Job Seekers Checklist & Toolkit
Updated: Oct 23, 2020
It’s helpful to have a plan when job searching, and if you are seeking employment these steps should be part of your weekly schedule. Use this checklist & toolkit to take action steps and stay on track during your job search.
Review the Job Seekers Toolkit
Using the job seekers toolkit, you can review learning topics (in guidebooks and short videos) to learn about several critical steps of your job search. The toolkit will teach you how to be strategic and take control of your job search. Through this resource, you will learn how to:
Choose your target career path
Optimize your resume to stand out as an applicant
Grow and leverage your professional network
Maximize your job search and adapt your approach during COVID-19
Ace your interviews by showcasing your unique value
Start by reviewing the toolkit resources so you can be prepared for the rest of the job seekers checklist.
Build 5+ hours into your weekly schedule for job search tasks
It can often feel like job searching is a full time job. Well, it does take work and time so plan to be invested. Set aside time each week to work on your job search to-do list, you should prioritize at least 5 or more hours per week on these tasks, often more.
Send 2+ (new or follow up) network communications each week
Using the community on Lehigh Connects, communicate with a Lehigh alumni to gather advice on your job search. Remember, networking isn’t about asking “Are you hiring?” but instead collecting advice and information that can direct your job search. With over 3,000 alumni volunteers already signed up, you can browse the network to find someone in a company, position or industry of interest. Set a goal to connect with at least two new people per week, from Lehigh Connects or other networking communities like LinkedIn or social media.
Example job search message:
Dear (find example person),
I am a Lehigh student , class of 2021 and looking to use my Economic degree in positions related to politics, policy, or government. Based on your background, I thought you might have some helpful advice or suggestions on how I can shape my job search. Could you share some job titles you would suggest I search for on job boards? Do you have company recommendations in the New York area that I should connect to? Would it be ok if I shared my resume with you in case you are able to share it with anyone you know is hiring? I would value your advice about what steps I could take to help me identify job openings and ways to make my applications more competitive.
Networking is also putting your existing network to work for you. Don’t be afraid to ask friends, family, neighbors, faculty, or other contacts “Do you know anyone who works in (industry or job field) that I could reach out to? I’d love to ask them about their career path and job search advice.” Let everyone around you know about your next career steps so you can see if they have contact or information that would be valuable for you.
Keep the conversations going by updating people on any progress you made in your job search, feedback from you about how you took their advice, or share updates to your resume or LinkedIn profile. Contacts who can’t help you now, may be able to help in the future so it's important to maintain relationships. Refer to this Follow Up blog post on hirelehigh.com for examples of follow up messages and follow up etiquette.
Example follow up message:
Dear (alumni name),
Thanks again for advice you shared with me during our messages on Lehigh Connects two weeks ago. As you suggested, I reached out to (referral name) to ask about…. I am hoping to meet with him soon so I can learn more. I also made those resume formatting changes you suggested and it's ready for applications. I set the goal to apply to 5 more applications this week, but I am not seeing many options on the job boards. Do you have suggestions of where I could look to find more listings for (job title/industry name)? If you have any other advice for my job search, please let me know as I continue to look for full-time positions.
Update 3 critical areas of your LinkedIn page (headline, summary, media)
It is becoming more and more common for employers to do online research about candidates, and a professional LinkedIn profile is a great way to ensure a strong impression. First, be sure your headline includes helpful and clarifying information about what your next career goals are and industries or positions of interest. This information is visible when you request to connect or search for your name in the search box.
Example recent grad headlines:
Pursing full-time positions related to communications and media
Accounting job seeker in the Boston area
Marketing recent grad with interest in digital content and social media
Summary sections are also great places to help people get to know you and share your next target career goal. Two important details to note - the first two lines should be the most important information since that is all that is visible to readers unless they click “read more”. Its also helpful to avoid repeating information found elsewhere on your profile, like your academic major or graduation date. Instead provide insight into why you choose your academic program or emphasize your passion for your industry.
I have chosen challenging academic majors that speak to my interests in international relations, global business and mass media. My experience outside the classroom helped solidify my career interests as I pursued leadership training, traveled abroad and became involved in global topics on campus. I would like to start a career where I can apply my writing and communication skills to an organization that focuses on international policy, government relations or global trade deals.
LinkedIn also has the advantage of allowing you to include “media” with your experience or education. Are you able to link to an article, upload a presentation or writing sample, or share a graphic or image? This is an excellent way to showcase your skills and work products.
Incorporate 2-10 industry buzz words into your resume
Using job boards like Indeed.com, LinkedIn, or many others review at least 4-6 positions of interest. Look for action words, tools, software, skills or industry specific language noted in the job posting. Can you build those into your bulleted points on your resume? Can you include related classes or academic projects that note those same details? When possible, make sure your resume includes the same words as you commonly see in job postings. This will both help you beat the A.I. technology that screens applications but also catch the attention of a hiring manager.
Test your resume to see how it stands up to A.I. technology used for screening applications. Use tools like Job scan or resume worded where you can submit your resume for a scan. Does it pass the test? Use the feedback provided by the website or schedule a follow up with a Career Coach if your results aren’t where you want them to be. It is important your document is ready for both the machines and recruiters.
Set a target number of applications to complete each week
Using job boards like Handshake, Indeed.com, LinkedIn, idealist.org and many others look for positions of interest and set a weekly target of completing 5-10 applications. Did you know it may take more than 200 applications before you receive a job offer (check out this blog post to learn more), and that statistic came from research during a typical hiring season. COVID-19 has certainly affected the job market, so your job search may require more applications and time before you are successful. Don’t let that discourage you, instead set realistic goals you can meet each week. Get creative by exploring niche job boards, remote work options, and reading articles that share details on companies and industries who are hiring.
Schedule an appointment with a Career Coach from Lehigh’s Career Center
Did you know the Career Center is available for current students and recent grads? All students have access to our online resources, appointments, job boards, and coaching staff for 2 years following graduation. Current students can log on to Handshake to schedule a 1-on-1 appointment or use the drop in hours during Career Lab Monday - Friday, 10 am - 3pm pm to get help. Alumni can email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment and gain alumni access to Handshake. Before you send off your resume or interview with a dream company, work with a career coach to learn how best to prepare and present yourself.
Complete a mock interview
If you are sending out your resume and hoping for a job, you should also be interview ready. The best way to build your confidence and wow during an interview is based on the preparation you put into it. Interviewing is a skill, you should learn interview techniques and practice responses to common interview questions. Schedule a mock interview with a career coach, Lehigh alum, or professional contact to do a run through of an interview, these are the best ways to learn from mistakes and become more confident with your responses. Be prepared to use the STAR method and bring your own questions to ask the interviewer based on your employer research. Big Interview is a online tool that lets you practice interview questions using digital tools. The new AI feature there also provides feedback on your responses. Like all things, practice will improve your performance.
Attend a virtual job fair
At least for now, many career fairs and employer events are being offered online. The Balance shared this article explaining how virtual career fairs work and what you can prepare. Virtual fairs are not just for remote work, all types of positions and companies are using virtual fairs to find and meet candidates. Find an event that connects your industry of interest and explore virtual fair options. The Handshake events tab will include all hiring and employer events, check there frequently for virtual career fairs or information sessions. Below are a small sampling of virtual career fair options.
Career Eco Virtual Events - Upcoming Events
Jobfairsin.com: List of upcoming virtual fairs in the US
Repeat this list as needed
If this list feels daunting, remember that you don’t have to navigate this alone but each step is important. The Career Center is here to support you no matter where you are in your career journey. Start on these steps today and let us know how we can help you with your job search.
Print or download the Job Seekers Checklist with the document below.