I know, I know, preparing and searching for a new job is a grueling task.
I hear the pain clients have every day.
“Where do I start?”
“How do I prepare?”
“I recently left my job – what do I do?”
“Should I not leave my job before looking for a new position?”
“Do I need to complete the online application and submit a resume?”
The list goes on…
Let’s get started!
(Part 1) The Jobseeker’s Guide to Employment Applications
- A résumé is not a substitute for an employment application. If you are asked to fill out an application, don’t just write, “See résumé.”
- Remember that a job application is a legal document. Unlike a résumé, you may be required to sign an employment application, confirming all the information you supplied is accurate.
- Be prepared for how to address unlawful questions on a job application. Possible choices are: Leaving the field blank, writing “will discuss in interview,” or simply answering it.
- Know your rights about how to handle questions about age, marital status, citizenship status, disabilities, and medical conditions.
- If the employer wants to use your credit report to screen you as a job applicant, you must provide written permission to provide access to your credit report. Read any documents carefully and know what you are signing.
- Check your credit report before you begin applying for jobs — especially for jobs in finance and banking. You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies.
- Recognize that you can refuse access to your credit report, but know that doing so may disqualify you from being considered for the position.
- Research whether your state has passed a “ban the box” law, which prohibit employers from asking questions about criminal history on an employment application. Find out whether your state’s laws apply only to public government positions or to both private and public employers.
- Find out if your state has a law prohibiting employers from asking salary-related questions on an employment application.
- If your state doesn’t prohibit salary questions on a job application, think through your answer in advance so you’ll be prepared what to answer on the application.
(PART 2) Jobseeker’s: Don’t Quit Your Job (Yet)
- Don’t act on impulse and quit your job without thinking through the ramifications. It’s easier to find a job when you have a job — “unemployment discrimination” is real.
- If you have quit your job before accepting a new one, don’t be in a hurry to update the dates on your résumé or LinkedIn profile. (But do go ahead and update the rest of the information on both documents!)
- Before you quit your job, shore up your rainy-day fund! The average job search is 13 weeks, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Make sure you have the money to sustain yourself during a job search before you quit your job.
- Make sure you have your career documents ready to go before you quit. Having a résumé or LinkedIn profile professionally prepared can take 2-3 weeks.
- Take some time to think about what you want in your next job. Make sure you’re not running away from something as much as you are running towards something better.
- Start removing personal items from your workplace immediately — but gradually. If you quit, you may be asked to leave the premises immediately, even if you offer two weeks’ notice.
- Start building out your LinkedIn connections in preparation for your job search. But do it slowly — don’t add dozens of new connections in a week.
- Be sure to collect any electronic items you need — dates and names of trainings, copies of performance evaluations, etc. before you quit. And remove any personal information from your work computer that you wouldn’t want someone else to have access to in the future.
- Check your LinkedIn privacy settings so your network doesn’t get notified anytime you update the information in your profile.
- Review your company employee handbook and/or your employment agreement so you know what you’re entitled to if you leave the company. Make sure you’re not leaving money on the table by quitting at the wrong time.
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