5 Steps to Your Next Job

Prepare, Research, Document, Find, Land

We can help you with your career transition and job search.  We have divided job search into five sequential topics.  Each topic builds upon the next, so we recommend that you review this in order.
Take a self-guided tour through these five steps.  Take your time.  Many people need a week or more to fully explore all these topics before they launch an effective career transition or job search.
Download a copy of our "Recommended Job Search Websites" as you begin.  This flyer lists helpful websites for each topic.

A note about COVID-19
We want you to know that people are being hired and advancing in careers during COVID-19.  There are special considerations right now, though!  WorkIt Daily recently posted their top tips for those laid off during COVID-19.

1) Prepare

Before launching a job search or career change, identify and target jobs best suited for your unique skills, work history and abilities. Job research includes:
  • Assess your skills: You may not be aware of all the skills you could bring to an employer.
  • Research the market: Become an expert in your desired field; research high-growth careers and companies.
  • Match your skills to current careers on the O*Net Online website

Watch "researching careers" video

Video: Researching Careers

Watch "online assessments for career transition" video

Video: Online Assessments for Career Transition

The U.S. Department of Labor has a collection of videos on hundreds of different careers.  Videos includes career details such as tasks, work settings, education needed, and more. 

Videos are also available in Spanish.

2) Research

Wait, you’re not ready to conduct your job search yet! Prepare yourself for a successful job hunt or career transition by following these steps: 

  • Set short and long-term career goal. Individuals who define realistic goals with quantifiable and timely steps are more likely to achieve those goals.
  • Determine necessary training or education to achieve your goals. In a changing market, we all need to update our skills. Check on training opportunities available through your local college. Eligible job seekers may qualify for funding under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). A few free resources include:

Watch "Goal Setting" video

Video: Goal Setting
  • Look for volunteer opportunities that will allow you to build your portfolio and contact list.
  • Conduct informational interviews (PDF)
  • Organize your time; many job seekers fail to spend enough time looking for work or simply don’t use their time effectively. Create a job search schedule and follow it. Reward yourself when you complete each daily job search task.

Watch "informational interviewing" video

Video: Informational Interviewing

Watch "Volunteer To Get Your Next Job" video

Video: Volunteer to Get Your Next Job

3) Document

  • Professional job search documents like resumes, cover letters, and social media are often the first way an employer gets an impression of you. Learn up-to-date techniques to make sure your documents can help showcase your relevant skills and abilities.
  • Get organized. Save yourself time and aggravation by compiling all of your contact information, educational details, work history and references together in one place. This will help you quickly complete online job applications and simplify the resume writing process. Utilize the sample job application (PDF) to help you get organized. Also ensure that you have a professional email address.
  • Get current. Just like in fashion, resume trends come and go and the evaluation of a resume is subjective, but we have some best practices to share. Use our Write Yourself Into Your Next Job handbook to find modern resume formats, learn tricks to highlight your most relevant skills, and master the art of cover letters and thank you notes.
  • Get noticed. Most online job application portals judge how well your application package matches their job posting. Increase your match score and your chances of getting an interview by using a resume optimization tool like Jobscan.co.
  • Get social. While we know that in-person networking is still the best way to find a job, once you’ve developed killer job search documents, social media is a great way to amplify their impact. Use common sense to protect your privacy, but a carefully curated LinkedIn profile can be an excellent job search tool. Use it to research companies, make connections and put yourself in front of recruiters. Need help?  Watch "Get Started on LinkedIn in 2020".

Watch "resume building" video

Video: Resume Building

Read "Write Yourself Into Your Next Job"

Video: Write Yourself Into Your Next Job

4) Find

  • Utilize a variety of job search strategies - everything from the old fashioned in-person method to using cutting edge technology to attending job fairs.
  • Identify target companies: The days of searching the newspaper for job postings are mostly gone. Utilize the internet to find relevant companies in your field or jobs that you might be qualified. Use the Recommended Job Search List (PDF) of specific online resources to get started.
  • Consider self employment or contractual work.  Use the resources of the Illinois Small Business and International Trade Center.  Access a list of websites for self employment or remote work.
  • Develop an elevator speech--a short explanation of your professional qualifications and experience.  Fill out and practice with our elevator speech handout.
  • Network successfully: Studies show that the number one way people find work is still through their network. Develop an elevator speech to quickly outline what you’re looking for and what you bring to the table.

Watch "networking to get a job" video

Video: Networking to Get a Job

Watch "expanding your job search using Indeed" video

Video: Expanding Your Job Search Using Indeed

5) Land

An employer has called you in for an interview. Follow these final steps to complete your career goals. 

  • Prepare for the interview; Know what this specific company needs and how you can fill that need; ensure that you look the part.
  • Be ready for a video interview.  Watch "How to Prepare for a Video Interview" by WorkIt Daily.
  • Promote yourself during the interview; Know questions to ask and answer; be prepared for a wide variety of interview formats.
  • Follow up and negotiate; Thank the employer for his/her time; know when and how to negotiate salary and benefits. Watch "Checking the Status of your Candidacy" by WorkIt Daily.

Watch "What Employers Want" video

Video: What Employers Want


We would love to hear from you as we continue to polish this tool. Please complete a brief survey about your experience with the self-guided " 5 Steps to Your Next Job." 

You have finished the self-guided "5 Steps to Your Next Job".  
Complete this form to submit your resume for consideration for a work experience (internship) or employment referral.
Let us know that you have completed the self-guided "5 Steps to Your Next Job."