Best Job Search Advice: Building a Job Search Plan
It is easy for a job seeker to spend several hours aimlessly researching and reviewing information to only end up with a very small step forward to achieve the job she desires. The problem lies in the fact that there is no plan – a job search plan.
If you are managing a project on the job, you would have a plan with timelines and goals. So every job seeker should have a job search plan clearly established. With a job search plan in place, time and effort is spent effectively and efficiently to achieve the goal of securing a job opportunity you desire in as little time as possible.
Time is money. While you may be unemployed, the time you spend job searching should be treated no differently than a real job that pays into the piggy bank.
There are many components that go into a job search plan. Here are some tips to help you get the ball rolling:
1. Determine how much time you want to put towards your job search effort each day or week.
Studies say that if you are unemployed, then you should spend 30-40 hours per week on your job search. If you are employed, try 10-20 if you can.
Regardless, set expectations for the amount of time you will spend. Whether you choose two hours a day or 25 hours a week for your job search effort, you now have a base to work with to organize what you need to do and how much time you need to spend to ensure you are successful.
2. Allocate your available time wisely.
There are a number of steps in a successful job search. It can range from preparing your resume, LinkedIn Profile and other relevant documents, spending time to research opportunities, applying to those opportunities and conducting follow-up on your submissions or communicating with potential employers.
Remember, that after the resume and LinkedIn Profile are completed, there are only a few ways to get it in front of people and you should allocate the appropriate time to each.
a. Job Boards
c. Direct contact through networking
d. Direct contact through direct mail letters (mostly for executives)
Most people spend all their time on job boards which is the most competitive arena and puts you at the mercy of the Applicant Tracking Systems that rank your resume.
Networking is the most effective way to get a job so, after learning how to network effectively (it is a lot more than just asking friends to help you get a job), you should spend some time in this category.
3. Create goals
A plan has to have measurable goals and these can include:
a. I will spend X hours looking at job boards.
b. I will spend Y hours building and reaching out to my network
c. I will call 5 contacts per week
d. I want to achieve 2 interviews per week.
4. Keep a log of your work.
No matter how good your memory is, you will still need to log your job search activities. This runs from who you applied to, a general description of the position, and when you initiated your interest or application, to the latest status update, such as when you need to follow up or when you last spoke with the employer and the next steps from there.
By creating a log of your job search activities and going back to it each time you are in the job search mode, you can recall where you left off as well as begin to see where your successes and failures sit. Are you seeing a significantly more positive response from employers when you use one cover letter or resume version over another?
If you are serious about securing the right job in a timely manner, you need a job search plan that is implemented wisely to make the most of your time and availability.