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Here's your 2021 job search checklist

Maggie Stamets is a writer for BUILT BY GIRLS, which prepares the next generation of female and non-binary leaders to step into their power and break into their careers. WAVE is the backbone of BUILT BY GIRLS: it’s a 1:1 matching program that connects high school and college students with top tech professionals across the country. For more information and to sign up check out

As the year ends, it’s natural to take stock, reflect, and think about how you’d like 2021 to be different. For many people, this is a time to consider a career shift. Craving progress and change is completely understandable, especially after a year that felt incredibly stagnant.

If you’re considering starting a job search in the new year, take some time over the holidays to make sure you have these things in order. Here are some ideas.

(Photo credit: BUILT BY GIRLS)
(Photo credit: BUILT BY GIRLS)

Figure out what you want from your next role

Before you actively search for new jobs, it’s important to thoughtfully consider where you want your next professional step to take you. Start by thinking of your current role and writing out: What do you enjoy about it? What have you learned? What do you want to avoid in your next role?

These reflections can help you home in on what work you want to be doing and at what kind of company. That information will help make the job hunting process a lot less daunting.

Update your resume

Although you’ll want to tailor your resume to each role you apply for, have a generic one ready to go. When revamping your resume, remember to include relevant experience and keywords that align with the types of jobs you will apply to.

Update your LinkedIn

This will be one of the first places hiring managers go when they are interested in your resume. So taking the time to make your profile stand out will definitely pay off. When creating your LinkedIn profile, be sure to have:

  • A professional headline: Just below your name you’re given space to make a solid first impression. Think about what makes you, you.

  • A headshot: Your profile is 20 times more likely to be viewed if you have a photo. Your photo should be a high-quality headshot and not a selfie. Just think about it, would you follow someone on social media who didn’t have a photo? Yeah, me neither.

  • A summary: You have this dedicated space to tell your own story in your own words, and you shouldn’t take this lightly. Take this opportunity to tell the world what makes you dope, and why they should connect with you.

  • Your experience: If you don’t have work experience yet, discuss your experience working on school projects or on special projects outside of school. Also, later in your profile, you can discuss your volunteer experience as well.

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Tap into your network

The holidays are an excellent time to reach out to your network — especially those who are working at companies or in a field you’re hoping to break into. Check in with your mentors or former coworkers in an authentic way before asking right away for help or advice.

Prepare to be patient

In a normal job market, the job search is a game of hurry up and wait, but in a global pandemic, things will move slowly. Try to practice patience with companies and with yourself. You are likely to face a good amount of rejection, so mentally prepare for this process. Remember: Professional rejection happens to everyone and it doesn’t reflect on who you are as a person.

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