How to Give Your Job Search a Good Spring Cleaning


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It’s that time of year again — time to clean up, clear out, and start fresh. With springtime fast approaching, it’s an ideal time for job seekers to dust off their resumes and take a fresh approach to how they search for jobs.

While spring cleaning is in full-effect in our homes, it’s equally necessary for your job search. Consider this: spring graduations are just around the corner, meaning an onslaught of new job seekers, hungry for entry-level positions, will be hitting the market.

In an effort to set yourself apart from the competition, while in search of your dream job, here are four areas to consider giving a good cleanse this season:

Clean up your job search strategy

Searching for a new job is a job in and of itself. The key to being successful at any job is to have a solid strategy in place. Start by defining exactly what it is you’re looking for in a new position. Consider where you want to live and what kind of company you’d like to work for. Once you’ve laid out the basics, clean up your job search strategy by doing the following:

  • Build a job search calendar and stick to it. Having a weekly plan will help you stay on top of your job search efforts.
  • Actively research companies that interest you and reach out to them. Just because they aren’t advertising an open position, doesn’t mean there isn’t one.
  • Gather a key list of references and let them know you’re on the hunt for a new position. Help them better help you.

Declutter your resume

The age-old Chinese practice of Feng Shui suggests that our environment is a mirror of what’s going on with us internally. Just as a messy space results in messy thoughts, a cluttered resume is likely to reflect badly on job seekers. Dust off your old resume and spruce it up a bit with these tips:

  • Redesign your resume and eliminate unnecessary or outdated information. Your first job at an ice cream parlor, when you were in high school, probably won’t help you land that IT gig.
  • Get rid of the clutter and stick to the numbers. Actions speak louder than words, so don’t tell employers what you did on a day-to-day basis — show them the results.
  • Think like an employer while editing your resume and answer the question, “What can you do for me?”
  • Take it up a notch and record a video resume to supplement your traditional resume. Not only will it set you apart from the competition, but it will showcase your personality and skills early in the hiring process.

Organize your networking opportunities

You’ve heard it before — it’s not about what you know, but who you know. And when it comes to breaking into the hidden job market, that is exactly the case. It’s not enough to just have a presence on social networking sites like LinkedIn, you have to adopt a go-getter mentality when it comes to networking:

  • Find a networking buddy to help motivate you to attend industry and job seeker events. Having a buddy system can take some of the anxiety out of networking with professionals.
  • Join local associations or organizations related to the industry you’re interested in. Often times these associations hold networking and professional development events of their own.
  • Keep in touch with industry professionals you meet at networking events or through online networking sites. Nearly 30 percent of senior managers say not keeping in touch with contacts is the biggest mistake people make when networking.

Tidy up your social presence

With more employers turning to social media to gain insight on potential job candidates, it’s crucial that you maintain a positive presence on social media. In fact, more than half of employers who research job candidates on social media say they’ve found content that caused them to not hire a candidate. To tidy up your online social footprint and ensure that employers see you in the best light possible, try the following:

  • Audit your social presence for any red flags that may pop up for employers. These red flags include inappropriate online content or behavior, lying about qualifications, bad-mouthing a past employer, etc.
  • Set up Google Alerts for your name so that you can actively monitor your personal brand online.
  • Optimize your social networking sites with recent work samples and endorsements from past employers or coworkers.
  • Engage in industry-related chats on Twitter. Not only does this help boost your online presence and knowledge of the industry, but it can serve as a great networking tool.
  • Build Twitter Lists so that you can easily organize, follow, and engage with like-minded professionals, industry leaders, companies you’d like to work for, etc.

Spring is a time of renewal, so why not take a fresh look at how you’re searching for jobs? Use the items on this “spring cleaning” checklist to get your job search in shape and land the job of your dreams.

In what ways do you plan to clean up your job search this season? Share your spring cleaning tips in the comments below!

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta, Managing Director of CareerShift, co-founded the company in 2005 to help individuals bridge the gap between education and employment.  As a recognized expert in the field, Val is a frequent speaker on career management, networking, and job hunting strategies.  You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.