I’ve recently changed jobs. After thinking it was time for a change, I decided to put my money where my mouth was and put out a couple of applications. I got callbacks for most and rejections for others, but I was happy I even made the effort to apply. Here are my key takeaways from the job-hopping process.
1. Update Your Resume Every Few Months
This may seem obvious, but many people don’t update their resumes often. Sure, everything seems great when you’re happy at work and think you have no need for it, but it’s much harder to update a year from now. Think about all of the things you’ve done in the year, professionally and personally through volunteer work or community mentions. Now, think again. Remember that certification you got, or that training course you led, maybe you coordinated a company event. All of that should have a spot on your resume or in your cover letter. It’s much easier to blow some dust off the top of your resume than have to go in and swiffer up the whole thing.
Bonus: Keep your resume and portfolio updates online too (i.e. LinkedIn).
2. Draft Your Expectations
If you don’t quite know what you want in your next employer, use the characteristics from your current one as your baseline. If there are things about your company that you don’t like, then you have an idea of what you don’t want in a future employer (i.e. if you prefer to work under pressure, you may favor a more competitive work environment). Consider what you like and don’t like about your current supervisor and make a list of the traits you believe your next one should have. Conversely, draft a list of your “never again boss” traits. Next, understand what your skills are worth and decide on a salary range with which you would be comfortable. Do some research on your industry to gain insight into the hiring trends, the typical salary for your position and location, and normal workflow. When considering your salary, don’t neglect your other benefits. If you need health insurance, find out if your potential employer offers coverage. Will you have a lot of vacation time? Do you receive any stock compensation? Is there a flexible time off/sick policy? These are questions that you will need to answer especially if there’s an offer where the salary may appear to be low-balled. Often, employers will compensate in other areas if they can’t afford or don’t want to offer higher salaries upfront.
3. Don’t Give Up
This is going to be a scary, vulnerable, anxiety-producing process if that’s what you make it. Remember, rejection is a part of life, and often times it is the no’s that build perseverance and in turn, character. Some people will get an offer after only doing one interview, others after ten or more. There will be times where you are interviewing for a position that doesn’t feel right; turn those down right away, don’t waste your time. Your gut is always right. There may be a position that feels like a perfect fit, but the salary and benefits aren’t up to par. Only you know what you are willing to compromise and where you think you will be a good fit. Be patient in this process and your patience will be rewarded. Keep looking on job sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and LinkedIn, and don’t be afraid to do simple Google searches. You’ll know when the right job comes along, and when it does, I hope you’re ready for all of the greatness that is to come.
You don’t know what else is out there if you don’t take a leap and apply. Best of luck in your searches. Remember: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot