Job Search Checklist

This checklist is designed to help you think through the different aspects of your job search and present a variety of strategies for a successful search.

Jump to:

Initial Questions
Target Companies and Job Types
What Makes You Distinctive?
Professional Brand
Advertised Job Market
Hidden Job Market
Professional Organizations
Alumni Network

Initial Questions

  • What are the reasons you have decided to seek a new position?
  • What have you done so far to find a new position?
  • From what you have done so far, what seems to be working? Not working?
  • Do you want travel to be a regular part of your job? How much and what kind of travel?
  • What kind of work do you want to do?
    • What kind of field or industry?
    • What kind of organization?
    • What would be your “ideal job?”
    • Are you open to relocation? If so, where?

Target Companies and Job Types

  • Make a list of 10 to 20 companies you want to target in your search
  • Find 3-6 job descriptions for the kinds of positions that interest you, whether or not you plan to apply for them. Pay attention to keywords used in these descriptions, and use them in your search and in creating your marketing materials.  

What Makes You Distinctive?

  • If I had your ideal job, why should I hire you?
  • How would you help me make money, save money, achieve my mission?
  • What do you have to offer that sets you apart from other potential applications?
  • What have you brought to previous jobs that others in that position have not?

Professional Brand

  • Email address- is it professional?
  • Voicemail message- is it professional?
  • Elevator Speech – how do you respond when someone says “Tell me about yourself”?
  • Do you have personal business cards
  • Resume - Is it up to date? Are you tailoring it to fit each position?
  • Cover Letter - Are you submitting a tailored cover letter with your resume?
  • Do you have professional references? Have you kept in touch with them?
  • Salary Range - Have you researched the market rate for your field? Do you have a salary goal in mind? Are you prepared to negotiate?
  • LinkedIn Presence - Is your LinkedIn profile professional and complete?
  • Online Presence – what do people see when they Google you? What does your social media presence say about you? Are you aware of your privacy settings?

Advertised Job Market

  • How and where are you finding open positions?
  • How are you applying? Are you tailoring your resume?
  • What do you know about Applicant Tracking Systems?
  • How are you keeping track of your job search?
    • How many hours per week?
    • How do you plan your weekly goals?
  • Have you worked with any recruiters?
    • Which recruiters, in what organizations?
    • How has that worked for you?

Hidden Job Market

  • Make a list of people you already know, and who they may know that can be good contacts for you.
  • Meet with people in your field – ask for advice, not for a job. Refer to this list of questions to ask in an informational interview: 


  • Charleston SC SCORE is an organization that partners with the CofC Career Center to provide mentorship and workshops for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Professional Organizations

  • What are the professional organizations for the fields or industries in which you want to work?
  • What organizations are potential hiring managers involved in?
  • Have you used the job boards on these organizations’ web sites?
  • Have you joined LinkedIn groups associated with these organizations?

Alumni Network

*Adapted from La Salle University Alumni Career Programs