Whether you’re looking for your first profes- sional position or a temporary job to build your bank account over the summer, search- ing for a job can be overwhelming. While it’s tempting to do nothing and hope a job falls
in your lap, that is probably not your best course of action. There
are many things you can do right now to increase the chances of
finding that perfect position.
If you’re just getting moving (or wondering where to begin),
the suggestions below will help you jumpstart your job search,
and put you on the path to professional success.
One. Take One Bite at a Time
The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Make it a
priority to spend one hour every day working on your job search.
Go someplace your friends can’t find you, turn your phone off
(not just silent), and make real progress on your search. You don’t
have to do everything today, but you do have to do something.
Two. Refresh Your Résumé
Your résumé is your single most important professional document. It is your marketing tool, where you present yourself to
potential employers in the best possible light. In many cases,
it is the first impression a potential employer has of you — but
hopefully not the last one. You’ve probably been using the same
résumé for a long time, updating it in bits and pieces as your
situation changed. Now is the time to take a fresh, critical look
at the overall picture.
• Verify that everything is up-to-date and absolutely
current. Are all of your most recent and most relevant
• Look at the overall impression your résumé gives. Now is
the time to remove some of your extracurricular activities
from high school, especially ones that aren’t relevant to
your career path.
• Make sure your strongest selling points are up front, and
quantify accomplishments where possible. You may need
to reorganize the sections and update the headers to
more accurately reflect your recent accomplishments. For
example, instead of “Experience with HPLC” say, “Analyzed
25 samples per week using HPLC, including performing
routine maintenance and upgrades to equipment”.
• Create the best possible basic résumé, then customize it
for each position. Your résumé will be one, or at most two,
pages, so make every line count.
Three. Update Your LinkedIn Profile
Take a critical look at your professional profile on LinkedIn. This
is the first place most industrial employers go to look for candidates, so if you’re not there, you are invisible to most potential
employers. If you don’t have an account yet, sign up (it’s free).
• Copy and paste content from your now-awesome résumé
10 Tips to Jumpstart
in to the appropriate sections of your LinkedIn profile.
Your Job Search –
BY LISA M. BALBES, PH.D.