Job switch checklist - 10 tips to help you prepare

Reviewing a checklist on tablet

Have you decided to start job hunting?

Although coming to the decision that you’re ready to change jobs is a big step, the reality of finding a new role can still frustratingly seem like a long way off.

Follow our job switch checklist to help you get organised and kick-off your job search successfully.

Think about your ideal job description

Now that you know you want to move on… what do you move on to? Consider what you really want from your next role. What would your dream job look like? Factor in your strengths and areas of interest, and think about the areas you like or dislike about your current role. Use this ideal description to start your job search.

Draw up a timetable

Break down your job search into a series of manageable phases such as:

  • Research
  • Selection
  • Applications
  • Interview preparation

Work out what you will need to have prepared for each phase – eg for the application phase, you’ll need to have your CV ready, for the interview stage, you’ll need to prepare answers to common interview questions.

Sign up for alerts and newsletters

Think about the best sources of new job information in your industry and make sure you’re signed up for all relevant alerts and newsletters. If you want to avoid checking through hundreds of vacancies, it is important to make your search as targeted as possible. Many sites will allow you to tailor a search by relevant criteria such as salary and location.

Consult a recruitment agency

With their in-depth knowledge of job market conditions and recruitment trends, a good recruiter can advise you about salary expectations, skill requirements and provide you with job hunting tips. Set up a few informal exploratory calls with recruiters that look like a good fit. Check how a recruitment agency works and be selective. If an agency works on an individual commission basis you may be limited to only hearing about the opportunities your individual consultant is working on.

Get to networking

In a job market where many job openings are filled through word-of-mouth, being an effective networker has become increasingly important. By being well-networked, you are not only enabling yourself to tap into the 'hidden' job market, but giving yourself a real advantage over other candidates. Your network should include anyone who can assist you with a job search or career move. It can include past and present co-workers, bosses, colleagues from business associations and friends. Use tools like LinkedIn to expand your network.

Start updating your knowledge

Now is also a good time to make sure you’re on top of the latest trends in your industry. Identify a few key publications that you can trust to keep you really informed, and make a point of looking at them regularly.

Set aside some daily search time

Set aside a small amount of time each day to dedicate to your new job search, and draw up a list of things you want to do every day. This will typically include looking at LinkedIn, checking key job sites, and reading the latest news from key industry publications.

Maximise your LinkedIn presence

The greater your engagement on LinkedIn, the more visible your digital presence. Follow companies and connect with recruiters in sectors and industries that interest you. Use the alumni search tool to reach out to valuable connections. Also, look to update your LinkedIn status frequently with engaging insights and links, and post relevant articles to boost your profile views.

It’s important to have a complete profile, from summary to career history and education, complete with a professional looking photograph. You can also ask contacts to endorse you for skills and leave testimonials.

Widen your skill set

Learning something new to add to your CV is always a good idea, particularly if you’re looking for a job that’s slightly different to what you do now. There’s a wealth of online courses, tutorials and evening classes out there, many of them for free. Find out what might be relevant to the job you’re looking for and start learning.

Refresh your CV

If you’ve been working in the same role or company for years, there’s a chance your CV might be a little outdated. A good CV needs to be clear, up-to-date and showcases your skills effectively. Before applying, make sure it is an accurate representation of you, that it is tailored for the job in question and that it will encourage the employer to contact you to find out more.

More help

Although exciting, starting a new job can also be a challenging moment. Read our tips on adjusting to a new job and ensure your new role starts off as smooth as possible.

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