The Great Unknown

How to Prepare for an Unexpected Job Search

A glance at the newspaper headlines in the past few months tells a disturbing story. Whether or not one uses the dreaded "R" word, it's clear that more and more companies are reevaluating their workforce. Instead of worrying about your job security, be proactive and lay the groundwork in case you should need to find a job quickly. A little planning can go a long way if you are faced with an emergency job search.

The following tips will help you prepare for an unexpected job search. At the same time, however, they are a great way to both update your network and assess your current situation.

Network everywhere you go, all the time

Networking is one of the most important aspects of a job search. By joining professional associations and attending its events, you will build your own personal network. When the time comes, you'll be able to reach out to people with whom you already have a professional relationship. Social networking sites such as LinkedIn are also an excellent way to keep up with contacts. They make it easy to stay in touch with former coworkers and connect to other people in your field.

Check in with your "affinity groups"

The link to college doesn't end at graduation. Most colleges and universities maintain extensive alumni networks. These databases can be used to connect to other alumni in your industry. You can either explore it more formally by looking for job openings or you can use it more informally by setting up informational interviews.

Keep your resume current

As your job evolves and your skill set grows, be sure to review and update your resume. Promotions, rewards, and important projects should be continually added. It is a living document that should reflect all the work you have put into your career. If and when the time comes, post your resume on several sites. The big sites are good for volume, but don't forget sites that specialize in jobs in your geographic area and your industry. View's Job Resources.

Research the value of your skills and experience on the talent market. The Salary Wizard is a great place to start.