Job Search Like a Pro: Steps to a Successful Job Search

At Commas, we work with many individuals who are focused on their #careergoals. For some, that may mean they are killing it in their current job and focusing on continued growth in that role. For others, it may mean seeking that new opportunity. And for anyone who has been on the job hunt before, we all know that it can be a full-time job landing that new job. 

I recently sat down with professional career coach Dana Morgan of Dana Morgan Career Coaching to learn about the steps needed to conduct a successful job search. We tackled five questions that job seekers often have when starting a new search.  

When someone is ready to change jobs, where should they start? 

The good news is that in today’s active job market, there are many openings at all levels across a variety of professions. It’s a red-hot market, but the competition is hot, too. The average professional-level job posting pulls in well over 100 resumes. Most companies will select maybe 6-8 out of those 100 applicants to interview, which means over 90% of resumes don’t make it past the initial screening. With this level of competition, it’s important to present yourself as the best of the best

So, as you get started with your search and want to seize all the great possibilities out there, you need to know what you’re looking for – easy for some, not so easy for others – and then ensure that your resume clarifies what you bring to the table in relation to the jobs you are targeting. Don’t underestimate the resume’s power to make or break your search! 

But what if they don’t know what they want to do next? 

It can be difficult to struggle in a career that you don’t find fulfilling. Or to be graduating from college and feel somewhat lost about what your options are in the professional arena. 

This is where a professional career coach can make an impact. A good coach will help you organize your thoughts around what’s next. They can take all the possibilities you’re considering and clarify real, concrete steps to identify where you want to go and how you can get there.  

It’s important for a coach to establish a partnership with you, to ask the right questions, and really listen carefully to analyze your unique situation and develop a bigger picture perspective. If needed, assessments can be helpful to identify preferences and strengths that a jobseeker can leverage, and then weave in work experience, college coursework, life circumstances, and the current job market to identify career goals.  

LinkedIn is vital to a successful search in today’s market. Many mid-career people share that they haven’t spent much time on LinkedIn (understandably so, they are busy in their current jobs!). In addition to being a job board with great postings, LinkedIn works in other ways for job seekers: 

  • It serves as a platform for you to present yourself to potential employers. Just by having an effective LinkedIn profile out there, recruiters with good job matches will be scouting the platform.  
  • It’s a great research tool! LinkedIn can help you find valuable connections at specific companies and allow you to connect with individuals that may be in your larger network.  
  • LinkedIn Learning offers courses to help upgrade or refresh certain skills, especially technical ones. If you have a library card, you may be able to access the entire suite of over 16,000 LinkedIn Learning courses for free.  

Are there other ways that job seekers can make themselves stand out?  

Oftentimes a job search can come down to who you know. This can be discouraging for some who may think they don’t know anybody who is in a powerful position to help them land the job they want. But it is true that a referral – an inside connection – is very helpful to the success of your candidacy. The good news is that an effective networking plan simply starts with your friends. It’s your neighbors, your family, your fellow soccer moms, your bowling buddies.  

In each of those cases, you just need to know how to have the right conversation. You’ll be amazed at how much people want to help. And many companies may even offer referral bonuses to people who introduce a candidate who gets hired.  

About 70% of professional level jobs are found through referrals, so learning to leverage your network in a comfortable, easy way can really pay off in terms of job search success.  

A thorough job search may truly feel like a full-time job. But if you keep your “why” in mind throughout the interviews and networking events and social media posts, we think you’ll have your best chance in landing that next great opportunity. And when you do get that offer, be sure to check out our post on how to compare job offers to make sure you get what you want to meet your financial and professional goals. 

Commas is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Truepoint Inc., a fee-only Registered Investment Adviser (RIA). Registration as an adviser does not connote a specific level of skill or training. More detail, including forms ADV Part 2A and Form CRS filed with the SEC, can be found at Neither the information, nor any opinion expressed, is to be construed as personalized investment, tax or legal advice.