hand building social network structureWhether you are a seasoned professional or a recent graduate, a job search is not something you should do alone. It is similar to rock climbing for the first time: You’ll need someone to spot you, hold the rope, look out for birds, and help to manage any other potential dangers.

In today’s competitive job search, who you know may be equally important as what you know. Here are the seven people you should never begin your job search without:

1. Mentor

Ah, a mentor – your guiding light and the person who helps you to put your best foot forward. Your job search mentor can give you objective perspectives on your career, help you increase your network, and perhaps even refer you for a job. A mentor is also indispensable after you land the job and begin to navigate your career.

2. References

Most, if not all jobs are going to ask for a professional reference from someone who knows you well. References don’t have to be previous employers. As a recent graduate, former professors can also serve as great references, helping to make the case for your work ethic and performance.

3. Volunteer supervisor

If you are unemployed, volunteering is a great way to stay busy and build connections. Though not a formal employer, if you show hard work, commitment, and dedication, your volunteer supervisor will take notice.

4. Professional proofreader

In an independent study of 50 resumes on Indeed.com, Grammarly found the following:

  • There are approximately five errors on a typical resume, the majority of which are grammatical.
  • Male job seekers make an average of more than six mistakes in their resume, while female job seekers average approximately four.

One word: Scary. Statistics indicate that you’ve likely sent out a resume with the wrong information at least once or twice. Make sure that you are editing any content you send to a potential employer before distributing. If you can, use an automated proofreader, a friend, or an editor to take one more look at your resume.

5. Your current/former employer

If you are amicably leaving your current job or have left your former job, it is ideal if your former employer can offer some support. In fact, some jobs and industries, such as nursing, usually require it. Be sure to include former employers in your job search to provide a reference.

6. Someone who has your dream job

That’s right; contact the person you’d like to become. Many jobs are filled before the job posting makes it to Craigslist, Linkedin, Monster, or another job board. By asking for an informational interview at an awesome company – or with someone who has a really desirable job – you can get a leg up by learning more about how to set yourself up to be the perfect candidate at your dream position. Talk about what skills you need to develop to be effective at the position; solicit feedback about your resume; learn more about the industry blogs you should read; and finally, inquire about the best way to find jobs in the industry.

7. Joe Schmoe and Jane Doe

Who are these people? Every single person that you meet is fair game to help you in your job search. Chat up the local mailman, or the businessman waiting in line with you for coffee. Find a natural way to mention you are looking for a job. You never know who you may meet, or who they may know!

Remember: A job search is something that should never be enjoyed (or suffered) alone. Invite your professional network, friends, family, and even strangers to help you find the perfect position. It truly takes a village.

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