If you aren’t happy in your current position for any reason, you’ve got a better shot at finding a new gig today than you’ve had in years. Before you send off a resume, make sure you are presenting yourself as best you can. You may not be as prepared as you think, particularly if you haven’t looked for a new job in years.

  • Figure out what you really want. You need to become very clear on what will really make you happy. Determine what is missing from your current job: maybe it falls short on challenging work, a good boss, or money. And then list the characteristics you most want in your next job. Be as specific as you can when writing your list. For instance, noting that you want ‘more money’ is less useful than writing ‘a 100K minimum salary.’
  • Polish your profiles. Review how you appear online. Bring all your profiles up to date–from Google+ to Twitter to associations and alumni groups. Upload a new and professional photo, join any groups on LinkedIn or other platforms that will expand your knowledge of what is going on in your industry, and start writing, sharing and commenting on posts.
  • Get your story straight. You can’t get what you want unless you both know what it is and can convince people you should have it. Enter the elevator pitch. Crafting one will help you focus on your goal and encapsulate your past in an effective way. Use it to introduce yourself to people as you network, and to break the ice at interviews. Perfect a written version for your cover letters and social profiles
  • Redo your resume. Whether it needs a complete overhaul or a few new keywords, your resume likely needs some work. Make sure it tells the story of what you have accomplished with clear statements that include results. Check  your spelling and proofread. Having a professional review your resume is a good idea, especially if you haven’t used it in years or are changing careers. And save a version in Google docs or somewhere else so you can send quickly wherever you happen to be.
  • Focus. While it is good to be open to opportunities, if you don’t have clear targets you can easily get sidetracked by offers that aren’t really right for you or waste a lot of time. Focus on what you want and put in the time and energy needed to get it. Yes, it is work.

Watch the small stuff. You are always making an impression, so don’t neglect the little things that might suggest you aren’t serious about your job hunt or are unprofessional. Have your business cards ready. Be sure your email address is either your own domain or gmail.com, and that your signature is complete with links to social media, your website or portfolio, and your phone number. Send thank you notes. Get a haircut or go to the gym or do whatever makes you feel prepared and confident. If it sounds silly, well, do it anyway. It all adds up