Dear Matt: I have a job, but always wonder what would happen if I was let go from my current company. What steps can I take now to prepare myself in case I do need to become active in the job search?
Matt says: If you were let go, would you be ready to start a search for a new job? For most people the answer is simple -- it's "no". Here are 10 steps that can help you prepare for a job search:
1. Update your résumé. Document your achievements and successes at your current job. Jot down any key accomplishments, awards, projects completed, technical skills/programs, sales figures and more.
2. Call a career coach. Career coaches help you find your passion, set goals, provide a job search strategy, give you confidence and motivate. Many offer free initial 15- to 30-minute consultations. I recommend Catherine Byers Breet (arbez.com; 612-508-2017), Karen Kodzik (cultivatingcareers.com; 651-387-2676) and Joan Runnheim Olson (pathwayscareer.com; 715-808-0344).
3. Complete a mock interview. If you haven't been in the job search, you haven't interviewed. Don't overlook this important step. Ask a friend to help. I also recommend contacting local career coach and mock interview specialist Cindy Edwards (tofindyourfit.com; 612-325-1216).
4. Complete a skills, achievements and experience audit. Look at the experience and skills required in your field. Is your background a match? If there are gaps, can you take a class or take on new projects in your current role to fill in the missing pieces?
5. Get out of your comfort zone. Attend a networking event. Go to a job club meeting. Set up some informational interviews. Contact old colleagues or mentors and go to lunch. Read a career/business book.
6. Check your online presence. Search for your name on Google, Bing or Yahoo. Would employers be comfortable with what they find?
7. Update your LinkedIn profile. See above. This is the best way to develop a professional online presence.
8. Contact a recruiter. You don't have to be in a job search to develop a relationship with a recruiter. Recruiters like to get to know you in case there is an opening that is a match with their client and your skills.
9. Search for jobs. Go to places like startribune.com/jobs. Check the websites of companies you think about working for. Search indeed.com or simplyhired.org. What's the market like? Know what's out there -- and what isn't out there.
10. Work harder. Be thankful if you have a job and never take it for granted.