Refresh Your Job Search with a Little Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning represents a time to roll up your sleeves, clear out the stagnant winter air, make your home sparkle, and get organized. And if you’ve been looking for a job for a while – or maybe are thinking about a career change – chances are your search techniques could use some freshening, too.

Feeling overwhelmed by this possibility? Don’t be. Just take it a step at a time with these tips.

Preparing your résumé and pitch

- Update your résumé. New title or responsibilities? Achieved any impressive sales or project goals lately? Been recognized by a company or industry award? Make sure your résumé is current with your latest information.  Also, craft it so that it’s easy to read, and relevant to the job you’re seeking.

- Go online. Consider placing your resume on general job-posting sites (such as Monster or CareerBuilder), industry-specific ones (like Dice, for technology professionals), or recruiting firm sites. But, be aware of each company’s privacy policy. Determine who can see your information, and how they’re permitted to contact you.

- Perfect your pitch. Practice your elevator pitch—a quick summary of what you do and what value you can provide the company—to create a more memorable first impression. (Repetition facilitates a flawless pitch that’s spoken without hesitation or stumbling.)  Make it simple, relevant, and natural. And keep it under 30 seconds.  

Staying sharp with job-searching tools

- Organize your paperwork. Piles of interview notes, company information, reference lists, resumes, contact lists, and more can quickly become unwieldy. Create an organized reference guide with heavy-duty binders and index-maker dividers. It’s surprising how being organized can help you feel more in control – and make it easier to prepare for second interviews.

- Dress up your letters. Mailing labels give envelopes a touch of professionalism. Why not go green with EcoFriendly Address Labels, personalized with Avery Design & Print Online?

- Show your work. Have a portfolio? Use a nifty binder for a more organized presentation.  And sheet protectors safeguard your material while giving it a diamond-clear, crisp look.

Expanding your network

- Connect online. Take full advantage of LinkedIn or industry-specific professional networking sites. With LinkedIn, include a complete profile using all sections, and an impactful title heading. Doing so helps you rank higher in employer search results – and makes it easier for hiring personnel to find you.

- Meet locally. Connect with those who share your professional interests through programs such as Meetup. It’s a viable way to foster relationships, expand your industry knowledge, and enhance your career in a less formal networking setting.

- Build contacts. Offline networking is still important. The classic business card (also known as a contact card or networking card) is an efficient, easy way to pass along your contact information. Use our pre-designed templates for impressive cards that look like they came from a print shop, and make your card stand out with a QR code that links to your website or online portfolio. Another idea is to use the back side of the card to work as a mini résumé by listing your areas of expertise for easy reference.

Following up to stand out

- Stay in touch. Expressing your sincere appreciation for an interview with a thank you note is not only thoughtful, but helps keep your name in front of hiring personnel. (And, no, an e-mail doesn’t carry the same impact.)  It’s smart to personalize your correspondence with a brief mention about a specific aspect of your conversation – perhaps highlighting a certain accomplishment or job qualification. Send your note within 24 hours of the interview.

- Make a call. Haven’t heard from the company? Make a quick call to the interviewer. Be polite and professional. Simply say that you’re following up on the interview and hoping for an update. Doing so shows you’re persistent – an admirable job trait - and truly interested in the position.

Spring brings a sense of renewal and hope. So, if you’re looking for better results from your job search, use this season as a time to retool your search efforts. May your spring cleaning efforts bring you nothing but success!