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Overwhelmed With the Idea of Starting a Job Search? Simple Steps to Get You Started

Networking for Job Search

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Starting a job search? It can be overwhelming. Even just finding a copy of the last resume you updated seems daunting. Don’t fall into the trap of letting weeks turn into months before you find the fortitude to do something. Here are some simple, actionable steps to get you over the hurdle of getting started.

Read Relevant Job Descriptions

Job descriptions provide an excellent education on what is available in the market for a particular skill set within a particular market area. They are generally structured in four parts:

  1. An overall description of the company, with some editorial thrown in about its success and what a great place it is to work. You can go to the company’s website to get a better idea of what happens there, see who their customers are, and maybe even read a case study on a piece of business it recently performed. If you’re really interested, search the Internet for the company’s competitors and products. Maybe the industry has its own association(s) that can provide more information about careers in the business you’re looking at and the industry as a whole.
  2. An outline of the job itself, including what duties will need to be performed, what the performance expectations will be, whether there will be travel involved and other highly relevant details. More specs will likely be provided at the interview stage.
  3. A list of requirements necessary to be considered for the job. If some skills or years of experience, for example, are “nice to have” but not necessary, they will be noted as such, (e.g., “Knowledge of spoken Mandarin a plus”). Pay close attention to what is a requirement for the job versus what would be attractive. If there are “must have” skills, these will also be noted (e.g., “Must have three years of prior experience in managing technical projects.”). Take these “must haves” seriously, but don’t blow them out of proportion. In other words, you can likely get this job without knowing Mandarin, but if you only have two years of experience managing technical projects, go ahead and apply! Many of my clients tend to write off a role if they don’t check every box, but I think this is a mistake.
  4. The last section may mention competitive salary and benefits, or legalese such as you needing to be able to lift ten pounds or sit for long periods of time. If there are no deal breakers for you in this language, you should not be put off from applying.

Sign up for Job Alerts

Sign up for two to four job alerts on a major job search board. I find LinkedIn and Indeed best for corporate postings. Idealist is best for mission-driven organizations and volunteer roles. Many industries have their own specialized job boards such as for the dental community and for the legal community. Sign up using keywords suggested or, preferably, based on your own interests.

Don’t fall into the trap of letting weeks turn into months before you find the fortitude to do something. Here are some simple, actionable steps to get you over the hurdle of getting started.Click To Tweet

Some geographic boards are good, such as WorkNOLA in New Orleans, LA. You will receive no shortage of job descriptions to read. You may need to refine your keywords until you find one or two alerts that are relevant. Just putting keywords and location into Google will give you what’s available on every board. This can be overwhelming or timesaving, depending on your point of view.

If you have some “goal companies,” go directly to their sites to receive new listings. With alerts, expect to receive a lot more postings than you can read every morning but make a commitment to read a minimum number each day.

Join Industry Groups on LinkedIn, Sign Up for Content from Industry Thought Leaders

Inspiration comes in many forms, and you may find some in the form of articles or blog posts from thought leaders in your field or the field you want to be in. Anything you learn may come in handy in a future interview or networking call.

Reach Out to Your Network

You don’t need to say you are looking, just check-in. Maybe suggest getting together socially.  Your network needs to be tended so that you are not always using it when you need something.  This time, ask if other people need anything from you.  You can lay the groundwork that you may be looking soon but make that secondary.

Amy Feind Reeves is the Founder and CEO of JobCoachAmy, where she leverages her 25+ years of experience as an executive and hiring manager to help professionals at all levels of their careers find and keep jobs that make them happy. Her corporate consulting practice focuses on career coaching for Millennials and Generation Z, as well as consulting on practical approaches to implementing improved management practices.

As a sought-after expert, speaker, and career coach, Amy works globally with clients across a wide variety of industries including finance, consulting, media, consumer products, technology, and healthcare. Her functional expertise–gained from nearly two decades of working with companies and organizations to reduce costs, increase revenue, and improve processes–is significant across all areas of business operations.

She has been featured in countless media including the Wall Street Journal,, News,,, The Baltimore Sun, Chicago Herald Tribune, Yahoo News, and As a speaker, Amy has spoken at City Year, Dartmouth Alumni Women’s Leadership Conference, is also a regular speaker for undergraduate and new alumni groups, as well as is a speaker at women’s conferences and Canyon Ranch.
Prior to launching her business, Amy held a variety of positions including commercial banker, global management consultant, corporate executive, and non-profit executive. Her passion for supporting others in their careers comes from the difficult time she had found her way after college and when she needed to change careers after finding herself a single mother. She has become an author to expand her reach and passionate advocacy for people seeking to find their paths to success in the professional world.

College to Career, Explained: Tools, Skills & Confidence for Your Job Search, Amy’s first book, will debut this summer. It provides insightful strategies and common-sense tactics to help job seekers make a smooth transition from college to career. Using a proven methodology and unique insight that only someone who has sat on the other side of the interviewing table for many years can provide, College to Career, Explained is ultimately for the young professional or new grad looking for career guidance, or the more seasoned professional looking for pointers or to brush up on basics.


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