10 Steps to Begin Your Job Search

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Before you start applying to jobs, follow these steps to ensure a smooth job search. The hiring market moves very quickly, so you want to make sure everything is taken care of beforehand to expedite the application process. By making yourself an easy candidate to work with, you are maximizing your chances of being put forward to jobs by a Recruiter and/or internal Hiring Manager.

Ready to kick off your job search? Follow this check-list of 10 critical steps for success:

1. Update your resume to reflect your most recent work experience.

Check out this article for a few helpful tips, and this one if you’re a CPA.

2. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is optimized for job search success. 

Follow these steps make sure your LinkedIn profile is formatted for the best possible job search outcome. 

3. Reach out to a qualified recruiter who specializes in your field.

Once you make contact with an experienced recruiter in your field, book a meeting with them. Recruiters are always free for candidates, and they can be a highly valuable addition to your job search:

  • Recruiters have access to jobs that aren’t posted publicly
  • Recruiters submit your profile directly to hiring managers and expedite you to the top of the list
  • Recruiters will review your resume and make recommendations based on the roles you are applying for
  • Recruiters will help you prepare for interviews, review answers and strategies for success
  • Recruiters can provide career coaching and guidance
  • Recruiters have valuable market intel regarding compensation, company reputations, industry outlooks, etc.

4. Review your current contract for key dates and stipulations.

  • Notice period – the average is two weeks, however, it can be longer depending on the seniority of the role.
  • Non-compete clause – If you are unsure of the ramifications, it is best to consult an employment lawyer. This is also very important to inform your recruiter about.
  • Reimbursement – CPA students may have to return student/exam fees if they leave a role before obtaining their designation. In many cases, employers are offering to cover these fees as part of a new hire’s compensation package.

5. Identify three non-family references.

Having your references ready to go will help speed up the critical last stages of the hiring process.

  • Ideally, a reference should be someone you have reported into in the past
  • Always get permission to use someone as a reference before providing their contact information.
  • Let your references know when they should be expecting a call from a hiring manager.

6. Google yourself 

The rise of social media has added a new level of scrutiny to our lives, including our professional lives. For job seekers, social media can turn into a minefield during the job search, so be careful to hide or eliminate questionable posts or, better yet, set your social media accounts to private. 

7. Make sure your credit/background check and designation status are in good standing.

Let your recruiter and/or the hiring manager know if there might be any issues.

8. Know your non-negotiables – these are just as important as your priorities.

For example, “I won’t accept any job under $80,000” or “I am open to any opportunity that has a 30-minute commute.” Some factors to consider:

  • Compensation (base + bonus + non-financial)
  • Work/life balance
  • Title
  • Job description and responsibilities (these can vary greatly from role to role, even if the title is the same)
  • Progression opportunities
  • Location / commute time
  • Learning opportunities and mentorship

9. Know your limits with your current employer.

Consider whether or not you might stay in your current role if you were to receive a sizable counter-offer, new perks and benefits, the opportunity to work remotely, or more PTO. Know what would need to change in your current role for you to stay at the company. 

10. Think about the impact of changing jobs before accepting any offers.

Consider your family dynamics, finances, commute times, etc. Only make the move if it feels right – be wary of any recruiters that push you into roles that might not be the best fit for you.

With this checklist complete, you’re ready to embark on your job search. 

Are you a job seeker looking for your next great opportunity? Reach out to the hiring experts at Vaco to get started 


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