Looking for A New Job?
Here’s a Checklist

Looking for a new job can be a stressful, even painful process.

In fact, you might even feel that it’s like a full-time job in itself. You need to trawl through websites for vacancies, write your resumes, send in applications, talk to people, and wait for companies to call you back—if they do.

It is also a process filled with anticipation, worries, and often, disappointment when job offers don’t come through. It’s even harder if you’re introverted or shy, because meeting people, networking, and “marketing” yourself is a difficult thing to do.

If the process of looking for a job feels overwhelming, take a look at the checklist below: perhaps it will help you focus your thoughts, plan your actions, and stay organised even when you’re feeling confused by the challenge facing you.

Amid the uncertainty, however, there is one certain truth you can keep in mind, and it is this:

nothing in all the universe can separate you from the love of God.

When we are going through seasons of trial, it’s natural to wonder,

Amid the uncertainty, however, there is one certain truth you can keep in mind, and it is this:

nothing in all the universe can separate you from the love of God.

When we are going through seasons of trial, it’s natural to wonder,

Romans 8:38–39, however, reminds us that God’s love for us is unshakable:

Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Your Checklist

  • Know Yourself

Before you even begin searching for a job, writing a resume, or sending in an application, it’s useful and important to reflect on who and what you are. This means being honest with yourself as you take stock of your own personality, character, preferences, needs, desires, and abilities.

As you will soon be “marketing” yourself to prospective employers, knowing yourself well—or, as well as you can—will help you figure out what kind of job to look for, what you will need and expect from it, what employers should or should not expect from you, and what options you have or do not have.

If possible, try to test your thinking and perceptions of yourself by discussing it with people you trust. It could be a loved one, a close friend, or a former colleague or employer who knows you well. You may also have done job or personality assessments before.

These are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • How do I cope with changes?
  • Do I tend to be positive or negative about things in general?
  • When things go wrong, how able am I to get back up? How resilient am I?
  • What are my priorities in life? What are the most important values to me?
  • What motivates me most? Is it money, significance, success, or happiness?
  • Am I a leader or a follower? Do I like initiating activities, or am I better at carrying them out?
  • Am I an extrovert or an introvert? Do I like meeting and working with people, or do I prefer to be on my own? What type of work culture would fit me best?
  • What value can I bring to a workplace?
  • What am I good at? What excites me? What would give me satisfaction at work?
  • What industry would I want to work in? What industry would I not want to explore?
  • Do I want to work in a profit-driven company, or a non-profit organisation?

  • Know the Market

Before applying for specific jobs, it is important and useful to understand the market. Which industries and organisations are doing well and growing? Which are struggling to survive? What are the current trends? What kind of people are they looking for?

Reading industry reports, watching the news, talking to people, and checking company websites can help you figure out who is hiring and what jobs are available out there. If you’re thinking of moving into a different industry, for example, you need to know which companies are hiring, what kinds of skills they require, whether you can contribute, and what additional training you might need.

You’ll probably start by hunting for vacancies through job-search websites. Keep in mind, however, that there are many vacancies that are not listed in these advertisements.

Expanding your search options

will help you gain access to what some call the “hidden job market”—jobs that are known only to people in the industry, and not advertised publicly. Networking and talking to people will help you uncover those vacancies.

  • Start Networking

Building and nurturing a network of solid relationships is an enrichment to our lives. It’s a protection against the isolation that can lead to even deeper personal struggles.

It’s also important to build a business or professional network. Just as personal relationships can encourage you through challenges, business contacts can help you build bridges to possible new opportunities. Knowing and meeting people can give you better insights into an industry you want to join, put you in touch with prospective employers, or link you up with others who can help you gain in foothold.

You may think that you don’t have a network, but you do. It could be fellow believers in church, neighbours, old schoolmates, former colleagues, fellow members of a professional group, or even friends on your social media account. These are all networks.

Meeting these people, some experts say, is one of the most important things you can do when you are looking for a job. Some studies suggest that most jobs—as much as two-thirds—are landed through networking.

So sit down and make a list of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, and think about how you might connect with them. Networking doesn’t mean asking someone for a job. Instead, it means asking questions about local industries, what is taking place in the community, what are the current trends, and what people like about their job and place of employment.

For example, if you know someone at your church who works in healthcare and you’re interested in exploring that industry, ask if you can meet for a chat.

Such conversations can provide much-needed information—but there could be more. Remember, you are only one person away from a job. When you talk with someone, you aren’t asking for a job, but you can make a positive impression. Once that person hears and understands what you are looking for and sees your value, anything can happen. In fact, that is how most of the good jobs are uncovered.

  • Update Your Resume

Another key step in the job search is updating your resume. This is an important and tangible part of the process, as it gives you a sense of accomplishment and control at a time when you feel you have little control.

Some people think that a resume is simply a list of what you’ve done and where you’ve worked. But that’s not the essence of a good resume. While it’s true that a resume talks about what you’ve done, it should also include your potential value to an organisation. It tells your next employer what he wants to know—which is, what value will you bring to the job.

A resume is therefore an accurate and attractive “snapshot” of where you are at this moment in your life. If you have done a good job of self-assessment, you will be better prepared to identify your strengths, benefits, and unique skills that you can bring to an organisation.

A resume shows a prospective employer how you will be of value to him, and what contributions you can bring to him.

So, for example, instead of saying that you worked at XYZ corporation and did such-and-such, you should also say that while working at XYZ, you did something like start a certain process that resulted in X amount of sales or savings for the company. This shows your value as an employee, not just a list of things you did.

  • Prepare for Interviews

As you wait for prospective employers to call you for interviews, make sure that you do enough research to really understand the job you are applying for. That knowledge alone will enable you to talk about how you could add value to that organisation.

In this case, you are the product. To sell a product, you have to know the product inside and out, put together a marketing plan, and then bring that product—yourself—to market and close the deal.

Consider these two key questions:
– What features and benefits does this product have?
– What makes this product different from all the other products out there?

To answer the first question, you would have to know every detail about the product. To address the second one, you will also need to know what buyers are looking for, what they value most, and what they are willing to pay for.

  • Take Care of Yourself

Because of the rigorous demands of going through a job search, you need to take care of yourself, too.

So take time to care for your emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. Not only is physical exercise vital in helping you cope with the stress of looking for a job, keeping fit and looking your best can help you give a good first impression to potential employers. Use this time to begin to define a new you.

Remember, too, that a job search is a long process. So be prepared for the long haul.

With any process, there is a series of steps. If you try to skip a few or jump into the middle, you will soon find yourself stuck. Eventually, you’ll have to go back to the beginning and start over. Preparation, patience, and planning are important.

And, above all, remember that your relationship with the Creator is your most significant resource.

Nothing can supply hope and confidence during this time of distress more than knowing that your life, and the lives of your family, are in the hands of a God who never sleeps or slumbers.

As you walk through this experience, knowing that you are walking with Him is more than just a nice feeling. Your relationship with the God who cares is the most significant thing about you.

Excerpted and adapted from Now What? The Healing Journey Through Job Loss © Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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