Preparing for Your Job Search: the 5 Most Important Steps To Take

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October 9, 2020
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min read

Preparing for a job search takes more than just creating a resume. Before you start applying to jobs, be sure you've planned your search so it's as focused as possible.

Through this blog post, we will walk you through how to prepare for a job search, how to add metrics to a resume, the importance of soft and hard skills, and how to present your best self.

What you'll learn

These are the most important things to do when preparing for your job search:

  1. Ensure you're in the right mindset
  2. Determine your core skills
  3. Detail achievements and metrics to highlight your core skills
  4. Craft your career blurb
  5. Create your career history (previously referred to as a master resume)

By the end of the post, you’ll be able to answer questions like:

  • How to get in the right mindset for your job search
  • What skills are employers looking for
  • Why hard skills and soft skills are important
  • How to determine your skills and strengths
  • Why do you need achievements on your resume
  • How to add achievements to your resume
  • How to make a career blurb
  • How to make an exhaustive career history

How to get in the right mindset for your job search

Your mindset is going to be one of the most important things when preparing for your job search.

  • Companies want to hire you for what you did, not what you want to do. 
  • You want to land a job that lets you do what you want to do, not necessarily what you did previously.
You need to show employers how you can do what they want you to do while still aiming for the positions you want.

Through your entire job search, you’re going to become a salesperson and the product is YOU!

Depending on what job roles you are applying to, the idea of being a salesperson may not come naturally to you. 

That’s okay!

Speaking to your skills, accomplishments, and strengths is a skill that is learned through practice. That’s why we’re going to walk you through being the product expert on yourself.

The first step is to clearly identify and articulate your skills and achievements in a way that is relevant to the companies you’re targeting.

Skills and Strengths

When you hear the word skills, it can mean so many things.  This is how we define skills at Teal:

Skills include natural capabilities you’ve always had, in addition to specific knowledge and abilities you've acquired (or can acquire) through experience and training.

Note:  You don't have to have all of the skills that a job posting requires as long as you can meet the majority of what they are asking for

What skills are employers looking for?

The specific skills that employers are looking for are going to vary by the role, company, and industry. Generally, employers are looking for two types of skills:

Soft Skills: skills that can be used in multiple roles or industries.

Examples of soft skills are communication, leadership , creativity, problem solving

Hard Skills: skills that are very specific to a type of role or industry.

Examples of hard skills are digital marketing, instructional design, JavaScript, accounting

Why hard and soft skills are important?

Your hard and soft skills are important because they are going to help you highlight what you are going to bring to the company.

Skills aren't just something you add to your resume. Your hard and soft skills should be highlighted throughout your entire job search process and career. Some of those places are:

  • Resume
  • LinkedIn profile
  • Networking conversations
  • Interviewing
  • Negotiations

Write down all of your hard and soft skills with examples of how you demonstrated those skills. In the long run, this will make your job search process much easier.

How to determine your skills and strengths

There are many ways to determine your job related skills. The most common are to:

  • Review your work experience, training, certifications, and education
  • Look at past performance reviews
  • Ask other people for feedback
  • Check out job postings in your industry
  • List out skills you have the potential to develop through training or projects

Skills exercise 

Pull out a piece of paper or open a blank google doc, and complete this sentence multiple times.

I am good at ____ .

Once you have your list of skills, you're ready to add them to achievement.


What are achievements?

Similar to skills, when you hear the word achievements, it can mean so many things. This is how Teal defines achievements:

An achievement is empirical proof that shows you have an ability.

Why do you need achievements on your resume and other job related platforms?

A common mistake is that most people list their daily tasks on their resume without including what they achieved.

Employers care about the results. They will care how you have affected your job and the company in a positive way.

The way you’ll want to highlight your accomplisghments examples is by including measurable metrics to showcase the value that the employer can expect if they hire you.

Why it’s important to include metrics

Adding metrics when writing your skills and achievements creates a more compelling story about yourself and your background. Your job is to make it as easy as possible for the person reading a resume to choose you to move forward in the interview process.

Metrics based achievement example

Look at the below example of how you can take a daily task and turn it into a results-oriented achievement.

What not to do: Work with tech team to increase website traffic
The bullet point is not measurable, it doesn't show results, and it doesn't let a reader know what you can do for them.

Consider this rewrite: Grew engagement by 200% which led to double revenue in 3 months.

Doesn't that sound a little better? The new bullet point highlights metrics, a quantitative impact, and results.

How to add achievements to your resume and other job related platforms

This is a simple formula for writing and adding achievements into your career history (previously referred to as a master resume) and other job related platforms.  

success verb +  noun +  metric +  outcome

Here’s an example below.

Achievement exercise.

Here's an exercise to help you practice writing metrics focused achievements.

Choose one of your skills and write an achievement that supports it using our achievement building formula.

success verb +  noun+  metric +  outcome

Career Blurb

What is a career blurb?

Your career blurb is a narrative that communicates your relevant professional experience and skills.

We’re going to focus on creating a general career blurb about yourself. This way, you have a primary copy to work from and tailor for situations where you’ll need it.

Be sure that you are customizing your blurb each time that you use it in situations like: 

  1.  Your resume summary
  2.  Networking introductions in email
  3.  LinkedIn’s "About" section
  4.  Interview questions like “Tell me about yourself.

What to include in your career blurb

Since your blurb is going to be used for various parts of your job search, you'll want to include these key components:

  1.  Hands-on experience
  2.  Where and what you did
  3.  Memorable and measurable achievements
  4.  Soft and hard skills (hard and soft)
  5.  Your strengths

Here's an example of a career blurb that includes all of these components.

Note about documenting these components:

It's always a good idea to document this information earlier on in the job search. When it comes to it, you want your resume to showcase your greatest strengths, and what you bring to the table for a potential employer.

Career History (previously referred to as a Master Resume)

What is a career history?

We are going to introduce you to the idea of creating an exhaustive career history.

A career history, or master resume, is where you will house all of your jobs, achievements, and skills. You will not use this document to apply for jobs. 

Instead, your career history will act as a template and a place to reference when applying to jobs.

You'll be able to curate your experiences from one place which will make resume writing for individual job applications easier in the long run.

What to include in your career history

Here is a running list of what to include in your career history

  •  Contact information
  •  Professional summaries
  •  Work experience
  •  Education
  •  Skills and interests
  •  Languages
  •  Certifications
  •  Volunteer experience
  •  Awards and publications

How to make an exhaustive career history

We have a tool that our members use to house all of their achievements. We've made a templated version that you can download below.

Download the Template

Through this blog post, we’ve given you the tools to identify, create, and prepare your skills and achievements in a memorable and quantitative way. We’ve also created a tool to build out your exhaustive career to have one place to reference when applying for jobs. Sign up for Teal today to get started saving interesting jobs and crafting standout resumes to land your dream job!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I quantify my achievements on my resume if my previous roles weren't target-driven?

Focus on the impact of your contributions by estimating the efficiency improvements, cost savings, or the number of people you've managed or trained. Use project completions, process enhancements, or any form of positive change you've influenced as metrics to demonstrate your value to potential employers.

What are some strategies for highlighting soft skills during a job search?

Incorporate soft skills into your resume by providing examples of teamwork, problem-solving, or leadership within your job descriptions. During interviews, share stories that showcase these skills in action, and consider including testimonials or endorsements in your application that speak to your soft skills.

Is it necessary to tailor my resume for each job application, and if so, how detailed should this customization be?

Yes, tailoring your resume is crucial. Research the job description and company culture, then highlight the most relevant experiences and skills that align with their needs. Use keywords from the job posting, and adjust your professional summary to reflect the specific role you're applying for, keeping the customization focused and concise.

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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