15 Tips for Getting Ready to Job Search

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Are you ready to apply if you get a call or email from someone who is interested in talking to you about a new position? It's always a good idea to be job search ready even if you're not thinking about looking for a new job right now.

You never know when an exciting opportunity will present itself even when you are not actively seeking jobs. A colleague at work might retire and open up a choice position, a professional contact might refer you to an attractive job, or a recruiter might reach out to you and encourage you to throw your hat into the ring. This is an active job market, and hiring managers are always on the look out for good prospects. 

Perhaps you are part of the growing trend where workers are almost continually looking for their next job. Add to those scenarios unforeseen circumstances that can impact your job status like layoffs due to a downturn in business at your employer. 

In any case, it makes sense to be positioned to apply quickly and effectively for emerging opportunities. The best advice is to be ready to shift into job search mode without delay. Here's how to get (and stay) job search ready.

15 Tips for Getting (and Staying) Job Search Ready

1. Maintain a weekly journal of your accomplishments on the job or in other active roles so you can keep track of the specifics. Having a record of your top achievements will make it easier to write cover letters and prepare for interviews.

2. Update your resume each month to incorporate your latest achievements and professional activities. If your resume is always current, it's easy to share it with a connection or a recruiter. Here's how to give your resume a five-minute makeover.

3. Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date by integrating the latest information about your skills, knowledge, and accomplishments. Employers are mining passive job seekers more than ever through LinkedIn searches. Review these nine simple tips for making a better LinkedIn profile.

4. Continually expand your roster of contacts. When you meet someone who might be able to help with a future job search, connect with them on LinkedIn and any other career and social networking platforms you use. The more connections you have, the more opportunities you'll have to get hired. 

5. Look for opportunities to engage your key contacts periodically to keep relationships current. Share information of interest with individuals and offer to assist contacts when they are in career transition. Don't forget that meeting in-person is a valuable tool for cementing those relationship you've made online.

6. Create and carry out a professional development plan. Keep your skills and knowledge current. Employers prefer workers who are committed to self-improvement and who are in touch with trends. 

7. Stay active with professional organizations to maintain and expand your network. Writing articles, helping to organize conferences, attending career networking events, and presenting at association programs are all ways to maintain a high profile. 

8. Know who you would tap for recommendations at all times. Think comprehensively about prospective references including employees, supervisors, suppliers, clients, and other key business partners. Write LinkedIn recommendations for targeted individuals and many will reciprocate. Know who you will use as a reference, and be sure to get their permission before you use them.

9. Regularly review job listings in your field to assess trends and employer expectations. Check Indeed.com or one of the other top job sites every couple of weeks to see what jobs are available for someone with your skill set. 

10. Evaluate your job satisfaction on a regular basis and anticipate burnout before you are overwhelmed with stress. If you're tired and stressed, take the time to consider other job options. Think about whether it's time to quit your job.

11. Research career alternatives if you believe your current field is no longer suitable given your current interests or lifestyle.

12. Try to have an emergency fund in case you lose your job unexpectedly. Adequate savings will afford you the opportunity to be more selective as you seek a new job.

13. Make sure you have copies of work samples and personal documents saved outside your place of employment in case you are separated from your work computer with little notice.

14. Be ready to summarize your current career interests and most compelling assets succinctly. Think in terms of a 1-minute elevator pitch should you encounter a potential networking contact or recruiter.

15. Develop and update a portfolio of work samples. Store them on LinkedIn or a personal website that can be easily shared with employers and contacts.

You don't have to stay in active job seeking mode, but taking some to be sure that everything is in place if an ideal job comes along will save some stress in scrambling to pull together job application materials in a hurry. If you unexpectedly lose your job, you'll be positioned to job search immediately.