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Ways to Search for a New Job

Man searches for new job by updating his resume and networking.

It’s cliché, but true: Finding a job is a full-time job. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re in a mid-career job change, plan to spend at least 30 to 40 hours a week researching, networking and applying for new positions.

In the meantime, keep receipts related to your job search. Some costs might be tax-deductible.

1. Reflect

If your job change is unexpected, looking for a new position might feel daunting. But, once you’re in the situation, there’s not much you can do except move forward. You might even look at this as an opportunity. Think seriously about your interests and skills. Take personality tests. Journal about your dream job. Is there something you’ve been wanting to do, like go back to school or start a business? This might be your chance.

2. Research

If you’re considering changing professions, use free online tools from the U.S. Department of Labor and other trusted sources to see data on expected salaries, education requirements and the country’s fastest-growing occupations.

  • Read local business news and check out your city’s website for insights into economic development. Which companies are growing or moving into your area? Go to those companies’ websites directly to find job postings.
  • Reach out to local, county and state agencies for job assistance and job training programs. Call 2-1-1 or visit if you don’t know where to start.

3. Refresh Your Resume

Make sure your resume is factual, free of typos and easy to read. Have at least one other person review it. If you have skills in different industries, you probably will have multiple resumes. For example, one resume for office work and another for restaurant work.

  • Tailor your resume and cover letter to the specific job. Remove jobs that don’t apply. But be prepared to answer questions about gaps in your work history.
  • Emphasize your most relevant skills. Use the job posting to guide you on keywords to include.
  • Less is more. Keep your resume to one page. Limit job duties to a few bullets for each position.
  • Make it personal. (But not too personal.) A little bit of personality goes a long way. Unless you’re a performer, there’s probably no need for a headshot.

CareerOneStop’s Resume Guide is a free government site to help you update or create a resume.

4. (Social) Network

No one posts Help Wanted signs in the window anymore. Online job boards and email applications are the norm. But even that process is evolving, as more job seekers and employers turn to social media.

Your social media is on display when you’re job hunting. Potential employers are likely to look you up online — even if you don’t include this information on your resume. Clean up anything questionable in your feeds and check your privacy settings to see what is visible to the general public.

Update your LinkedIn profile (or create one). Optimize it by customizing your own URL, adding a summary and writing a descriptive headline. Facebook has a jobs portal for employers and job seekers. Use hashtags or type “jobs” into the search bar on Twitter.

Of course, you might still find a job the old-fashioned way — through your real-life friends, family and former colleagues. Spread the word at your church or synagogue, clubs and civic organizations. Attend networking events in your desired industry. You never know when a personal connection might open a professional door.

[Any reference to a specific company, commercial product, process or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement or recommendation by the National Endowment for Financial Education.]