The time to start thinking about your next move is now. Here are some steps to get you started:
1. Assess your financial security
Did you know that the average job search lasts more than 6 months? Make sure you have a minimum of 6 months expenses in savings. If you do not know how much you spend each month on necessities, figure it out today. Multiply that number by 6 and if you do not have at least that much in your savings account, figure out how to get there as quickly as possible.
2. Create or update your LinkedIn profile
Many recruiters use LinkedIn and job applicants can be discriminated against for not having a profile. Make sure yours lists your education, jobs, responsibilities and skill sets. Try to get as many recommendations and endorsements as you can. A good way to do this is by giving them to others in your network. Connect with every person you know that you can find on the site. It doesn’t matter if you are an accountant and they are a child care provider or if they are a classmate, co-worker or friend. You never know who they might know that can help you down the line or vice versus.
3. Start networking
Meet people in your industry, people with the same job function as you, people in industries or jobs that interest you. Getting to know these people even casually now, when you do not need to ask for a favor can greatly benefit you if you ever do.
4. Create a record of your past jobs
List your title, responsibilities, salaries, supervisor, contact info, etc. These are all items that many job applications ask for and it is helpful to have them handy. These are also things that are easy to forget when you leave that job and move on, especially details of your projects. Write down what you worked on, what your role was, what the challenges were, things that went wrong, successes that you had. These are all questions that are asked in interviews and you will be glad that you got a jump on crafting these stories and are able to recall critical details.
5. Update your resume
You never know when you might be asked for this even if you are not actively looking for a new role. Include your current job and list your accomplishments. This is a great practice to do regularly. What do you notice? Have you accomplished things in this role that would be impressive to a future employer? If you have, you can use this as leverage in your next review, promotion or salary negotiation with your current employer. If you have not, ask yourself why. Are there additional responsibilities that you can take on or things you can improve upon? Don’t wait until it is too late to make the most of the job you have.
6. Assess your skill set
Are you lacking any particular skills that are highly prevalent in your industry? Is there training you can take to obtain this skill or learn a new technology? Do the research and present the details along with potential benefits to your current employer. They might be willing to pay for a class that would improve your current productivity and ultimately your marketability.
7.Think about what you would do if you lost your job today
Where would you want to work? What would you want to do? How would you make it happen? Would you be willing to move? What other companies in your area are in your field or are you interested in? Are you staying up to date on industry trends? What skills do you have that are transferrable? Are there things you can do now to increase your chances of being hired elsewhere?
It might seem easy to dismiss some of this if you are currently employed, but trust me, if you ever find yourself without a job, you will be glad you spent the time to get a head start on preparing for your next role.