- Evaluate your current situation. Are you unemployeed? What are your skills? What do you most want to do? What will you settle for? If you currently have a job, what about it do you hate? What do you love? What are you looking for?
- Take a look at what's out there. Chances are, a lot has changed since your last job search. What do other people earn for doing similar work? What new companies are out there, and what older ones have left the playing field? If you can, talk to people who are already doing your dream job, so you can get an inside look at what it's really like.
- Network, network, network. You're already at Work It, Mom!, so you're on the right track. But you need to do more. Update your LinkedIn profile, add to your contacts, and reconnect with people in and out of your field. Now, more than ever, who you know is just as important as what you know.
- Revamp your resume. Don't just update it with information about your current (or most recent) job; tailor your resume to fit the new job for which you are applying. How? Here are five tips from Work It, Mom! for revamping your resume.
- Craft your elevator speech. You have 30 seconds to tell a complete stranger what you can do. What do you say? A compelling elevator speech isn't something that comes naturally; it's something you work on, practice, and put to good use when the opportunity presents itself. Here's a great Work It, mom! article on how to do it.
- Learn from other people's mistakes. WomenCo offers up a great list of nine interview mistakes -- and how to avoid them. Some of the worst offenders: acting cocky, yawning, dressing inappropriately, and asking about money before you've been offered the job. The site also has a great article with the 15 toughest interview questions and how to answer them well -- check it out.
- Be prepared. You're online right now -- put the internet to good use. Before your interview, find out everything you can, not only about the company, but about the person who will be interviewing you. Remember: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google are at your disposal.
- Interview your interviewer. You don't have to be the only one answering questions during a job interview. Use the chance to glean as much information as you can about the job, of course, but also about what they're looking for in a candidate. Then put that information to use in your cover letter, proposals, resume, and conversation. Don't know what to ask? Here are 10 questions to get your started.
- Stay positive, and don't take rejection personally. No matter how good you are at what you do, or how long you have been doing it, you are not your job. A rejection isn't a personal attack. Salvage the moment and search for the positive by asking for feedback: What do you need to work on in order to be considered a good candidate in the future?
- Don't burn bridges. A thank you note is in order, even if you didn't get the job. Why? Because if you establish a good rapport with the interviewer, then you may have created a valuable networking contact. Keep the lines of communication open, and keep yourself on their radar, by thanking them for the time they invested in you during their search. If their hire doesn't work out, they may come knocking on your door. Or, more likely, if you keep things positive, they may pass your resume along to someone else -- who may hire you.
Looking for a new job can be stressful. When the economy is sluggish, the stakes are higher, and the pressure is even more intense. Each person's situation is different, but the basic rules of the job hunt are still the same, whether you're out of work, looking to return to the workforce, or trying to change your career. Here are some tips to help you get started, as well as manage the stress.