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Your job switch checklist

Although coming to the decision that you’re ready to change jobs is a big step, the reality of finding a new role can still seem a frustratingly long way off. To ensure things are moving in the right direction, here is your complete checklist.

1. Write your ideal job description 

You know you want to move on… but move on to what? Draft a job description for your ideal role. Factor in your strengths, areas of interest and what you like or dislike about your current role. Use this ideal description to inform your job search. 

2. Draw up a timetable 

Break down your job search into a series of manageable phases – such as Research, Selection, Applications, Interview Preparation – with a realistic timeframe against each phase. Work out what you need to do at each phase and have it nearby always to help stay on track. 

3. Put out feelers in your network 

Ask around trusted contacts about interesting employers, valuable information sources and the most effective recruiters. This will give you ideas for companies to research online and follow socially, and recruiters you may want to contact. 

4. Sign up for alerts and newsletters

Think about the best sources of new job information in your industry, and make sure you’re signed up for all relevant alerts and newsletters. Many sites (including Robert Walters MyAccount) allow you to tailor a search by relevant criteria such as travel distance and salary band, and receive notifications of new relevant opportunities. 

5. Talk to some recruiters

With their in-depth knowledge of your market and of recruitment trends, a good recruiter can be a mine of useful information, about everything from salary expectations to skills requirements to job hunting tips. Set up a few informal exploratory calls with recruiters that look like a good fit. 

6. Update your knowledge   

It is also a good time to make sure you’re on top of trends in your industry, regulatory developments, technological changes and so on by identifying a few key publications you can trust to keep you really informed. Also keep up to date with current affairs so you can be as well-informed as possible come interview time. Think especially about the impact of key news stories on your industry.

7. Set aside daily search time 

Set aside time each day to dedicate to your new job search, and draw up a list of things you want to do each day. This will typically include looking at LinkedIn, checking key job sites, and reading the latest news from key industry publications. 

8. Maximise your LinkedIn presence 

The greater your engagement on LinkedIn, the more visible your digital presence. Follow companies and connect with recruiters in sectors and industries that interest you, and use the Alumni search tool to reach out to valuable connections. Update your LinkedIn status frequently with engaging insights and links, and post relevant articles to boost your profile views. See our top 5 LinkedIn updates to make today

Spend time ensuring your profile is up to date to maximise your appeal to potential new employers, include a recent photo and details of your latest experience and expertise. You can also ask contacts to endorse you for skills and leave testimonials

9. Take up opportunities to boost your appeal to a new employer  

There are lots of things you can do in your current job that could also stand you in good stead in your job search. To boost your personal brand online, for example, offer to write blogs or other thought leadership content on behalf of your company. To enhance your skill set, look to take up any suitable training or development opportunities on offer and be ready to take on new responsibilities or areas of work which you can add to your profile. 

10. Widen your skill set 

Learning something new to add to your CV is always a good idea, particularly if you’re looking for a job that’s slightly different to what you do now, or if you’re worried about a potential gap in your skill set. There’s a wealth of online courses, tutorials and evening classes out there, much of them free. Find out what might be relevant to the job you’re looking for and start learning.

11. Refresh your CV

If you’ve been working in the same role for years, there’s a chance you haven’t opened your CV file too recently. Make sure to update it before applying for new jobs. Add in all your relevant experience, extra courses you’ve undertaken and other skills you might have developed recently.

12. Refresh your wardrobe 

Even though you may not be interviewing in person, a smart professional outfit makes a great first impression and inspires confidence in the wearer. Have a look at your wardrobe and see if you’ve got a killer outfit, or whether now might be a good time to invest in a new look. 

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