At a Glance: Start your job search with an open mind, and plan to carve out time each day to dedicate to your search.
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Looking for jobs can be time-consuming, but don’t let the process intimidate you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, here are the basic steps to starting a new job search. Remember: With a little research and perseverance, you’ll find a great fit.

Research the possibilities with an open mind

To start the process, go into research mode with an open mind. Check out companies you believe in and job titles you’d like to pursue. Head over to websites such as Indeed, LinkedIn or Monster, and enter specific job titles and phrases to see what options there are in your area.

If you’re unsure about what jobs you’re interested in, practice this free-writing exercise:

  • Make a list of every job title that sounds appealing to you.
  • At first, try not to think about if you’re qualified for it — this is just about identifying your interests.
  • For example, maybe you went to school for marketing, but during this exercise you list “vet” because you’ve loved animals since childhood. Is there a way to use your marketing knowledge for a company that supports animals, such as an animal shelter or non-profit?

Start to connect your interests with your qualifications and you’ll soon have a growing list of potential jobs to look into.

Seek out professional mentors

Seek out a professional mentor who currently holds a position you’re interested in. Ask them what their day-to-day duties are like, how they got this position in the company, and what advice they wish they’d known before entering the field.

You can also write to former professors, attend networking events, or send an email asking someone you admire to coffee. Don’t be afraid to reach out — most people are happy to share what they’ve learned with those just starting out. Studying the path of someone you look up to can help you identify different ways of getting where you want to go.

Get your résumé ready and start networking

Dust off your résumé and make sure it’s up-to-date. Have another set of eyes proofread it to make sure it’s grammatically correct and formatted in a clear, organized manner. You should also update your LinkedIn profile and start checking out networking events to connect with other people in your desired field. Real-life connections are also critical in finding new jobs and enhancing your career.

Dedicate time each day to your search

Searching for a new job can be time-consuming — plan to allocate anywhere from 10 to 20 hours per week. Fit in those hours whenever it works best for you; some people find that it’s easier to get more done in the morning before obligations get in the way, while others may have more free time in the evenings.

Sometimes you have to apply to a lot of jobs before hearing back, but try not to get discouraged. Be prepared to put in a lot of work, but it’ll be worth it when you land the perfect match.

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