Similar to the "5 Dream Companies" exercise, if you're stuck on what kind of job or company you see yourself going next, make a list of your non-negotiables - 5 Must-Have's, and 5 Must-NOT-Have's. In other words, what aspects do you know you need in a new position to be happy there, and what 5 aspects are you not willing to tolerate, or know you need to avoid? It'll help cut through the clutter.
Getting started on your job hunt always seems like such an ordeal. There are so many job descriptions to comb through! Cover letters to write! Emails to send! Companies to reach out to!
Meanwhile, it’s Sunday afternoon, and the couch and your almost-full DVR are looking pretty enticing.
Well, while finding and landing your dream job does take some time and effort, there’s no reason you can’t get started with some baby steps. In other words, go ahead and start that Breaking Bad or football marathon, and do these seven easy activities on the commercial breaks. You won’t have to leave the couch—but you’ll have a head start when you do start job hunting (next week).
1. Add 10 New Connections on LinkedIn
Click on over to your LinkedIn profile and make a few easy updates. Add some new connections, update your photo to something recent and professional, and join a couple of groups in your industry. Updating your profile is actually a perfect activity to do bit by bit—adding 50 new connections and joining 12 new groups in the same day sends a pretty loud “Hey! I’m job searching!” message to your current boss and co-workers (probably not a good thing).
2. Plan a Date With Your Resume
You don’t have to update your resume—today, anyway. But because this can be really easy to keep putting off, look at your calendar for the week ahead and set aside a two-hour block of time to update it with your latest and greatest accomplishments. (Have a friend who’s job-hunting? Invite him or her over and do it together.)
3. Pick Out 5 Dream Companies
Before you start honing in on specific positions, it’s important to get a sense of what type of company you’d like to work for. The best way to do so? Hop on over to the Companies section of The Muse and click away to peek inside the doors of amazing workplaces (think Warby Parker, Mashable, and Facebook). We promise: It’s as easy and fun as browsing Pinterest—and way more productive.
4. Find an Event to go to (or Plan One)
Check out the websites of nearby industry organizations and your alumni association, as well as Meetup, and find at least one networking event you can attend in the next few weeks.
Totally stumped? Plan one of your own. Invite five friends (ideally friends who work for interesting places), ask them to each bring two to three others, and host an event at your house or a nearby restaurant. You can facilitate the discussion—asking each guest to share a job search tip or talk about a current project—or just let everyone mix and mingle.
Related: 5 Tips for Networking on a Budget
5. Shop for a New Suit
Yep, here’s your permission to online-shop the day away. A job search means interviewing, and interviewing means you’ll need a great new outfit, right? Head on over to the J.Crew sale (or your clothier of choice) and pick yourself out some new duds.
6. Google Yourself
Because you can bet a hiring manager will. So, start any necessary internet clean-up now—you know, take down that old blog you haven’t updated in years, ask your friend to remove that questionable photo of you from his. (Hint: Sign out of any Gmail accounts first—they can affect the results you see.)
If you’re not easily found, or if someone else with the same name is instead, check out our article on building up an awesome web presence (and put a couple hours on the calendar to get started on that next week, too).
7. Sign Up for Our Kick Start Your Job Search Bootcamp
Here’s the easiest step of all (time commitment: 10 seconds): Sign up for our email-based job search class. It’s a seven-day boot camp with daily readings and homework designed to help you kick off your job search in just a week. But don’t worry—it starts tomorrow.