Job search

Here are some things to consider doing. Some items may not be applicable to you.

Financial considerations


  • How soon you need to get a job
  • How much you need to be paid
  • Whether you might need to get a lower-paying job until you find a job that pays more
  • What financial resources are available to you until get a job, e.g.:
    • Unemployment assistance
    • Loans

General considerations


  • Whether you would be willing to relocate for a good job
  • What is cost of living in other locations
  • How far away you would be willing to commute
  • What type of organization you’d like to work for, e.g.:
    • Business, non-profit, government – for a wealth of info about a public service career: Guide to Public Service
    • Large or small organization
  • Whether you might like to go into business for yourself
  • Are you willing to take one or more of the following:
    • Temporary job
    • Freelance or contractor work
    • Internship
    • Volunteer position
  • Should you obtain additional training/education to qualify for the type of job/career you’re interested in
  • What would you like to do?
  • Determine what type of job you would most like to have, e.g.:
    • Indoor or outdoor or combination?
    • Working mostly with other people or mostly alone?
    • A position which involves travel?
  • Determine what type of job you are best qualified for, e.g.:
    • Evaluate your skills
    • Evaluate your personality
  • Research prospective jobs/careers in terms of:
    • How much they pay
    • How much demand there is for people to fill positions in those fields
    • Whether you would need additional training/education to qualify for positions in those fields
  • Request informational interviews with people in organizations and/or positions you’re interested in

Preparing to apply for jobs

  • Check your credit report (many organizations do a credit check on job applicants)
  • Get a good photo taken (for use on your LinkedIn profile) by:
    • Using a professional, or,
    • Taking lots and lots of photos of yourself with your web cam, or,
    • Having a friend take lots and lots of photos of you
  • Order business cards
  • Gather up and organize documentation of your education and experience (to use in writing your résumé,
    LinkedIn profile, cover letters, etc.) e.g.:

    • Transcripts
    • Certificates
    • Performance evaluations
  • Create a résumé
  • Sign up for a LinkedIn account
    • Fully complete your profile
    • Join, and request to join, as many groups as you can find for which you are qualified
    • Request LinkedIn connections with people you know
  • Ensure you have a good Internet presence by finding sites where you are mentioned and taking action to remove any adverse items, e.g.:
    • Do Internet searches using variations of your name
    • Review your Facebook profile and posts
    • Review your Twitter profile and Tweets
  • Develop an ‘elevator speech’ which you will be able to use to quickly tell people what type of job you are looking for and what your qualifications for that type of job are
  • Find an ‘accountability partner’ with whom you can bounce ideas off of, practice your ‘elevator speech’, prepare for interviews, etc.
  • Practice your ‘elevator speech’ with a partner, preferably not your significant other, preferably with an ‘accountability partner’
  • Create matrix with columns for employer deadline to apply, POCs & their contact info, type position, level of your interest, URL of website/page, log of all actions you’ve taken and contacts you’ve made with people regarding that org and/or position

General preparation for interviews

  • Whiten teeth
  • Ensure you have professional clothes for interviews
  • Buy a portfolio to take to interviews
  • Get a haircut

Finding jobs to apply for

Most people agree that 70-80 % of jobs are not advertised (e.g., in classified ads, on Internet job boards) so many recommend spending about 80% of your job search time networking

  • Search on the Internet, e.g.:
    • On your Home page
    • On group pages
  • Check classified ads in local newspapers and magazines
  • Contact local employment assistance agencies
  • Visit libraries
  • Find as many ways as possible to let people know:
    • That you’re looking for a job
    • What type of job you’re looking for
    • What skills and experience you have to offer
  • Attend meetings:
    • Networking groups
    • Community groups, e.g.:
    • Toastmasters
    • Rotary Club
    • Lions Club
    • Community planning boards
    • Join groups on that match your interests (e.g., E-commerce, tech startups, hiking)
  • Volunteer, e.g.:
    • With organizations, or the type of organizations, you’re interested in working for
    • For charities
    • For community groups

Job fairs

  • Don’t attend job fairs with a primary goal of getting a job offer from an employer at a job fair
  • Have a primary goal of making useful contacts and making it easier for further communication with representatives of organizations you’re interested in working for
  • RSVP as required
  • Get a list of employers who will be attending
  • Determine which employers you’re interested in
  • Research those employers
  • Create a unique version of your résumé for each employer you’re interested in
  • Dress professionally

    Before standing in line to talk to representatives of employers you’re interested in:

  • Go to their booths/tables
  • Pick up items (e.g., brochures)
  • Stand near the booth/table while reviewing those items
  • Listen to discussions between the representatives and other job seekers
  • Based on the information you’ve picked up and the discussions you’ve heard, decide on things to ask of, and to mention to, the representatives

Applying for jobs

  • Use the matrix of job opportunities that you created to determine which jobs to apply for
  • Try to get the name of the hiring manager, so you can try to contact that person in addition to submitting your application and résumé through the specified process, normally online to the HR department (to show that you can follow directions)

For each job you apply for:

  • Prepare a cover letter which:
    • Clearly shows your interest in the job
    • Clearly shows your unique qualifications for the job
    • Highlights things you have in common with the hiring manager, e.g., mutual acquaintances, interests
  • Prepare a version of your résumé which specifically targets that job:
    • Ensure your objective closely matches the job description
    • Ensure keywords from the job description are in your résumé (to help your résumé can get through a computerized screening process, if used)

Preparing for a specific interview

  • Thoroughly research that organization and any people you think you might be talking to, e.g., using:
    • Internet searches
  • Anticipate questions you might be asked
  • Prepare and practice answers to questions you might be asked
  • Prepare some questions for you to ask the interviewer(s) to show that you are very familiar with the organization and the position you are interviewing for

After an interview:

  • Send a ‘thank you’ email
  • Send a ‘thank you’ card/note
  • Continue to follow up with key people

After receiving a job offer

  • Do research on salaries to help you with salary negotiation
  • Determine if you would be paid a salary or hourly
  • Determine how often you would be paid
  • Determine if there is an opportunity to be paid commissions


Thanks for reading!