Applying for a New Job? Five Things You Must Do First

applying for a new job

The competition in the job market is always fierce, therefore, when applying for a new job it is more important than ever for you to be prepared. As you know, looking for a job can quickly become quite stressful and time consuming, so the more work you do upfront, the more comfortable and in control you will feel throughout the whole process.

Let’s talk about some important things that anyone that is applying for a new job, should do.

Speak to Your References

Even though including references at the bottom of your resume is rare, at some point, prior to being hired, you will be asked to supply your references. Long before that happens, take some time to think about three past employers that would provide you with the absolute best reference. If you do not have three past employers, quite often a teacher or a coach may be used as a reference.

Call, or send each person a polite and professional email letting them know that you are searching for a new job. Ask them for permission to use them as a job reference. And, make sure to request all of their most current contact information so that you can provide that to potential new employers.

Google Yourself

Do a search for yourself online and see what comes up.

Type your name in several different ways. Here are some examples, with and without quotes:

“Jackson L. Henry”

Jackson Henry

Jackson L. Henry

“Jackson Henry”

Add your location to some of your searches as well.

You should also include the name of some of your past employers along with your name, or the name of the college or high school you attended.

Hopefully, you only find good stuff about yourself, but if you find derogatory things about yourself online, do your very best to see if you can clean them up before you begin applying for new jobs.

Social Media

When it comes to searching for a job is social media a help or a hindrance? The answer may be both, depending on how you appear online.

What you say online can quickly make or break your career, as has been demonstrated by so many people over the past few years.

If you have a Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram account, or any other accounts online, go through them and delete any images or statements that could have a negative impact on your job search. Never assume that any jokes that you have posted will be interpreted correctly by future employers.

Yes these are your personal accounts, but employers do not care about that. What they do care about is finding good people to hire. So, when online, always be conservative, unless the images and comments you have online fit well with the type of job you are looking for.

And if you love posting naked Selfies, now may be the right time to delete them unless you are applying for a job with Playboy.

Another online platform that is often overlooked when people are looking for a new job is their blog. If you publish a blog and your name appears on your blog, take the time to make sure that the things you have written on there will not become an embarrassment, or in some way prevent you from getting hired.

The last thing you want is to put a lot of work into finding a new job only to find out that no one will hire you because of something you wrote on your blog two years ago.

Updated Resume

I bet your resume is due for an update, unless you were only at your last job for a few months.

Read your resume and find ways to enhance it. Add any courses you have recently taken, or any volunteer work you are doing.

Ensure that your resume contains strong keywords that directly relate to the type of job you are applying for.

Keywords are important because quite often your resume is scanned into a database so that the HR department can run queries on every applicant in their database for any job openings they need to fill.

Also, if you have a LinkedIn profile, now is the time to make sure that your profile and your resume match when it comes to work experience and education.  Discrepancies will cause your potential employer to wonder what’s going on. And who needs that?

Get Out There and Network

You will never find a new job by sitting at home and waiting for the phone to ring.

When you start looking for a new job you want to speak to as many people as possible. Contact past work colleagues, friends, and trusted professionals in your line of work, to let them know that you are seeking employment. Ask them for referrals and introductions. Someone may know someone that knows someone that is hiring right now.

Another great opportunity to spread the word, and ask for a referral, is when you contact your references. They too may know someone that is hiring.

If you do volunteer work, speak to the people you work with there to see if they know of anyone that you could talk to about a job.

Check your local newspaper for job fairs or meet-ups in your city that may attract people from your line of work. Attend, mingle and exchange contact information with people and make sure to follow-up with them the next day.

An important thing to remember when you are networking is to stop focusing on yourself and to look for ways that you can help other people first. As you do that, people will begin to view you as a helpful person and a good resource, and quite often they will let you know as soon as they hear about a good job opening up.


    • Corina Ramos

      Corina Ramos 03/03/2014 8:53 a.m. #

      Hey Sicorra!

      Happy Monday friend! These are great ideas. I never thought of Googling (is that even a word????) myself but the way things float around on the internet it makes sense to do it.

      I'm glad you put the references bullet...I've been called for a reference for someone I hadn't talked to in years. I mean we were good coworkers but a heads up would have been nice. :)

      Thanks for sharing these tips girlfriend! I hope you have a great week! Let's catch up soon!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/04/2014 9:38 a.m. #

        I think a lot of people forget to ask people for permission to use them as a reference. Kind of sad. Having a potential employer phone and catch your references off guard is not a good way to start out.

        Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week.

    • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

      Shannon @ The Heavy Purse 03/03/2014 10:42 a.m. #

      Great tips, Sicorra! Yes, these days you do need to be aware of how the things you say or post in social media can be used against or for you when it comes to getting a job. Some things seem more obvious - like posting naked selfies, although given the amount of them posted, people may think it's okay! But an offhand tweet or Facebook complaining about work - even if you don't name your employer - could still make a potential employer nervous. If you need to vent, do it in person - not for the whole world to see.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/04/2014 9:43 a.m. #

        Venting online is becoming all too common and people will end up paying the price. There may be some companies that don't pay too much attention to what a person says online, but I would still be careful, simply because you just never know.

    • Bren

      Bren 03/03/2014 3:57 p.m. #

      Fabulous tips Sicorra! Some people don't think to do all these things but they really should. Could you imagined getting googled and finding all these inappropriate things? EEK!!! Really makes ya think! :)

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/04/2014 10:16 a.m. #

        Thanks Bren! Some people may be surprised at what they find, and some may not even worry about it, I guess. I would be freaked out for sure.

    • Corinne @ Home Biz Mom

      Corinne @ Home Biz Mom 03/03/2014 7:06 p.m. #

      Great ideas as always Sicorra! I especially agree with the ones about Googling yourself and checking social media. These things were never heard of before, but can totally make or break a job now.

      Thanks for sharing! Hope you have a great week

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/04/2014 10:19 a.m. #

        Yes, checking yourself out online is very new, but so important these days. Things change so quickly, and you never know what could be printed out there about you. Always good to double check.

    • Nicole

      Nicole 03/03/2014 8:10 p.m. #

      Wonderful tips! Particularly the ones about googling yourself and managing your social media presence. I once googled myself and found something I put out there back in 2008 as a joke. It probably looked less than appealing to my potential employers and I'm glad I had for forethought to do a little google creeping on myself. Another thing I do when I apply for a new job is check my spelling and grammar on all of my documents three times.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/04/2014 10:22 a.m. #

        Hey Nicole, Thanks for stopping by!
        Spell checking is incredibly important. I have double and triple checked and then years later looked at a the same document and found a silly typo.

    • Clarrise @ Make Money Your Way

      Clarrise @ Make Money Your Way 03/04/2014 12:37 a.m. #

      Nice one Sicorra! After reading this one, I immediately searched my name and see what is the result. I really need these tips because currently I'm looking for another sideline job.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/04/2014 10:24 a.m. #

        Did you find anything interesting about yourself Clarrise? Sometimes we find things that we had nothing to do with in the first place. Those are the online things that we really need to watch out for.

    • donna merrill

      donna merrill 03/04/2014 12:08 p.m. #

      Hi Sicorra,

      Coming on over from Corina's place "I'm Every Woman"
      These are great tips. Especially about social media. When someone tells me that they are seeking a job, I always tell them to first clean up things on social media. Then, get on to LinkedIn.
      I have one gal I know that is actually setting up her own website writing about things she knows in her industry.
      When someone asks her for her resume, she has a link to that site too.

      Great ideas!


      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/04/2014 1:48 p.m. #

        Interesting you mention that Donna. I read a few weeks ago that one day in the future, personal blogs will become your resume. That may be both good and bad depending on how a person handles it and the type of career they are working on.

    • Arelis Cintron

      Arelis Cintron 03/04/2014 7:58 p.m. #

      Sicorra these are great tips! I haven't updated my resume in years although I do try and update the things I do on LinkedIn, I should have a hard copy. The other thing I always forget to do is to keep up to date with the current trends in my field. Things can change overnight and if I had to start all over again, I think I would feel totally lost.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/06/2014 11:56 a.m. #

        Keeping up to date with current trends can be difficult, but probably better idea to do it while you are employed instead of having to catch up if you are suddenly unemployed. But it all comes down to there only being so many hours in the day to do things, right.

    • CarolB

      CarolB 03/05/2014 1:54 p.m. #

      Great tips, including a new one for me. I never thought to Google myself! Going to have to try that. I'm kind of sort of looking to expand my current work-at-home. Just haven't found the right-fit.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/06/2014 11:58 a.m. #

        Oh, Carol, you should google yourself, just for fun. It is interesting to see if something shows up that you wouldn't expect to see. Good luck with expanding your work from home options too.

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