Thinking of Changing Jobs? You Need This Checklist!

You’ve made the decision; you are ready for your next career move. Now what? There are so many things to do when changing jobs, and it can feel overwhelming. Luckily, this list has got you covered.

Job Change Checklist

  • Resume
  • Headshot
  • LinkedIn Profile
  • Professional Zoom Setting for conducting interviews
  • Your 30-Second Elevator Pitch
  • Your Network Database
  • Top 10 Companies where you’d like to work
  • Top 5 Search Firms in your field
  • Your 3 Key Points that you want the interviewer to remember about you
  • Top 20 Interview Questions most often asked

Now, let’s unpack:

The first four on the checklist: Resume, Headshot, LinkedIn Profile, and Professional Zoom Setting are table stakes to begin the job change process. I bet 99% of you already have these polished and ready to go and know the value they provide. You are most likely looking for a position at the next level, so these elements should reflect that goal. Be sure to ask yourself, at this point, is it time to make an upgrade? Maybe a more professional and current headshot, or perhaps your resume could use a tune-up? Whether you hire someone or reach out to a savvy friend, it’s always wise to have a proofreader with editing skills take a look over your resume and have someone give a second opinion on your headshot. Also, once you update your LinkedIn profile, remember to turn on the job notifications!

The next item on the checklist may be a new concept but is a significant asset as you pursue a more senior role; it’s your 30-second elevator pitch. You may be wondering why you need this, thinking, “Isn’t this just for sales jobs and startups?” But you are selling something you believe in, something with a proven value that you know will benefit others; Yourself!

Let’s imagine you’re meeting a former colleague and her friend for drinks. While sipping a Chardonnay, you mention that you are looking to change jobs. The friend says, “Tell me more; I have a few contacts…” This is your chance. Tell them briefly about yourself and what you are looking for in your next role. This is your 30-second elevator pitch. Focus on the types of responsibilities you seek and the companies that interest you rather than position titles. Your answers should roll off your tongue without even thinking about them, and that’s why the ‘drinks with a colleague’ scene I illustrated is such a helpful model when creating your perfect pitch. Plan to share your 30-seconds with everyone: college friends, gym buddies, even your parents’ friends. Particularly in these pandemic times, it’s crucial to get creative when connecting with people. One technique I love is scheduling 15-minute virtual coffee breaks with your contacts. Everyone has 15 minutes!

Speaking of contacts, have you compiled your network in a database where you can easily find names, emails, and phone numbers? Maybe it sounds “sales-y” and self-serving, but finding a fantastic job takes reaching out to your network. Once you connect, share your 30-second elevator pitch and ask for introductions to potential leads or additional contacts. Reach out to everyone on your list with either a phone call, a virtual coffee, or an email. And — so important — offer to help them, too! After all, this is why you have a network. You support each other.

Identify the Top 5 Companies in your industry where you would like to work. What growing companies have a history of developing their staff and promoting internally in your industry? Then, put a Google alert on each of these companies for job postings and press announcements. Stay on top of what is happening at each. And of course, try to connect via LinkedIn with employees at the company that works in your area of interest. Having an inside track is always the most direct way to land a job.

Identify the Top 5 Search Firms in your field. Schedule a Zoom call with the recruiter that handles your industry at each of the firms. Approach the recruiter meeting as you would an interview with one of your top 5 companies. Expect them to ask you the standard interview questions, be prepared to share your accomplishments and what you are looking for in your next role, specifically the responsibilities and compensation you want. Companies hire recruiters to help them fill open positions; they work for the client, not you. It’s helpful to keep that in mind during your interactions, plus getting interview practice is always in your favor. Recognize the power to connect you with your dream job that they have and treat them professionally.

Next on the list are the 3 Key Points that you want every interviewer to remember about you. As potential employers interview numerous candidates, it becomes a challenge for them to remember you. So, what do you do? Be memorable! Share three things that would be valuable to the company if they hired you and deliver it in a way that makes it easy for them to recall you. When I was interviewing in New York, I made sure to let the interviewer know I am a go-getter gal from Georgia. Create mnemonics, be funny, say or do (or even wear) something to stand out in their mind. I have a client who always wears red when she interviews, and it seems to work for her! It’s all about making a positive statement they won’t forget.

Lastly, become familiar with the Top 20 Most Asked Interview Questions. Google the list, print them, and know your unique, compelling answer for each one. If you have several interviews, you will be asked a version of every one of these questions at some point. Know them cold; it helps reduce your stress in preparing for your interviews. I encourage you to practice, ask a friend to do mock interviews with you or at least record yourself, then watch, review, and evaluate. Practicing is the secret to being comfortable and smooth when interviewing.

All in all, you’re worth it, and you’re working for it, which ultimately pays off. You got this!

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Kim Martin