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Job search 101 – Coursera Blog

Welcome to another brand-new Career Chat series. Over the next several issues, we’ll be talking about searching for a job in a variety of circumstances, such as changing careers or returning to work after a career gap. But first, let’s spend some time taking a big-picture look at the broad steps for finding a job.

It’s important to remember what’s in your control and what’s out of your control when getting a job—particularly one you want. Some aspects, like role availability and competitive hiring pools, are out of your control. This series will help you focus on how to maximize your potential for success with the pieces that are in your control.

What you can do is set yourself up for success every step of the way. And if you’ve already started building your skills, you’re well on your way to success.

Here are the broad stages of any job search:

1. Clarify yourcareer goals. You may remember this from our resume series—the same rationale applies here. Knowing what you want to do, where you want to be, and why can make it easier to focus your job search efforts.

2. Identify yourkey job skills. Based on your career goals, check out open roles on LinkedIn and grow your network to learn about opportunities available to you. Get a feel for the companies that are hiring and the skills you’ll need to land a position.

3. Write your resume. Think of this document as your first introduction to potential employers. If you want more guidance on formatting and what to include, revisit our resume series for a section-by-section breakdown, learn how to use ChatGPT to write your resume, or check out SUNY Online’s 5-hour course, How to Write a Resume.

4. Apply for jobs.Job listings will typically outline everything you need to submit in order to be considered for a role. Be sure to follow instructions exactly as stated. You can typically expect to fill out online forms, upload your resume, write a cover letter, and submit work samples, depending on your desired role. If you are able to apply directly with the recruiter or hiring manager, take a look at our tips for writing a stand-out job application email.

5. Ace your interviews. Interviews are your opportunity to find out more about a position and show off what you can do. We’ll offer more concrete interview tips in an upcoming series, but for now, check out our best interview tips.

6. Follow up. It’s a good habit to send recruiters and hiring managers a follow-up email after an interview. At the very least, you can thank them for their time—but for roles you’re really excited about, it’s an opportunity to reiterate your enthusiasm and gather more details to make your decision.

7. Refine your process. A job search can take time, so it’s important to keep building skills, updating your resume, and reflecting on your goals. Set up job alerts to stay up-to-date on new job listings. Take time to consider and incorporate feedback you receive from recruiters. If you’re feeling stuck, here are some ways you can expand your job search, be that online, through networking, continuing career prep, or seeking a counselor.

If you’re feeling stalled on any one of these steps, it may help to examine the step directly before it in addition to the step you’re stuck on. For example, if you’re applying for jobs and not getting any interviews, take a closer look at your resume and make sure it’s optimized for the positions you’re applying for; or if you’re uninspired throughout the interview process, consider whether the jobs you’re applying for really align with the job you want.

Where to begin

We’ve linked to step-specific resources above, but here are a couple recommendations to encourage forward movement at any stage of your job search:

To strengthen a variety of in-demand skills, try the University of California, Irvine’s Career Success Specialization. Here, you’ll explore skills employers are looking for like project management, communication, negotiation, and problem-solving.

To figure out your next career move, check out UC Santa Cruz’s The Career Design Lab: Change your Job, Change your Life course. As you progress through the modules, you’ll clarify what you want in your next role and how you can go about getting it.

To present yourself as you want to be seen, try the University of Michigan’s Personal Branding: Stand Out and Succeed course. In 10 hours, you’ll learn how to translate your values into a personal brand that moves you closer to achieving your goals.

If you’d like additional tips for any of the steps above, let us know in the comments and we’ll try to offer more resources. Remember that the Coursera Community is also there for you to help navigate roadblocks.

Next week, we’ll offer tips for applying for entry-level roles. See you then!



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