Top tips to help prepare for a job change

person outside working on mobile phone to look for new job

You’ve decided to make a job move, so where do you start? 

Although coming to the decision that you’re ready to change jobs is a big step, translating that decision into the reality of finding a new role can still seem like a frustratingly long way off.

Even before you land your first interview, there are things you can do now to help you prepare for a job change.


Write your ideal job description

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

Draw up a timetable

Break down your job search into a series of manageable phases – such as:

  • Research
  • Selection
  • Applications
  • Interview preparation

Work out what you need to do at each phase – eg for the application phase, you’ll need your CV ready, for the interview stage, you’ll need to have done a wardrobe review - and include a realistic timeframe for each phase.. Pin this timetable up somewhere at home to help you stay on track.

Put out feelers in your network

Ask around among 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. It may even turn up some interesting opportunities.

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 allow you to tailor a search by relevant criteria such as travel distance and salary band, and receive notifications of new relevant opportunities.

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.

If you’re a top-notch candidate then a really good recruiter may offer to look after your job search exclusively. Exclusivity means you’ve got a dedicated resource working hard to find you the perfect role. You may prefer this option as it saves you having to liaise with lots of different recruitment agencies.

Start updating your knowledge  

Now is also a good time to make sure you’re on top of trends in your industry, regulatory developments, technological changes and so on. Identify a few key publications that you can trust to keep you really informed, and make a point of looking at them regularly.

Now is also a good time to start paying more attention to current affairs too, so you can be as well-informed as possible come interview time. Think especially about the impact of key news stories on your industry. 

Set aside some daily search time

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

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. Use the alumni search tool to reach out to valuable connections. Also, look to update your LinkedIn status frequently with engaging insights and links, and post relevant articles to boost your profile views.

In addition, spend time ensuring your profile is up to date and worded to maximise your appeal to potential new employers, complete with a professional looking photograph and details of all your latest experience and expertise. You can also ask contacts to endorse you for skills and leave testimonials.

Boost your appeal to a new employers

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 and other thought leadership content on behalf of your company. Even before you land your first interview, there are things you can do now to help you prepare for a job change

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 new areas of work that you can add to your profile.

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, many of them free. Find out what might be relevant to the job you’re looking for and start learning…

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.

Refresh your wardrobe

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. You may have several interviews or meetings to attend, of course, so think about updating essentials as well.

For further help with preparing to move jobs read our article on how to write a personal brand statement

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