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  • Writer's pictureMatt Chung

Out of a Job? Do These 3 Things Now to Secure Your Next Dream Job!

Updated: Nov 6, 2023



Losing a job can be a challenging and uncertain event, but it could also be an opportunity for growth, and finding a career path that truly aligns with your goals. In this article, I’m going to share with you 3 essential & practical steps you should take right away if you are out of a job as you get ready to find your next career destination.

  1. Be clear about what you’re looking for (Job Search Goals)

Contrary to popular belief, one of the first things you need to do after losing a job is to resist the temptation of applying to every job in every industry. This is one of the most common mistakes that leads to mediocre results or causes you to take a step back in your career because your effort will be all over the place.

If you want to give yourself the best chances of landing an opportunity that are in line with your goals and that you can be truly happy with, there are strategic job search preparations you need to make such as crafting a targeted resume, researching the employer’s greatest needs, and developing your stories and responses for interviews. Just think about it. You putting in the necessary effort to be ready vs. just showing up and winging it, which approach do you think will get you the kind of results you’re looking for? The problem with going after every job out of desperation is that there is no way you can invest sufficient energy and effort to be truly ready if you’re not focused.

And even if you do stumble upon a new job this way, chances are, you will not be happy in the long run or perform well because it will probably not align with your passion or expertise.

Instead, what you need to do is to get super clear about what you want first. By taking the time to define what is most important to you and developing your job search goals, you significantly increase the likelihood of finding a position that truly matches your needs and aspirations.

And job search goals are unique to everyone. For some, achieving work-life balance and having the ability to spend quality time with family may be the highest priority. Others may prioritize a highly meritocratic environment and building their career as quickly as possible regardless of the workload.

Consider the industry you want to target and the reasons behind your choice. Is it driven by financial compensation, your passion for a particular field, opportunity for personal growth or other factors? Whatever the reason may be, it's essential you are clear and certain about it.

Similarly, think about the types of roles you want to pursue and the underlying motivations.

When you gain clarity about your priorities and goals, it enables you to channel your effort and energy on what you truly want. You can dive deeper into understanding the relevant industries, companies, and job requirements. You can tailor your resume and LinkedIn profile to highlight your skills and experiences accordingly. Additionally, because you’re not going after everything, you can invest the time and energy required to sufficiently prepare for each interview, positioning yourself as the ideal candidate, and leaving a lasting impression to the potential employer.

Again, by being clear about what you want and setting your job search goals, you are more likely to find opportunities that you actually like and you will be that much better positioned to find your dream offer.

  1. Power up your Linkedin profile

Did you know that LinkedIn has over 774 million registered users worldwide and 60 million companies listed as or 2021? Not only that, the vast majority of recruiters consider LinkedIn to be their main platform to find and vet job candidates. Not only is LinkedIn a platform you can't afford to ignore, but it’s a tool you need to master and make the most of for your job search.

Here is a brief list of the most useful upgrades you can make on your LinkedIn profile.

  1. Professional Profile Picture:

You must have a picture. It is the first impression you make on potential employers, connections, and recruiters. Choose a high-resolution, professional-looking photo that shows your face clearly. You also want to smile a bit as that will make you come across as more pleasant and approachable. It’s a well-known fact that profiles with an appropriate & inviting photo receive significantly more views and engagement.

  1. LinkedIn Banner:

The banner is the large image at the top of your profile. It’s a great space to make a visual impact and capture people’s attention. You can showcase your personal brand, expertise or industry focus here. As long as it’s somehow relevant to you and is attractive, it’s a good start.

I found this great article about Linkedin banner ideas recently (https://zapier.com/blog/linkedin-banner-ideas/). Some of the suggested ideas include your city skyline, landmark, an inspirational quote, personal branding, images related to your products, a picture of you giving a presentation or speech, etc.

  1. Headline:

Your headline is a one-liner that comes right below your name and is a prime location to grab immediate attention. The key is to write a concise yet compelling and unique intro. Start with your title followed by a clear description of the VALUE you provide – basically how you can HELP the potential employer.

Here are a few samples:

  1. Online Marketing Analyst | Curating specific, tailored content for target audiences | Engagement growth by 80%+

  2. Director of Sales | Developing data-driven Asia Sales Strategy for Global Luxury Brands

  3. Agile Evangelist / Transformation Leader | I help multinational companies become agile-ready with minimal pain and delay

Another really helpful tip is to include relevant keywords. The best way to do this is choosing 5 or more JDs of the type of roles you’re targeting. And then identifying the common keywords and incorporating them in your headline. The reason why your profile picture and headline is so crucial is that these along with your name is what show up when employers and recruiters search for talents. This is the information based on which potential hiring managers will decide whether to click on your profile or not. So you want to make sure that you have it down.

  1. Personalized URL:

Customize your LinkedIn profile URL to make it easier for others to find you. A personalized URL with your name makes your profile more professional and memorable. It also enhances your visibility in search engine results, improving your chances of being discovered by recruiters and hiring managers.

  1. "Open to Work" Status:

LinkedIn offers an "Open to Work" feature that signals your job search status to recruiters. By turning on this status, you increase your visibility and show recruiters that you're actively seeking new opportunities. It's a simple yet effective way to attract relevant job offers and connections.

  1. Tell EVERYONE!

Are you aware that referral is the most effective source of finding a job? According to most research, candidates introduced through network make up 30-40% of all successful hires in most companies. Not only does it make up the biggest percentage, referred candidates have a greater likelihood of being hired compared to non-referred candidates because they are seen as more reliable and better cultural fits even when the referrer isn’t directly familiar with the applicant.

Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to reach out to your family, relatives, friends, ex-colleagues, and leverage their network and connections.

But you may ask – how helpful would it be really be though? What are the chances of me being able to find a useful enough introduction through my small group of contacts? Well, maybe not directly but when you just go 2 degrees removed (which is your 3rd degree of connections), basically your friends’ friends, you can reach a much, much larger audience. For example, let’s say you contact 20 people in your direct network who, in turn, contact 10 people each who then reach out to 5 people each. That’s already 1,000 people who can be potential hiring managers, directors, HR managers, etc.

If you’ve tried this method before but haven’t had much success, the secret to a result producing referral is to be specific in what you ask. If all you say to your friends is, “Hey I’m out of a job, please keep an eye out for me.” you’re not going to get any meaningful response because they wouldn’t know what you want and therefore who to ask. If you’re not clear about what you’re looking for, how would other people be able to help you?

But if you can tell them the exact type of roles you’re interested in and/or the specific industry (or better yet, maybe the top 5 companies you’re targeting for example), it’s much easier for your contacts (and their network) to, first of all, determine if they have connections who can help, and if they do, whom they should contact. The more specific you can be, the more effective it will be.

And as you can probably figure out, this is another reason why it’s so crucial to have clear job search goals. By having thought through and determined your priorities beforehand, you can be precise in your ask and make it easier for your connections to provide tangible assistance.

One final note, make sure to express gratitude for their time and assistance even if their referrals do not work out in the end. Remember that the real value of networking comes from building long-term relationships.

Bonus Tip: Learn to Job Search Strategically

Not every resume is the same. There are correct vs wrong ways to write your profile as well as practical tips to make it stand out and capture readers’ attention immediately.

Do you know how effective your professional summary is for example? Whether hiring managers are even reading it? How about interview skills? How do you handle tough or tricky questions? Are you ready to tackle open-ended, situational questions?

Are you aware of what strategic questions you should ask at the end of the interview?

If you want to have consistent results and take control of your job search (as well as offers that you’re truly happy with), you cannot just show up and say whatever comes to your mind on the spot.

Most top job seekers take a more strategic and intentional approach including detailed research to find out exactly what the employer is looking for, drafting a tailored, targeted resume, detailed interview preparation, aligning your experience to the hiring manager’s greatest needs and presenting yourself as the ideal fit.

Sure it may take more time and effort but when you’re out of work, job search is your new full time job. And there is a world of difference between targeted job search versus an aimless approach in terms of results and your chances of landing a job that you’ll truly be happy with. The question is: Is your career worth it?

Thanks for reading!

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