After almost a year at my first "big girl" job (full-time, benefits, and all that jazz) I'm back on the job market. Yesterday I found out that my position is being eliminated. I do have about a month of employment left, but it will be a whirlwind of a month trying to land another job that fits my skills, passions, and desire to stay in the area. It's a bummer going back to square one, but on the bright side it makes for some great blog post fuel.
As I prepare for job boards, applications, networking, and (hopefully) interviews, I like to be as organized as possible – in the loveliest way. So while you definitely need things like motivation, enthusiasm, and confidence during the application and interview process... I've rounded up my ten essentials that keep me organized, sane, and excited. (Pretty patterns and colors make everything a little better, right?)
1. A Practical Planner
A simple but chic scheduler can be a girl's best friend when it comes to keeping it together while trying to get hired. Google calendar is handy, but penciling in an interview, follow-up meeting, or other important date feels so much more satisfying.
2. Thank You Notes
Never underestimate the power of a handwritten note. Stock up on a nice set of thank you cards before your interview so that you'll already have them on hand. All you'll have to do is compose a short and sweet thank you to your interviewer and get it in the mail the following day.
3. A Neat Little Notebook
Just as your interviewer is probably jotting down notes during the interview, so you should be, too! Forget the bulky padfolio. Skip the spiral notebook. Invest in a classy little notebook reserved just for your interviews. Keep track of important notes about the job as well as questions you have for the interviewer.
4. The Perfect Pen
Pick out a pen you love and carry it with you to every interview. That way you'll never have to ask to borrow a pen or risk having an old pen run out of ink. It's a tiny little detail, but it's one less thing to worry about later and one more way to be completely prepared.
5. A Revamped Resume
Whether you've been at one job for a long time or are just entering the job market, your resume needs a revamp. Simplify the content and spotlight your strengths. Tweak your resume depending on the job you're applying for. Check, double check, and triple check for spelling and grammar errors. And if you can, get it printed on high quality paper.
6. A Timeless Timepiece
While it's natural to check your phone for the time nowadays, that isn't always a practical practice when you're at an interview. Before and during the interview, your phone should be off. Even though you might just be checking the time, it could look like you're texting or surfing the web. Or worse, it could distract you from the task at hand. Phone off. Watch on. Plus, a cute but classy watch can pull together an interview outfit in a way that jewelry simply cannot.
7. Fun and Functional Folders
Organization is key during the job hunt – especially when you're applying for multiple positions. I like to have a paper trail of what I've applied for, what I've heard back, and what I have coming up. I print out job descriptions and tuck them into a "Applied For" folder. From there, they could go to an "Interview Scheduled" file or "Follow Up" file or even a "Sorry, This Position Has Been Filled But Check Back In The Future" file. If you like lots of folders or aren't applying for many jobs, you could create a folder for every position. Do what works best for you and keeps your organized.
8. Brilliant Business Cards
There's something about handing someone a business card that feels so professional – and we can all use that extra boost of confidence. Whether you design them yourself or pay a designer, get some business cards made. You don't need hundreds, but a handful can go a long way when your interview ends up being with multiple people or you get invited to a networking event.
9. A Convenient Card Holder
Once you get your business cards printed, you need a nifty little holder to store them in and keep them nice and fresh. (You don't want to be handing out any business cards with sad, worn corners!) Plus, you'll have an ideal place to tuck away business cards from others so that they don't get lost in the abyss that is your purse.
10. A Winning Web Presence
Last but certainly not least, do a clean sweep of your web presence. Tidy up your social media profiles. Update security settings. Freshen up your blog. And make sure your website, online portfolio, and/or LinkedIn profile is in tip-top condition. Your web presence is likely to be your first impression – yes, even before you step foot in the interview room.
What is your #1 must-have for job searching?
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