Has it Been Years Since Your Last Job Search? How to Organize and Spend Your Time Wisely

November 12, 2021

If it’s been longer than 5 years since you’ve dipped your toes in the job search waters, it’s important to understand why resume is important for job seekers and how some key components of the job hunt have changed. There’s more to it than refreshing your resume, making sure your LinkedIn is current (although that’s certainly an important part of it), and scouring online job boards.

In fact, spending most of your time applying online can land you in the ATS (applicant tracking system) black hole — from which many resumes never return. Not only will you walk away incredibly frustrated, it may likely prolong your job search. Instead, in addition to making sure your resume and LinkedIn look current, sharp and polished, consider navigating today’s world of job hunting by devoting your time accordingly across 3 buckets:

  1. Conduct Targeted Research (25%)

Spend a quarter of your total weekly or daily job hunt hours conducting careful research to identify some names of companies or organizations where you’d be thrilled to work.

Local business journals, LinkedIn and other websites offer listings of organizations sorted by just about any category you can think of. In fact, “best of” lists exist for all sorts of niches, from “Best Companies to Be Innovative” to “Best Tech Companies to Work for.”

After you’ve whittled down some names, you can then refer to company websites to learn as much as you can about benefits, media mentions, etc. The website’s branding — from its layout and style of writing — often yields subtle clues about the company’s culture.

Sites like Bloomberg and Hoover offer free versions to uncover details about public companies, like who sits on their board, stock history and the competition. While it’s a bit harder to get intel on private companies, resources are available online. Check out Forbes’ list of Fortune 500s, or Inc.com’s list of Fastest-Growing Privately Held Companies.

For nonprofits, check out a list published by TopNonProfits.com or GuideStar’s directory of IRS-recognized organizations.

  1. Establish an Online Brand (20%)

While many speak on the importance of why resume is important for job seekers, having a limited professional online presence can hurt you in today’s world. Recruiters and hiring managers search online to find and vet candidates. Incidentally, building and growing an online footprint is frankly a necessary evil that many find overwhelming. Consider getting started on just one or two platforms. Choosing the one that is best for you will depend on your career goals and your audience.

I can attest that LinkedIn is the most popular by far — and with good reason. According to Jobvite’s 2021 survey, LinkedIn is the most widely used social media site for recruiting, although Facebook and Instagram are also gaining traction.

Get started by locating, sharing and commenting on articles that pertain to your career aspirations and the thoughts of others. Posting a few times a week or even daily will keep your profile prominent in the feeds of your connections. Free tools like Buffer and Hootsuite can take the time crunch out of this by letting you schedule posts ahead of time.

  1. Network (50%)

The adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” rings with clarity when it comes to the job hunt, and according to HubSpot upwards of 85% of roles get filled through some sort of networking.

When it comes to figuring out who is in your network, start with your inner circle and move outwards from there.

Begin with friends, families, neighbors and colleagues. Next, expand your list from there to think about acquaintances or people who cross your path, but less regularly (think the dad who is on your kid’s baseball team).

Take your search to LinkedIn. Search by company and job title to locate hiring managers at companies that interest you and recruiters and professionals who are successful in your desired job field. If you aren’t connected with these people, figure out who you know who is or send them a personalized connection request.

Are they a connection? If so, options for outreach include email, phone calls and Inmail. On the other hand, if you don’t know a person well or at all, reach out via InMail or do a bit of sleuthing to uncover a professional email. Once you connect, it’s OK to ask for names, info and words of wisdom.

The Remaining 5%?

Go ahead and spend your remaining time on job boards. If nothing else, this will give you a sense of which companies currently have hiring budgets and can help you uncover names of recruiters and firms actively posting!

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About the author

Virginia Franco

I am a multi-certified Executive Resume and LinkedIn Writer, Coach and Storyteller who loves to create documents that help clients to land interviews.

I share my insights as the host of the award-winning Resume Storyteller podcast, a Jobscan Top Careers Expert and in various publications and podcasts.

I'm a proud Supporter, Board Member and former President of the National Resume Writers Association.