How to get a job faster in the future - tips from an executive recruiter
"I will prepare and someday my chance will come."
- Abraham Lincoln
The best way to deal with today’s lack of job security and thrive in any kind of job market is to always be prepared for your next job. You’ll learn tips from an executive recruiter and career coach on how to prepare more effectively as a seasoned professional, a career changer, or a young professional with little experience, so that you can land a new job faster and easier in the future than other poorly prepared job seekers when you’re looking for a better job opportunity or when you’re forced to find a new job after being laid off.
Making yourself employable whenever needed, you will increase job security and ensure financial stability for yourself.
I have been on both sides of the high tech job market for a long time, details on About Us, as an engineer in three countries, and as an executive recruiter based in the San Francisco Bay Area for tech companies in the US and China, and as a high tech career coach. I’d like to share my insights on jobs and career with you here at MichelleYouBiz.com. Keep reading to learn more and follow us for free career advice.
Worry about job security?
Dealing with the lack of job security can be very stressful. Nobody can really guarantee job security for you nowadays as an employee no matter if you’re a talented young professional or a very successful executive.
You don’t really know what will happen tomorrow with your job, and your boss may be worrying about their own job security now as much as you are. For example, your employer may successfully sell their company to a big tech company or maybe go bankrupt if the deal won't go through; you may get a promotion tomorrow or be laid off the next day due to your company restructuring.
Oftentimes, employers will give their employees a bad surprise, or even shock the stock market and cause the company’s stock nosedive overnight, their employees will lose their jobs and the value of their 401K the next day. Dealing with the lack of job security can be very stressful. If your current job is your primary or only source of income, it would impact you and your family in a very negative way if you lost your job due to unforeseen events, such as a war or pandemic as in this List of Major Company Layoffs Due to the Coronavirus.
Why prepare now?
You need to start NOW to prepare for your next job for unforeseen future. Start today to prepare for your next job while you have time, energy and financial resources to do so. Otherwise, the sense of urgency would make you mentally and financially stressed if you wait till you have to find a new job, it would be harder for you to focus and think clearly. If you rushed to apply for a job with a poorly prepared resume, it would reduce your chances of getting a job you’re really qualified for.
If you’re a student or a career changer wondering how to write a resume with little experience? You’ll also learn how to prepare yourself for your future job now, so that you can add something valuable to your resume as soon as possible.
Think you know yourself well?
Self-awareness is the first step to be better prepared for your next job. You have to really know who you are in order to make sound decisions for your next career move which will have a big impact on you and your family.
In a series of surveys, Tasha Eurich, an organizational psychologist, researcher and a bestseller author, found that 95% of people think they’re self-aware, but only 10-15% truly are. You need to know your personality type, your strengths and weaknesses, what are the most important things for you in your life, what job do you really want at the current stage of your life. If you know yourself better, you’ll be more confident, more creative, understand clearly what is the best fit job for you, you'll be able to use my simple methodology to choose between two jobs or two companies easily, perform better at any job, have stronger relationships and live a happier life.
How to set clear goals?
Self-awareness is critical for you to set clear goals for your career and your life. I have an in depth discussion on this important topic in this post - the science every professional should learn to prepare for your next career move and live a happier life. Check it out to see how I learned to know myself better, how it has helped my own career, businesses and life, and a glimpse of my interviews with hiring managers, founders and CEOs of startups as their executive recruiter to fine tune job descriptions, as well as my interviews with job candidates as an international headhunter.
Finding the right books to read and learn about yourself is an easy and affordable way to increase your self awareness in a short time. Reading some good psychology books, you can learn so much more about yourself in a few days, such as your own personality, decision making style, your love languages in any relationship. The more you know about yourself, the easier it will be for you to set up clear goals for your next career move. You'll have a better understanding about what jobs are aligned with your internal values, what kind of jobs fit you better, when to pursue a new job opportunity or how to work hard for a promotion at your current job.
When you’re ready to look for a new job later, it’ll be easier for you to know how to read a job description and find the secrets behind a JD and figure out if the job would really fit your skills and personality, and if the hiring manager would be a good boss for you. More importantly, you’ll be able to get a job faster and get paid for doing what you love to do and excel in your career.
When to get professional help?
You may need to seek professional help if your situation is more complicated and challenging. Hiring a career coach who understands the complexity of your profession, and more importantly, who can help you to see more clearly about yourself and help you prepare for your next career move.
From my own experiences of coaching seasoned and young professionals for their career change, prepare for their next jobs as well as helping them deal with critical life changing events, I found that the major reason why some very intelligent professionals were struggling with their career and life was because they didn’t really know themselves well enough, specifically, they didn’t really understand how to play into their own strengths, which job would be a better fit for them, had a difficult time to make high-stakes decisions, and didn’t really know how to effectively prepare for their next career move.
For example, a very intelligent seasoned professional was frustrated by not getting the promotion to the executive position she thought she deserved, not sure how to deal with the complicated office politics, wondering if she should wait for another promotion or change her job. After a long conversation with me, she admitted that she did not really enjoy managing people, which was a major part of the job she wanted. After a deeper conversation, she decided to pursue her career in a different way that would work better for her, and I was happy to help her along the way for her job interviews. Now, she is enjoying her new job and a substantial raise at another big company and working with the cutting edge technology she loves the most.
What to focus on?
You should focus on learning the specific skills instead of the general trending technologies to get a new job faster in the future. Many professionals have been working hard to learn new skills and keep themselves up to date with cutting edge technologies and follow the industry trends. But when they are looking for a new job, more often than not, one or more essential skills required by the job they’re applying for are still missing from their resumes. Did that happen to you before? Do you want to avoid this problem when you’re in the job market in the future?
Having been on both sides of the job market for a long time, I have figured out some easy and quick ways to find solutions for my own career and businesses by taking advantage of the public information from the job market. To prepare for your next job more effectively, you can use the same trick by following the hot jobs in your field to find out what specific skill(s) would be helpful for you to get a job faster in the future. It would be more effective than learning a little bit of every trending technology in your field.
To make it easier for you to digest and avoid making this post too long, I put the details and in-depth discussion in another post - What skills to learn to get hired at the company you want? A quick trick, steps & tips from an executive recruiter. Check it out to learn how to find out how to target to the job you want or a job at the company you desire, what specific skills you need to learn to prepare yourself better to get hired, when and how to adjust your career goals during the process, how to keep yourself on the track now so that you can get a new job faster in the future and enjoy the psychological benefits today.
LinkedIn with friends & strangers?
It takes time to build a relationship and trust, so don’t wait any longer, start today to build and expand your professional network, but be cautious when you connect with strangers on LinkedIn.
Nowadays, building a LinkedIn profile is a great stepping stone to build your professional network. First, make sure your profile looks professional with enough details before you invite people to join your network. Start to connect with people you know, from your extended family and friends, reach out to people you know on LinkedIn, such as your classmates, colleges and alumni. Focus on professionals within your own industry, connect with more people online and offline through professional groups, industrial events, relevant meetups and so on.
You may be wondering if you should connect with a complete stranger on LinkedIn? It’s a controversial subject for another long post. In short, there are pros and cons when you connect with people you don’t know on LinkedIn. I would only connect with them if their LinkedIn profile looks professional with creditable details and if you believe that it would be mutually beneficial, or with someone who shares a common background, such as alumni from the same university to expand your network. But be careful, what you see may not be true, they may be your fake alumni, such as the stories in this recent news, The latest marketing tactic on LinkedIn: AI-generated faces. More than that, there are many fake LinkedIn profiles with false identities in various forms, some of them already connected with many real people on LinkedIn.
Dealing with strangers on LinkedIn with precaution, the same way as you would when you meet someone new at a conference, keep your conversation professional, and avoid personal and financial information. If a stranger has connected with one of your friends or someone you know on LinkedIn, it doesn't mean you should trust the stranger based on this fact, because they may not know each other at all.
Don't forget, LinkedIn is a social network, people connect with others for their own reasons and purposes. Always do your due diligence before you disclose more information or develop further relationship with a stranger who just joined your network.
You'll know a stranger better by asking the right questions and pay attentions to small details. If someone’s behavior looks suspicious, trust your own guts, stop exchanging information with them. It’s the easiest way to avoid scams. I would not waste my time to develop further professional relationships with anyone when I'm not even sure if their identities are real. Better be safe than sorry, you would not eat any mushroom if you were wondering whether it is poisonous or not, even if they looked like something you ate before, right?
How to create a Master Resume?
To prepare better for your next career move, it's easier for you to create a professional resume NOW when you have time, store it in the cloud as an ongoing project and update it as needed. When you start to look for a job later, use it as your Master Resume to make a customized resume targeting the job you're applying for.
Your master resume will be a database of ALL your education, training, experiences, projects, skills, achievements, rewards, and anything else that may be relevant and helpful for you to get a new job in the future. You can make it as long as needed with as many details as possible, because this resume will never be sent to any potential employer, it’s for your own information only.
When you create your master resume, your focus should be on the contents, try your best to collect ALL the detailed information you need for your resume. Don’t worry about the format or the length or how to organize your resume. I recommend you choose the simple format as shown below. Store your master resume in the cloud as an ongoing project for yourself and for easy access from your computer, smartphone or Tablet. Update your master resume as soon as possible whenever you recall something you’ve done before that may be relevant to your future job; or when you just finish a new project, get a new skill, a certificate, or anything else that may be helpful for you to get a new job in the future. It’s easier for you to update the resume when your memory is still fresh.
When you start to look for a job, your focus will be on how to use your master resume to create a customized resume targeting the job you’re applying for, AFTER you have read and studied the job description carefully in the way I suggested. Next time, I’ll talk about the details on how to customize your resume for a job you’re applying for.
Sample resume template
The following resume template is an example only, you can use any format you want for your master resume, but keep it simple. Just remember, the purpose of your master resume is to list ALL RELEVANT information with as many details as possible that may be helpful for your next job.
========== Sample Resume Template ==========
Your Contact Information:
City, State, Zip Code
Github: (for tech people)
Portfolio: (for artists)
Your website: (if relevant to your next job)
Objective: your goal for your next job (don’t worry about your writing, it’s for your own information for now).
Month 20XX - Month 20XX
College Name, Location - Degree
List all your degrees, diplomas, certificates if relevant.
Others: Any education may be helpful for your next job.
List all your work experience in reverse chronological order, start from the most recent to the oldest one.
Month 20XX - Month 20XX
Company Name, Location - Job Title
Details: Project Details, Duties, Responsibilities, Your Achievements, etc.
Including all full time jobs, part time jobs and internships.
List of your skills and your proficiency
Other Relevant Information:
Professional Activities: Membership, Clubs, Associations, etc.
Hobbies: Listed here in case they are relevant to your future job.
Others: anything else may be helpful for you to get a new job in the future.
========== End of Sample Resume Template ==========
I’ll talk about important things to do when you’re applying for a job in the upcoming posts. I hope you have learned something valuable today to prepare for your next job more effectively, or you will be inspired to create your own strategies to get a new job faster in the future. Leave your comment below to let us know about your thoughts on this topic, and follow us for more free career advice and insights on jobs.