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“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca

There are many aspects of the job search that are beyond your control such as timing, cultural fit, and internal politics, to name a few. Being prepared is essential. When the perfect job comes along it’s up to you to be ready to seize the opportunity. So before you start searching, start preparing.

We all know that a resume and portfolio (if applicable) are essential when embarking on a job search, but also consider these 3 tips:

  1.  Reconnect

Reconnect with recruiters, supervisors and colleagues that you have worked with in the past. As a recruiter, getting a “Not sure if you remember me…but I am looking for a new opportunity” email always brightens my day. I enjoy supporting candidates throughout their career and the fact that we have a history of working together can be leveraged when presenting candidates to potential employers. Reconnecting with recruiters is also a good idea even if you are only passively looking. We can keep you in mind and keep you informed of job opportunities that meet your criteria. Don’t miss out on the perfect opportunity because you failed to reconnect with the recruiters in your network.

Take a quick inventory of your network and review where your connections are working. This can be a great starting point in your job search. It can be as easy as sending out a few emails, texts, or phone calls to let people know that you are on the job market. Include your resume and any updates to your skills, experience or career goals.

  1.  Email Signature

Create an email signature for your personal email account that includes your title, phone number, email address and LinkedIn URL. A large portion of the job search is done via email and it is not only professional, but extremely helpful to include your contact information for recruiters/hiring managers. This makes it easy on the person hiring to review your profile and respond. On that note, if you leave a voicemail inquiring about a job always follow up with an email to the contact or general HR/resume mailbox. Include your resume, portfolio and full signature.

  1.  References

References are usually “upon request”, but what if you were the one to suggest them? Following a successful interview, references can be a great way to strengthen your candidacy; “You thought I was great, here’s proof.” Whether you are working with a recruiter or directly with the hiring manager, try having your reference list ready and submit with your post-interview “thank you” email. Invite the recruiter/hiring manager to contact your references, showing you are prepared and interested in moving forward in the process.

  • Recommendation letters and LinkedIn recommendations are great to support your candidacy, but most clients will want to have a conversation with your past employer(s) and ask specific questions.
  • References should be professional contacts preferably from your most recent position(s).
  • Provide 3-5 references that include a range of contacts. For example a supervisor/manager, a peer and a vendor/client.
  • Provide the email address AND phone number for all of the contacts. Getting in touch with the references in a timely manner is important to keeping the process moving along. By providing multiple forms of contact, you are increasing your chances and helping the recruiter/hiring Manager.
  • Reach out to your references once you have submitted their information to the hiring contact, letting them know who will most likely be contacting them, where you are in the process, and to encourage their timely response.
  • Follow up with your references to let them know if you received/accepted the job offer or not.

Other resources on the subject of references: