Having a Job Doesn’t Exempt You from Job Search Preparations

Words cannot describe how stressful these past two days have been I am drained. Even so, I still ran a bunch of errands after work (which didn’t all get done because I was running on empty). To top it all off, I got my computer back! This is mostly good news, the bad news being that the device has reverted back to its original state. All the programs I had installed are gone. All the programs that automatically come with a new computer (many of which I uninstall) are all over my desktop. There’s no anti-virus and I have to hook up my internet again. (note that I have since installed anti-virus software and, after a minor panic attack, found my internet security code. I would be here otherwise). Getting a brand new computer is always fun. I honestly enjoy spending all the time it takes to customize it perfectly to my preferences. I enjoy it so long as it has been years since the last time. It’s only been six months and I’m not looking forward to all the things I’m going to have to redo. I’m already tired of it.

All of that, is why this post is coming late and why it will be short.

…but first, a victory dance for the return of my computer and the end of the source of my stress at work

D has been looking for jobs closer to where we live, which means I’ve been in an advice role. Résumé? LinkedIn profile? Cover letters? I’m on call for all the above.

This has got me thinking about my job search, or lack thereof. What I mean is, I am perfectly happy with my job and am in no way looking for something different. That doesn’t mean I can slack off, and you shouldn’t either. With that said, I have some confessions to make. Today’s post is about all the things you should be doing, even if you have the perfect job, so that you are prepared for unexpected changes to your employment.

1.   Keep an updated version of your résumé and master résumé. The career class I took in college recommended looking over your résumé once every 6 months. I say, you should do it at least once a year. This isn’t something I have really done since I got the job I have. I’ve updated LinkedIn, Indeed.com and even Wix, which I will talk about in a minute, but not the actual word document. In the interest of honestly, I should tell you that I don’t have a good master résumé. I just have records of earlier résumés I’ve sent out. Do as I say, not as I do. Keep your résumé updated! (I need to get on this)

2.   Keep all social media and job search accounts you have updated. Just because you’re not looking for a job doesn’t mean someone is not looking for you. I still get at least one email a month from the different sites I have my résumé on asking if I am interested in a job. You’ll never know what might unexpectedly appear in your inbox, so keep those sites updated.

3.   Have a personal website (and keep it updated). I recommend a tool called Wix for this. I worked diligently on my personal website before I got the job I have. Unfortunately, I never finished it. Life got in the way and it never happened. It has never been published and there it sits. I really need to roll this out. If nothing else, it differentiates you. Even if your area of expertise is not media related, you can still reap huge benefits from a personal website. If all you have at is www. johnsmith .com is a short bio and a résumé, a website will make an impact.
4.   Keep an updated portfolio. I’m going to open this with a short story. When I was a freshman in college, the journalism students were required to turn in a portfolio in order to graduate. During my sophomore year and half of my junior year, they implemented an online, or digital, portfolio that was required. During my graduating year of college, they no longer required us to turn in portfolios. As a busy college student, this was a huge relief. Adult TK is very upset with College TK right now. She should have known better. A lot of my work is published on blogs. Do you know how easy it is to deactivate a blog? I don’t even want to think about it. Now, I have to play catch up, going all the way back to my college days as a dating advice blogger (because all who advise don’t always have common sense. The world needed me as a voice of reason).

The only thing I have for these blogs is a collection of links. There is nothing printed out. Recently, I’ve been dropping change at the library to print out all of the blogs I wrote. Some of my favorites have already been deleted. Luckily, most still appear to be active. I have a lot to do in terms of a portfolio, and I need to get going. All the blog posts I have ever written need to be printed out and collected in a binder, along with all my other works. Eventually, I hope to move this all onto my Wix website. It would have been published by now if it wasn’t for the tediousness of getting my portfolio together. If I have everything printed out, when a site gets deleted, I can just scan my copy into the computer and link to that image. So much to do, so little time.

This is vitally important because a portfolio gives me a one stop source to look through my work. How do I know what samples to send people if I don’t know what samples I have. Maybe I can use up some of my holiday on this….

Be happy with the job you have. Lord knows there are many who would kill to be in your shoes. Yet, there is nothing wrong with keeping your feet in the the water. It’s really not even about that, though. You should be prepared for the unknown. What if your office building gets sucked into a black hole or you get fired? What if you partner gets a kick ass job half way across the country and you need to start looking for a job out there? What if any of the many things that can happen in life result in the loss of your job? Instead of spending a bunch of time getting all your ducks in a row, they will already be waiting. You’ll be ready to slip right back into job search mode.

Disclaimer: I am not a job or career expert. Most of the above is based off of my own experience and the advice I've given to friends and family. I write these posts because I noticed my advice made a 
difference for those that took it and I hope that you can too. If possible, I highly recommend taking some for of career preparation class. A lot of this information is based on what I learned through the Career Leadership Academy at the University of Iowa and it was a huge benefit to my job search after graduation.

4 thoughts on “Having a Job Doesn’t Exempt You from Job Search Preparations”

  1. You’d be surprised how much having an updated resume will help you out when applying for internal jobs at the company you currently work at. If nothing else, it shows the company’s human resources department that you’re a responsible professional.

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