Career –   Top 7 “What to Do” First Steps in a Job Search

As a senior career transition coach, I’ve helped over 100 clients in the past year in their job search when they were unexpectedly laid off. I’m not a recruiter, nor do I offer job placement services. I am a coach trying to offer a free resource for people who need it right now.

As this is happening in an already fearful time, I want to share my recommended “Top 7 What to Do First” steps. This is by no means to be considered as a full list. There are many nuances to each step that could enhance your job search, especially in resume development. This is meant to give a quick framework for those who don’t know what to do, to at least get you started.

To other career coaches and recruiters, please comment to include free tools/resources. If you are a recruiter, add your name/contact info and say what sector you recruit for. Let’s do what we can for others in perhaps their greatest time of need.

  1. Acknowledge your emotions. You will cycle and recycle through shock, sadness, fear, embarrassment, shame, anger, denial, resistance, and acceptance. This is normal for anyone in career transition/job search mode. Talk to your loved ones, process your emotions. Seek counseling if you need to. And while this resource is targeted toward helping children and teens cope with anxiety for the coronavirus, many of these same strategies can apply in sharing your job news with them.
  2. Look up unemployment assistance requirements/benefits for your state. Though this may be in flux right now, keep checking.
  3. Assess and list your top transferable skills and think about industry sectors where they are needed right now. I’m thinking of a manager I worked with this past year in the manufacturing sector. We assessed his top transferable skills. He applied and landed a job in the supply chain sector with a global company. People will need to hire again and some industries need to hire right now, so don’t wait for things “to get better.”

  4. Use this time to build new skills through online training or certifications. 
  5. Update your resume with key words throughout that are crucial skills/requirements listed in the job ads you are considering. Quantify your successes in your work experience, i.e. increased sales by… *This is a very important step to even be considered by getting past applicant tracking systems/computers.
  6. Update LinkedIn profile and job boards with your updated resume. Turn your job seeking preferences “on” in LinkedIn so recruiters know you’re looking.
  7. This is the most important! Network! Most jobs come from someone you know. Reach out and network!!! This can be the quickest way to find employment. It has never been easier with the aid of social media. People need people with new or different skills in our new normal. Sometimes job seekers hesitate in this step because of the associated emotions listed in Step 1. We all get it right now.

If you have the luxury of time, don’t rush any of this process. Think about what you really want in your next step. Consider taking career assessments and seeking career coaching if you have no idea. Work with an expert to create a really strong profile for your search. Wait for what you want.

Good luck, and may many blessings and better job offerings come your way. Stay strong, be active, interact with positive people, and treat the job search as your new job.

If you are an individual and need career coaching, please go to my website to schedule a session or to contact me with questions.

If you are a business and know you have layoffs coming, contact ICC 855-865-4400, a career transition company known for innovation in its compassionate outplacement coaching, executive coaching, and leadership development.