. Build an arsenal of references
Don’t put references on resume’. Do not underestimate the influence of someone else speaking on your behalf. Deal with references at the interview, if possible. Tailor references for the specific job.
11. Be relaxed in the interview
Dress sharply. Don’t be careless with your poster (slouchy), use of language, and interjection of humor. Even as you wait use good poster and kindly acknowledge others in the room. As you enter the room look the interviewer in the eyes, give a firm handshake and smile
12. Trust God to deliver in his time
Work as though it all depends on you; pray as though it all depends on God. Above all, as you work through this process and build your own list, remember to pray. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
(Special thanks to Vicky Mixson, Chief Communications Officer at Wycliffe, for her guidance and professional council.)