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5 job search tips for people who haven't looked for a new job in a while

It could be time to update more than just your interview skills.

5 job search tips for people who haven't looked for a new job in a while

As the economy continues to grow and unemployment drops, you may be thinking it’s time to check out your options. But it can be hard to jump into a job search if you haven’t looked for a new job in a long time.

Here are five job search tips for people who haven’t looked for a new job in years.

Refresh your resume

Trends and expectations in resumes may have shifted a bit since you last looked for work.  “I am working with a client who was with her firm for 17 years prior to being laid off,” says Jill MacFadyen, a career coach who also teaches job search classes for alumni of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

The client had an old-style resume with a list of duties. MacFadyen helped her rewrite it to start with a summary that defined her brand. “This way, resume-reading software or the recruiter knows right away who she is. We reworded her list of duties into accomplishments so that the reader can imagine her being as successful in the new firm as she was in the prior one.”

Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish of Feather Communications recommends removing the objective, adding a career summary, and ensuring you have the appropriate keywords for your industry when overhauling your resume. Many companies use applicant tracking systems when reviewing resumes and you need to move beyond that round to ensure a human being evaluates the document and your qualifications, she says.

Practice your interview

If you haven’t gone through a job interview in a while, it might not be a bad idea to practice, Rothbauer-Wanish says. Review your answers for typical interview questions, ensure your wardrobe is up-to-date, and practice speaking confidently about your skills.

Get comfortable with technology

Many online job postings will take you through a web-based application process, says Lynda McKay, vice president of human resources consulting at Bagnall, and you’ll likely be required to complete applications online. At the very least you’ll need to be comfortable sending your resume and cover letter via email. Familiarize yourself with job application technology to ensure you get the best results.

Talk to other job-seekers

Tap your long-term connections to see what kind of opportunities they may have heard about, Rothbauer-Wanish says. Friends and colleagues who have gone through the job search may also have tips they can share.

Go slow on the salary talk

Do your research on what positions pay in your market so you can be ready to talk salary when the time comes. However, MacFadyen says it’s important to remember that compensation discussions should be delayed until an offer is made.

McKay agrees. “Compensation is really a matter for the employer to bring up,” she says. When the time comes, you can ask whether there is a range for the position, or start negotiating if you feel your skills are worth more.


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