10 Steps to Start Job Search from Scratch

Whether you are just starting your career or looking for the next challenge in your career, a well planned job search will not just help you to stay on track but also help in keeping your morale up.

Finding a job is not same any more as it used to be, probably a decade ago. There is high availability of talent pool, it’s not that the talent pool was not there earlier, but recruiters have better visibility into the talent pool, thanks to social media tools like LinkedIn,Twitter and Facebook.

When you starting job search from scratch, structure the job search by following these simple steps. So let’s get started

1. Set Expectations

Most of you will start the job search with an expectation that, you will apply for few jobs on LinkedIn or other job portals and that all is required to get started.

Few days pass by and you don’t get any response from the recruiter of the company.You apply for few more jobs and the only thing  you hear is crickets.

I am not saying that this will happen to you because you are not qualified, but it could happen for various reasons. For example, you might be overqualified for the job or the company didn’t do a good job at defining what they are looking for.

It could happen for various reasons, but when this happens it could impact your morale and lead to job search frustration. So set the following expectations

Time: Know that it takes time,finding a job is a job in itself and it needs time and discipline.

Morale: Keep your morale up, just because you didn't get the call back from the recruiter, doesn't mean that you are not a qualified candidate.

Planning: Know that you need to plan to spend time every day of the week on the job search. So set aside 1-2 hours everyday to dedicate to your job search. you could be applying for new jobs or following up with recruiters in this time.

Breaks: Plan on taking break from your job search, if you continue your job search for too long, you will be burnt out and demoralized.


2. Define Requirements For Your Next Job

It might seem to be an overkill, but without clearly defined job requirements, you might be applying to most of the available jobs. If you have clearly defined job requirements, that not only helps you in keeping your job search focussed but also get better response to your job applications. So let’s look at some of the requirements

Startup or established Company: This is dependent on your personal choice and risk appetite. Some people prefer to join established companies because of the certainty and some people prefer to join startups because of the thrill involved in building something from scratch.

Proximity to Home: How far you want to travel for work. You might live in an area where traffic is not a problem and you are open to a long commute or vice versa

Culture: This is the most overlooked aspect and of course difficult to figure out for you as an outsider. You often hear from recruiters, that the candidate should be a cultural fit but I believe the same is true for you as job applicant, that you pick a company culture which will help you thrive in your career

Career growth: Same job title across two companies could mean two different things. So make sure you are clear about your expectations from career growth perspective. For example, if you were managing a team of procurement professionals in the past job, do you need the same in the next job or are you OK being an individual contributor.

3. Define Your Target Companies

Based on your job criteria, find companies which matches your job criteria. Linkedin could be a good starting point to find companies which matches your criteria.

  1. Go to LinkedIn and select companies in the search bar on the top.

  2. Then apply relevant filters to see the companies.

  3. In the screenshot below, you can see companies who are hiring on LinkedIn and in San Francisco Bay area.


There are other relevant filter you can use to make your search more focussed.

Once you have identified target companies, rate them based on difficulty to get in and your preference. For example, everyone wants a job at Facebook and Google so difficulty level for those companies is High.


Target Companies.png

Needless to say, you need to focus companies  with Low to Medium difficulty and high preference (1-2).


4. Review Open Jobs

Once you have identified your target companies, see what are the skillsets required by these companies. You can do this in the following ways.

  1. See the available jobs on your target companies websites, and list down the skill sets these companies are looking for in your niche.

  2. Search job boards for available jobs in your industry and target companies and see skills and qualification requirements.

  3. Use industry research reports to see what skill sets are required by most companies. For example, Hireo recently compiled a Procurement Job Market Report which list the top skill sets required for Strategic Sourcing jobs.


5. Revise Your Resume

Update your resume to highlight the skills required in the current job market. When revising your resume, start by focussing on your achievements/results rather than career objectives. People care more about what you bring to the table rather than what is your career goal. For example, for procurement professionals, it could be spend under management and savings delivered.

If your resume is missing certain skill sets, then gain those skill sets before you put them on your resume. There are lot of industry specific sites focussed on new skill set learning. For example, at Hireo we cover lof of topics starting from 7 Step Strategic Sourcing Process to Supplier Risk Management.

6. Update your Social Media Profile

Recruiters use social media a lot to find potential candidates. At Least you should be active on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

There is lot of information available on web on how to build a great LinkedIn profile or twitter or Facebook profile, so I will not get into that, but make sure your Facebook profile is clean from profanity.

Getting active on social media means, sharing content/updates which reflects your area of interest. Basically, if a recruiter is reviewing your profile, they should be able to see what are your areas of interest. I personally don’t think that sharing quiz,photos etc. goes a long way on LinkedIn but you be the judge of that.


7. Connect With Your Network

The time for building a network is before you start your job search, so always be networking with others. There are lot of ways to build and connect with your network frequently

  • LinkedIn is a good place to get started.LinkedIn original purpose was networking.

  • You can join local meetup groups related to your niche.

  • You can join local chapters of Industry associations. For example ISM for Supply Chain Professionals.

8. Start Applying For Jobs

Once you have completed the above steps you are ready for applying for jobs.

  • You can apply on job boards like Indeed.com or on LinkedIn.

  • You can review company sites for your target companies and see what positions are available.

  • You can send your resume to people you know in your target companies. So in case a position opens up, they can refer you to the hiring manager.

  • You can register on industry specific marketplace. For example Hired is a marketplace for connecting technical talent with startups, similarly Hireo is a marketplace for connecting Procurement & Supply Chain talent with Hiring Managers.

9. Track and Follow up  

Get organized with your job search by creating a job tracker so that you don’t lose track of all the applications.

It serves two purposes

  • You can track which type of jobs are generating any response.

  • Identify next steps regarding a job application.

A sample job tracker is as follows


Job Tracker.png

Fields like Job Id are helpful when following up with recruiters.


10. Assess The Situation And Take A Break

Plan to assess the situation and take any corrective actions. Things to look for

  • What is your application to response ratio. if it is too low, look at the potential causes and take required corrective action. For example, you might be applying for jobs in highly competitive companies or your resume needs to be updated.

  • What is your response to interview ratio. If it is too low, then it means your resume is generating interest but probably you need to brush up your interviewing skills.


Not reaching your goals can lead to frustration and low morale, and it happens in job search too. When you hit that roadblock, take a break from job search for a week or two, assess your situation, take any required corrective action  and then start applying again.

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net