With spring finally here and the gloom of winter behind us, there’s a sense of new beginnings in the air. And with that comes the possibility of a new job to propel your career forward.
As Alex Twersky, career expert and Mediabistro’s own resume and cover letter writer, puts it, “When the weather starts to warm up, both employers and job seekers shake off the winter blues and the job market starts to come out of hibernation.”
So, to help you break out of the winter slump and into a productive job hunt, here are three steps to get you defrosted and back in the game.
1. Reflect on Your Process
Now’s a great time to look back at which resumes and cover letters hailed a reply from a hiring manager, and which ones disappeared into the great unknown. “Paraphrasing a wise philosopher,” says Twersky, “we should remember the past lest we repeat its mistakes.”
If you’ve been keeping a list of your job search—which, hey, you should do—mark all the jobs you didn’t hear back from. If you still have the resumes and covers for those positions, take a look and see if you can spot why a hiring manager may have passed.
Repeat this process with the companies that you did hear back from to see what you did there to grab their eye.
This is a great way to do a quick self-assessment, and you might actually glean some valuable information for moving forward in your search.
2. Purge and Update the Resumes
Now that you’ve assessed your old resumes and cover letters, it’s time to toss them.
Get rid of the outdated resumes that clutter your desktop, keeping only your most up-to-date ones. And if it’s been awhile since you’ve updated your resume, remember it only needs to cover the past 10 to 15 years, Twersky says.
If you think your resume might be the thing that’s been holding back your job search, well, now’s the time to do something about it. Either take some serious time to really make your resume stand out, or hire a pro to get some expert help.
And if you’re not already using Google Docs to manage your resumes, consider giving it a shot. With all your application materials stored on the Cloud, you’ll still be able to access all your latest resumes and apply for a job even when you’re not at your home computer.
3. Get Interview Ready
If a company called you for an interview tomorrow, would you be ready? Many times, a job-seeker who hasn’t had a lot of bites might get a little too comfortable in their job search, and not actually be prepared for the most important part—the interview.
There is some truth to the cliché “clothes make the person,” Twersky says. “When we look the part, whether it’s a smart wardrobe that fits our perception of the corporate culture where we are interviewing, or a sharp haircut or suitably applied makeup,” he says, “having a positive self-image, which should be aided by your aesthetics though not entirely defined by them, is a proven confidence-booster.”
Of course, it’s also important to remember that, in an interview, “style will rarely trump substance,” says Twersky.
To make sure you’re interview ready, go over this checklist and make sure everything’s good to go, so in case you do get a call today, you’ll be ready to crush the interview tomorrow:
- Check that your LinkedIn page and your personal site (if applicable) are updated and ready to be chatted up in an interview.
- Make sure your printer is ready to kick out your resume at a moment’s notice. This means checking that your ink cartridge is good to go.
- Iron your interview outfit and have it ready. Think of it like your superhero outfit, waiting to be thrown on at the last second.
- Any personal primping, like getting a fresh haircut, should happen now.
- Consider a mock interview with a friend or professional to mentally prepare your for the tough questions and to help you stand out.