These resources are good places to start for many aspects of the job search. 

​It can be extremely helpful to work through and practice these skills and ideas with a mentor, social worker, or reentry volunteer.

If you would like to schedule an appointment, contact:

Jondhi Harrell, Fresh Start Program Manager

Table of Contents

  • Goal Setting

  • Job Search Checklist

  • The Opportunity to Compete Act

  • Job Searching Through the Internet

  • Job Searching Through Your Personal Network

  • Job Searching Through Cold Outreach

  • The Elevator Pitch

  • Building a Resume

  • Cover Letters

  • Interview





Goal Setting


Goal setting is an important part of the job-search process because it helps us understand where we want to go and see the paths toward getting there.


A large body of research has linked goal setting to success, as well as self-confidence, motivation, and autonomy. The bottom line is that goal setting helps reorganize and restructure your brain to make it more effective and committed. One study found that when people wrote down their goals, they were 33 percent more successful in achieving them than people who formulated outcomes in their heads.


When we set goals, the best goals are SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound). These qualities help translate where we want to go into a way to get there so as you set your goals, ask yourself if they are SMART!


It’s also helpful to think of goal setting as a three-step process:


Step 1: Setting Big-Picture Goals

Try to start by thinking big. These are goals we want to achieve in the next 5, 10, or even 20 years. They give us the perspective that shapes all other aspects of our decision making.


It might be helpful make goals specific to different aspects of the job-search process:


  1. Career – What level do you want to reach in your work and your career, or what do you want to achieve?


  1. Financial – How much do you want to earn, by what stage? How is this related to your career goals?


  1. Education – What information and skills will you need to have in order to achieve other goals? Is there any knowledge you want to acquire in particular? 


Step 2: Setting Step-by-Step Goals

Once we have our big-picture goals written down, we can work to repeat the process to develop goals for each step we need to reach our big-picture goals. We can create one-year plans, one-month plans, one-week plans, and daily plans to connect each of our big-picture goals to manageable steps we can take every day or every week. Each of these should be based on the previous plan and remember to make the goals SMART.


Step 3: Making Progress Toward Our Goals

Once we’re equipped with our big picture, and step-by-step goals, we’re ready to make progress toward our goals. 


It’s a great idea to share our goals with someone in our lives and make a plan to update them regularly about our progress. 


We can keep the process going by reviewing and updating our To-Do List on a daily basis.

Periodically review the longer term plans, and modify them to reflect changing priorities and experience. 

When we achieve a goal, we should take the time to enjoy the satisfaction of having done so. Absorb the implications of the goal achievement, and observe the progress that you’ve made towards other goals.


If the goal was a significant one, we can reward ourselves appropriately. All of this helps you build self-confidence we deserve.


With the experience of having achieved this goal, we can review our goal plans:


  • If the goal was too easy, make the next goal harder.

  • If the goal took a dispiriting length of time to achieve, make the next goal a little easier.

  • If we learned something that could change our other goals, do so.

  • If we noticed a deficit in our skills despite achieving the goal, we can decide whether to set goals to fix this.


For more information and tips about goal setting, this video can be helpful:















goals bullseye.png