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Click here for a direct link to the recording of this blog post.

There’s something about the first quarter. It’s always a strange time; the weather, the expectation of what a new year will bring, reflection on the prior year; it causes many people to get restless in January and February. As a recruiter, I have become very familiar with this cycle, because it often coincides with an influx in requests for resume reviews, assistance with LinkedIn profile development and inquiries about available positions.  

I really enjoy working with job seekers, but there are a few things that I end up saying all of the time that I think anyone in transition should really consider before they reach out to a recruiter for help.

So, consider this post your guide to job transition prep.


What do you want to do?

You may think this question is super obvious, but you wouldn’t believe the number of people that come to me for help, yet have no idea of what they want to do. There’s certainly nothing wrong with shifting gears or transitioning to something new during your career. But you, the job seeker, are the only person that can determine what is the right fit for you in terms of a career move.

If you are planning on reaching out to a recruiter for help, I recommend first sitting down with your resume and LinkedIn profile and really examining your skills and accomplishments. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What am I really good at?
  • What work/types of projects do I most enjoy and get the greatest amount of satisfaction from?
  • What are my transferrable skills?

From there, begin to connect the dots between what you’ve been doing and what you want to be doing. This may involve quite a bit of research. Job descriptions and postings are a great resource. Consider different industries that interest you. What are the types of roles within that industry?

It’s important to remember, there isn’t a specific science to this process. It’s all about asking yourself the important questions, self-examination, self-awareness and realistic expectations. (If you’re 10+ years into your current career, you’re probably not going to make the same amount of money if you shift to a new field or industry). But keep your eyes on the prize! Eventually, you need to be able to arrive at what you want or there will be very little that a recruiter can do to help you.


Research and Follow Companies that Interest You

An important part of your research will be to carefully consider the kinds of companies that you want to work for. This is not as easy as it may sound. You can start with the obvious – what companies have a good reputation? Do you have friends or family that are particularly happy with their employer? You may want to add those companies to the list.

Many companies are recognized in local (and national) publications as great places to work. Start searching for those organizations and learning about the reasons why they were nominated. Is it the training they offer their employees? A flexible schedule? Additional perks/benefits? What of these details is important to you?

In addition, there are some other basic criteria to consider:

  • Company size – Is it important to you to work for a smaller company? If so, I wouldn’t recommend adding huge corporations to your list. The reverse applies as well. You’ll have to decide how to define “large” and “small” companies. For me, a large company would be anything over 200 people.
  • Location – Where do you live? Do you like spending lots of time in your car? Or do you have a really cool bike that you’d like to be able to ride to and from work every day? Consider your commute and how that will affect your overall happiness in a new position. The folks that have had or currently have a long and stressful commute will understand why I’m bringing this up as an important consideration.

Once you’ve created a solid list of companies that you’re interested in, it’s time to follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google alerts. Many companies share their job postings on these platforms as soon as they post. You want to make sure you don’t miss an opportunity!  


Set your Job Preferences in LinkedIn

And now that you’ve done all of this great self-examination and research, it’s time to take action. Remember, a recruiter can help you, make suggestions and give you access to the positions they’re working on, but finding a job is still ultimately up to you.

LinkedIn is an excellent job search resource. Definitely take a few minutes to read my January blog post, Job Seeker Insights on LinkedIn, to learn more about all of the great features that LinkedIn has implemented to help to automate your job search and give you important information on companies, hiring patterns and candidate pools.  

As mentioned in that blog post, LinkedIn can help you to search for jobs! By setting your preferences on the Jobs page, LinkedIn will feed you available positions that line up with what you’re looking for.

Between updating your career interests and following companies that you’re interested in on LinkedIn, you will most likely receive at least one email per week with job postings to check out. How excellent is that?

These suggestions are, by no means, all of the ways that you can properly prep for a job transition. In fact, this is really the very basics. Recruiters understand, probably better than anyone else, how frustrating, confusing and scary a job search can be, but it is still important for you to know what you want to do, research the kinds of companies where you’d like to work and begin the search process in order to be prepared for those conversations.

Now go get em’! We know you’ll do great!


This post was originally published on Intero Advisory’s website in March 2016. Please note that LinkedIn is constantly changing. While it’s current now, it may not be in the coming weeks or months.

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