The New Year is upon us, and in honor of new beginnings, we’ve outlined a week by week plan, a two-part schedule that will help you complete your resume, launch your job search, and hopefully land the job of your dreams by the spring.
December, Weeks 1 & 2
If you aren’t ready to share you unemployment with the world yet, that’s okay. For now, complete your emotional adjustment on your own schedule, and start laying the groundwork for your next move. First, make a list of the people you’ll contact when you’re ready to ask for recommendations and references. When the time comes, you’ll be sending these people emails, calls, or written cards to wish them a happy season and request a reconnect. When you reconnect (in real life or digitally), you can ask them for their support and advice.
Take a few hours or a few days during this time to do some soul searching regarding your next move. What did you love about your last position? Everything? In that case, maybe you’ll be looking for a new one exactly like it. But if you liked some things and disliked others, or your last job wasn’t exactly your dream position, take a moment to think, plan, and reset your career trajectory.
December, Weeks 3 & 4
It’s time to start working on your resume. Create a basic template that you can adjust and customize for each job you choose to pursue. Start by drafting subheadings for your summary, education, relevant experience, and special skills.
Meanwhile, navigate the bustle of the holidays. Try not to spend too much, and focus a high level of energy on meeting with friends and family (in person) and enjoying their company. Focus on what matters, and don’t let yourself become isolated.
January, Weeks 1 & 2
Your job search officially begins at this point. From now moving forward, set clear actionable goals at the beginning of each week, and set long-term goals for each month. Start looking for job postings using online job boards, and start actively reaching out (via phone or email) to everyone on your contacts list who might be able to help you. You can publish general requests for leads on Facebook if you like, but the more personal your messages, they more likely they are to be read and answered.
Cover Letters & the Application Process
As you find suitable jobs and get ready to apply, you’ll need a cover letter. Each letter you send should be a customized, slightly altered version of the same basic template. For formatting tools, samples and template guidelines, visit LiveCareer and use the site’s Resume Builder and Cover Letter Builder. Tune in soon for a plan covering the rest of January through mid-February.