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.
- 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!