You're probably heard too many times to count that "in this economy, you should be happy to have any job at all." Perhaps that's true, but that doesn't mean you can't try to find something better if you hate the job you've got. Here are a few things you can do this weekend to prepare to make a positive shift in your work life.
Update That Resume
Before you set out to apply for a new job, you're probably going to need an up-to-date resume. It's easy to let resume updating slide while you're employed because you have a job and it isn't the most fun thing to do. Fortunately there are some tools to make it easier to get started and make sure it's in top shape.
First things first, if you don't want to figure out the exact formatting of your resume and other tedious tasks, Resunate is a service that'll simply take your information and create a resume tailored to the type of job you want. If you've got a LinkedIn profile, you can also use the LinkedIn resume builder to save yourself the hassle of reassembling that information. If you want something a little different, VIsualize.me can create an infographic out of your work experience.
Of course, you want your resume to be unique and not a computer-generated file. These services are good at providing you with a starting point but you should take the time to personalise the document they create and still look for ways you can improve it. To start, resume checking service RezScore will analyse your resume for free and provide you with useful feedback. RezScore will not only point out actual errors, but overused words and which jobs your resume is best geared towards as well.
There's plenty you can do yourself, too. It's always good to be aware of bland phrases, redundant statements and annoying terms. Resume checkers will catch a lot of these things, but they won't catch everything. It also helps to read your resume from bottom to top to help catch errors.
The design of your resume is also important. You don't need to revolutionise its look, but often times its a matter of simply choosing the right font and colour.
For more tips on getting your resume read and past the robots, read this.
Find A Great New Place To Work
If you don't already have a new job in mind, you're going to need to find one. That is, unfortunately, somewhat of a daunting task. Whenever I've needed a job or wanted a new one, I've simply thought of companies I liked and that would provide a good learning experience. Then I'd contact all the companies on that list about available jobs.
If the company already provided a list of jobs, I'd contact them anyway to just ask a question. It always helps to have your name on the company's radar and let them know you'll be applying after they help you out. If you don't have any real questions, ask them something simple and easy to answer that might not be entirely clear in the job posting. If they can answer in a few minutes and you respond with a thank you, they'll feel like they helped you and that can make them like you.
While you may not have a list of companies you like on the top of your head, if you think about it for a little while you'll likely find a few. Don't rule out anything just because it seems unlikely. You may be surprised at the jobs you can get if you're smart, get things done and stand out just a little bit. (And if you really want to stand out, this Google trick is very clever.)
But sometimes getting a job can be tough because you don't have relevant experience. Of course, you can always get a lower-level job to get that experience or simply start in a position you are qualified for and move into the position you want after you've proven you're a great worker. In some cases, you can spin your unrelated experience to make it feel relevant. I've never applied for a job for which I was qualified, but I worked my way up through an internship or convinced my employer that my existing experience is relevant. Often it's as simple as finding a task or two that you completed at your current job that is actually relevant and focus on those.
When you're really not sure where you might want to work, however, there are plenty of ways to find new options. Strangely, Twitter is a good option because organisations like Tweet My Jobs post quite a few opportunities.
Nail The Interview
Job interviews can be tough. It's the only part of the process where you really have to think on your feet. If you're qualified, the only other thing you really need is charisma. Most decisions are made on a first impression and so coming across as a likeable person is often your biggest asset (which, thanks to body language, is easiest to do in person). If you can pull that off initially, you'll be in good shape unless you mess something up. So just don't say anything stupid!
On that subject, you really just need to know what you should avoid during the interview. It also happens to know what to ask and understand the motives behind the questions the interviewer asks you. If you're asked the most annoying question -- that being "what's your greatest weakness?" -- just choose an irrelevant skill.
Image: Ted Murphy.