How to Prepare Yourself for a Job Search


Outside of connecting with Moms on the WorkingMomX site, I also help people with their Job Search though my company The Jerome Group.  If after reading this, there is anything you would like help with in your job search, contact me. I’m always excited to help other Moms, and I will even give you a WorkingMomX discount on my services!

If you’ve decided that you need to make a change, or you’re preparing to re-enter the workforce after spending time bringing up your children, the process of searching for a job can seem overwhelming.

But there’s no need to feel this way.

By breaking down the process into manageable steps, you can start to wrap your head around what’s required in order to successfully land your next position.

Many moms make the mistake of not doing a sufficient amount of preparation before going through the applying and interviewing processes, leading to issues later down the road.

Luckily for you, I’ve drawn up a list of items you need to take care of before you even think about sending off your first job application.

Career Counseling

A great place to start is with career counseling.

Whether you’ve been stuck in a rut at your current place of employment or you need advice about heading back into the workforce, a career counselor can set you on the right track.

Use their knowledge and expertise to help find out what it is that you truly want to do.

There’s no point re-entering the workforce to take on a job in an industry you hate. It’s completely counter-productive regardless of whether it brings in a paycheck or not, since you won’t last long if you’re counting the hours until you can return home again.

Just one session with a career counselor can be quite revealing, so I recommend that you book an appointment at the very start of your journey.

Prepare Your Resume

Without a great resume, you’re never going to get to the interview stage. Therefore, you need to invest a lot of time making sure it’s up to scratch.

It’s also likely that (particularly if you’ve been out of active employment for a while) resume etiquette has changed since you last searched for a job.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to send off your finalized version of your resume to a professional resume writer. Since writing resumes is their day job, they know all of the latest industry trends inside and out.

Think of it as hiring someone to sell you as a person, much like you would hire a realtor to sell your house. You wouldn’t try and sell your house on your own, so don’t try and write your resume on your own either.

This investment can be the difference-maker between getting a rejection email and an invitation to interview, so it’s a wise choice.

***Need help with your Resume or Job Search strategy?  Contact Candace 

Clean Up Your Social Presence

This is perhaps more for moms who haven’t been working for a while, as opposed to those of you looking to switch positions, but the point remains valid for both.

LinkedIn is going to be your biggest social ally in your quest for a new job so it’s important that you go through and make your profile as smart and professional as it can be.

Take the time to update your employment section with relevant experience and responsibilities. If you are currently working you need to be careful, as a LinkedIn revamp can spark rumors that you are looking to leave.

Don’t stop with LinkedIn.

If during your time away you’ve posted some less than professional rants concerning motherhood (or anything else for that matter) on Facebook (I know I have!), then it’s probably wise to take them down.

Likewise, for photos, go through and do a cull of anything that could be used as a slight against your character. After all, no employer wants to see your ill-advised attempt at a keg-stand at your brother’s 40th birthday bash.

Reconstruct Your Professional Network

The approach here is going to slightly different depending on whether you are currently employed or not.

If you’ve been a stay-at-home mom for a while, this is the time to start telling your family and friends that your looking to get back into a job and to look out for anything that may be of interest.

Next, move on to reaching out to old colleagues, informing them that you’re going through the process of preparing to re-enter the workforce. Opportunities can take months to present themselves so it’s important to put those feelers out early while preparing everything else in the meantime.

If you are currently working and looking for a change, this can be slightly more challenging as you have to be discreet in who you are talking to about leaving. A good way to build up a network outside of your current colleagues is by attending local networking events.

You can use these events to collate business cards and start professional relationships with like-minded individuals without compromising your current position.

Similarly, if you enjoy working in your current industry, you can look at attending industry events as a way to meet some new faces within your field.

Get Your References in Order Ahead of Time

Obviously this is much easier for those on the outside of the workforce looking to get back in, but even while still in a position, you can easily speak to old employers about getting a written reference before you eventually leave your current position.

Getting a recent reference can help you immensely later down the line. Therefore, once you’ve finished your other preparation tasks, start reaching to people that can give you what you need.

Old employers are the obvious place to start, but it helps to have a few so-called “character” references from neutral third parties within your professional network to bolster your image when employers are carrying out their background checks.

Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail…

Or so the saying goes.

But it’s certainly true when it comes to starting the search for a new job.

Without preparation, holes in a poorly-prepared resume, embarrassing social media posts, or a lack of credible references can come back to haunt you.

Moms can also make the mistake of diving head-first into a job search without actually considering what it is that they actually want to do.

That’s why I really recommend starting with a career counseling session before making a plan of action.. You may also want to read my post about balancing your career with your family to get ideas about how you want to shape your future work/life balance.

What have you done to prepare yourself for a job search? Post your helpful tips in the comments below!  And if you would like some help on any of the items above, please reach out to me directly at The Jerome Group.

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