Ultimate job search checklist: How to find your dream job

Ultimate job search checklist: How to find your dream job

Finding a job and trying to create a strong resume can feel overwhelming, and it can cause a lot of stress. There’s definitely truth in the saying, “Finding a new job is a job in itself.” This guide has helpful tips and advice to help you craft your ultimate job search checklist and stay on top of your app

Let’s not pretend like it’s not hard. Job hunting can drastically affect your mood and it can be hard to pick yourself up again when you’ve been rejected from a role you really wanted. 

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to job hunting but we genuinely believe that if you use some of the resources in our handy guide below, it can help to make sure that you’re prepared, positive and feeling confident to approach a prospective employer.

The best way to search for a job in 2023:

  1. Create a folder with all of your job-hunting materials
  2. Make sure you have an up-to-date CV
  3. Update your LinkedIn profile and create one if you don’t have one
  4. Create templates for cover letters
  5. Create a list of skill sets needed for the jobs you’re applying for
  6. Perform a social media background check on yourself
  7. Make sure that your online and offline portfolio is current
  8. Create a FAQ guide of the most common interview questions 
  9. Bullet point your interview answers and keep them to hand
  10. Create an Excel sheet of the jobs you’ve applied for with contact details
  11. Set up job alerts on job boards, LinkedIn, Google (and wherever you can!)
  12. Create a template for email follow-ups (after applications)

1. Create a folder with all of your job-hunting materials

Before you start crafting your ultimate job search toolkit, decide where to save it! It’ll make it much easier when you’re trying to organise your job search.

Start of by creating an easy to locate folder which contains your CV, cover letter template (more on this below!) and all of the other essentials you’ll need.

Save your cover letters there too, so you have copies for reference and so you can recycle your hard work where possible for other applications.

If you’re filling out applications online (those long forms!), be sure to also save a copy of the form entry in a document (just in case!), and when it’s finally in, that document in this folder, to save yourself the hassle of continuously having to create new content from scratch.

2. Make sure you have an up-to-date CV

One of the main things that you’ll need when you’re creating a job hunt checklist is a CV, also known as a resume.

Even if you’re not looking for a job it is important to always have an up-to-date CV to hand. 

If you don’t have a formatted CV, but you do have a LinkedIn Profile, you can download what you’ve published (Personal Summary and experience) and edit from there. 

Whether you’re writing a CV for the first time, or updating one that’s tried and tested, we have lots more advice about length, what to include and what formats to try in our ultimate guide to writing a CV in 2023.

Make sure that you always update your CV with relevant information about your current position, skills, achievements, and experience.

Do you have a career gap on your resume?  Here’s a great way to tell your story during the application and interview process.

3. Update your LinkedIn profile (create one if you don’t have one)

The Digital age means that when looking for a job, if you have an online presence (and we recommend that you do), it’s important to remember to keep this information up to date. 

Again, whether actively looking for a job or not, you never know when your dream opportunity may arise. Plus no one likes to scramble to update their profiles and details at the last minute. 

If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile – consider making one. If you have one – go and check if it is up to date.

This includes your profile, latest job, skills, etc. Also, it helps to reach out to your network for ‘Recommendations’ when you are updating your profile. 

Want to make your LinkedIn profile stand out? Read our handy guide featuring 9 top tips on how to get your LinkedIn profile noticed

4. Create templates for cover letters

Some jobs ask you to add a cover letter and others don’t. Despite this, whenever you can include a cover letter with your application. 

We recommend creating a cover letter template for every type of role for which you are applying.

If you’re applying for similar types of roles across the board then you can create one template. This will make it much easier when applying for roles because you’ll already have one to hand.

5. Create a list of skill sets and achievements needed for the jobs you’re applying for

If you’re applying for the same types of roles, this should be easier. Each job description should have keywords that you can pick out.

Group these keywords as you research roles, and save them into a document in your job search folder. That way, when you’re filling out applications, updating your LinkedIn profile or CV, or writing your cover letter you’ll have the keywords which will help make you stand out from the crowd. 

Don’t just list your responsibilities. Make sure that you shout about your achievements and when you can include your targets, the outcome and use numbers and percentages!

6. Perform a social media background check on yourself 

If you’ve got a great CV and cover letter, but you aren’t getting any call-backs,  have you checked if it could be your online presence affecting your success? Google your name and have a quick look. 

More and more hiring managers are not only finding their next employees on social media, but they’re also using this channel to perform background checks on candidates. Ensuring that your social media represents you well has become imperative in 2023 and beyond. 

Log in to social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn – wherever you are) and do a quick social clean up. You can also make your profile private and restrict access, to protect your personal life from prying eyes.

Just remember, private accounts aren’t foolproof, and if there’s something you’re worried your employer or potential employer will see on your socials, the safest thing is to delete the post! Once it’s live, it can be screenshotted or shared.

7. Make sure that your online and offline portfolio is current

If you work in the creative industry, it is important to make sure that your portfolio is up to date (whether it is online or offline). 

We have lots of advice to help you create or update your online portfolio – try these 10 tips based on our knowledge of what clients are looking for!

Make sure you give your portfolio a tidy up and add new work once you have it to add to your job hunt checklist. 

8. Create a FAQ guide of the most common interview questions and responses

Sometimes applying for a job online can get repetitive. You have to answer the same sort of questions over and over again.

By creating your own personal frequently asked question guide (FAQ) with common application questions and responses, it can make a world of difference to your confidence during an interview, and help you represent your best self.

It’s useful to do this for remote interviews as well when meeting with prospective employers in person – as you can have your notes open on the screen while you’re interviewing!

Here are some examples of questions they could ask you:

  • Tell me how you handled a difficult situation?
  • How do you handle pressure at work?
  • Have you ever made a mistake? How did you handle it?
  • Give me an example of a goal you reached and how you did it?
  • Give an example of how you worked on a team.
  • Share an example of how you were able to motivate employees or co-workers.

9. Bullet point your interview answers and keep them to hand

Even though you may not have been invited for an interview yet, it’s important to make sure that you’re well prepared and thinking of your answers ahead of time can really help!

If you’re being interviewed virtually, you can even have these bullets on your screen or on a piece of paper to help you formulate your answers when asked with lots of detail and examples!

One interview technique we’d really recommend is the S-T-A-R method, which is a way of communicating your full approach to a challenge or project:

  • Situation: Explain the project or challenge and really set the scene for your interviewers.
  • Task: Describe what your responsibility was in that situation, showcasing your role and your ability to assess it in changing circumstances.
  • Action: Explain exactly what steps you took to address it, and why! This demonstrates your work approach and how you would take action in your new role.
  • Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved. It’s OK if it didn’t work out how you expected! What’s really valuable is your ability to reflect and learn from your experience.

10. Create an Excel sheet of the jobs you’ve applied for, including contact details 

This is one of the most important things that you can do is to keep organised while you’re job searching. 

Keep a spreadsheet of the jobs you have applied for, including where you applied, the date of your application, job title, salary, location, contact details and you can even include notes with the reasons for applying, skill sets needed – whatever works best for you.

This is useful to track your applications and is extremely handy when you start to get call-backs. If you’re applying for a lot of jobs it can be hard to remember them all so this will be your saving grace.

11. Set up job alerts on job boards, LinkedIn, Google and via company websites (and wherever you can!) 

Set up job alerts on job boards, LinkedIn, company websites, Google alerts and anywhere that might be advertising roles you’re interested in. That way, you’ll get email alerts to notify you when relevant opportunities are available and all you need to do is apply! 

12. Create a template for email follow-ups (after applications) 

Make sure that you have a brief template ready for your email follow-ups. It is best practice to follow up with hiring managers after applying. 

Looking for more handy tips to add to your job search checklist template? 

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