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5 Things to Do Before You Start a Job Search

Looking for a new job is always an exciting, nerve-wracking process. Whether you are undertaking a job search by choice, or circumstances pushed you into it, there are several things you should do before you even submit that first application. Here they are:

Review Your Social Media — These days, it’s almost guaranteed that prospective employers are going to do a Google search of candidates for their open positions. Spend some time going through your profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others to make sure there is nothing in your social media footprint that will raise a red flag with the HR department. If you have a LinkedIn profile, be sure it’s up-to-date and includes accurate representations of your skills and previous work experience. Consider having a professional headshot taken for your profile photo. If that’s not in your budget, have a friend take your photo against a neutral backdrop. Save the selfies and vacation shots for your other social media accounts.  

Reconnect with Your Network — Often, it’s a tip from a friend, former colleague or family member that leads to the next rung on your career ladder. Spend some time catching up with your sphere of influence and let them know you are about to start a job search. Ask them to keep their eyes and ears open and pass along any potential job opportunities they hear about.

Plan a Spending Freeze — Whether or not you’re employed during your job search, it’s not the time to be careless with your finances. In fact, it’s the perfect time to tighten your belt and cut out all unnecessary spending. You never know how long the search is going to take, and once you do find a new position, it will be at least two weeks — often longer — before you receive your first paycheck.

Investigate Insurance Options — Many employers enforce a waiting period of 30, 60 or even 90 days before full insurance benefits kick in. Although it may seem like a short period of time, one illness, accident or injury could create a serious financial hardship if you don’t have insurance. Look into your options for maintaining healthcare coverage during that time, which may include COBRA or a short-term major medical plan (many are surprisingly affordable).

Adopt a Flexible Attitude — The job market is constantly fluctuating, which makes it impossible to predict how long it will take to find your next position. You might have to be flexible and take a position that isn’t your dream job so you can keep paying the bills. Or, consider taking on a few part-time jobs or freelance gigs, which will allow you to bring in some cash and still have the freedom to continue your search. The key is to remain flexible and open to possibility, while maintaining a positive attitude.