Most of us feel grateful that changing jobs is a temporary situation. Once you land a new position, you can turn off email alerts about jobs in your field and stop writing cover letters.
From writing down accomplishments to broadening your network, there’s plenty you can do while in your current position to make your next job search easier. Here are seven strategies to try.
1. Track Your Accomplishments
Get in the habit of writing down your accomplishments and any additional responsibilities that get added to your regular to-do list at work. Updating a resume can be challenging because it’s hard to remember day-to-day details, like the fact that two summers ago, you made a vital contribution that helped the sales team land a big contract.
Tip: Make it easier on your future self. Using a notebook or the Notes app on your phone, keep a running list as these events occur.
Not only will you be grateful for it during your year-end review (or if you want to ask for a promotion), but it’ll come in handy if you leave the company abruptly and don’t have access to your work email.
2. Learn New Skills
Is there an opportunity to learn a new program or system? Get trained on how to be a good manager? Take advantage of these moments as well as of projects that will help develop and broaden either your soft or hard skills. Consider checking if your company covers the cost of classes, certification, and other work-related skill-building activities. Increasing your skills is a helpful way to build out your resume and will improve your chances of getting hired.
Tip: To hiring managers, a candidate who shows initiative in learning new things — and one who does not require a lot of training — is quite appealing.
3. Broaden Your Network
Think of your office as a networking goldmine. Working with the same people gives you an opportunity to show who you are as a worker (and to make connections while talking about TV shows by the coffee pot). Take advantage of these opportunities to connect, and look for ways to interact with people outside of your department, too.
Basically, you want to show your face not just in your cubicle, but around the office and during social gatherings. This might mean spending at least some of your lunch hours in communal areas instead of eating at your desk or running errands. Need help gearing up for social exchanges? Take a look at networking tips for introverts.
4. Connect on Social Media
As you build relationships, connect with people on LinkedIn. You can do this early on; there’s no need to wait until you kick off a job search to connect with co-workers. With these connections in place, you can easily keep in touch if you, or others, leave for a different company.
5. Build a Good Relationship with Your Manager
If there’s one person you want to get along with, it’s your direct supervisor. Do everything you can to be in alignment and have a strong, positive, productive relationship. A good manager will help you achieve your goals, from recommending you for interesting projects (which will look good on your resume later) to advocating for your promotion.
6. Do Your Job Well
Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Taking your current role seriously and doing your work enthusiastically and thoroughly will improve your chances of being visible in your company. (More on that below.) Plus, if you are engaged with your work and do it passionately, you’ll have lots of meaningful anecdotes to share during job interviews instead of racking your brain for examples of successful projects and relationships with team members.
7. Make Sure People Know When You Get Things Done
Okay, this is a delicate line. Nobody likes a braggart, so you shouldn’t boast about your accomplishments. But you also shouldn’t be so modest that no one realizes that you did something meaningful or instrumental.
Tip: One way to get your accomplishments acknowledged: Let your manager do the heavy lifting for you.
Share details with your manager (in a factual, not boastful way), and allow them to send emails praising you or note your contributions in meetings and conversations with other higher-ups.
The reason you want people to be well aware of what you’re getting done at work is so that you’ll be remembered by colleagues and seen in a positive light. This will make them feel comfortable serving as a reference and also referring you for positions in the future.