A friend of mine (let’s call him Phil) just started his job search and he asked me to review his resume. When I started talking with Phil about his resume, I realized that he had not given any thought as to the type of company he wanted to work at, the types of jobs he was considering, where he would start his search (recruiters, job search sites, etc.) or any other aspect of his job search other than his resume. While your resume is the most important document in your job search and you certainly can’t start your search without an updated resume, you definitely should not start your search until you’ve come up with a high level approach or job search plan. Starting your job search without a plan is akin to putting on your shoes and then picking the socks you are going to wear.
There are many reasons to launch a job search: not satisfied with your current job/salary, your company is not doing well or possibly you’ve just been let go. Many of us know that feeling – you’ve just lost your job and you need to land a new one as soon as possible. Your first thought is to apply to as many jobs as possible and to send you resume to everyone you know. Whatever the reason for your job search, and no matter how urgent your need to look for a new job may seem, you will save tons of time and aggravation if you first spend a little time planning out your job search approach. A good job search plan will help you land a new job as quickly as possible.
This article is the first in a series of “lessons” to help you create and execute your job search plan. This post will focus on what you need to create your plan. Lesson 2 will go into more depth on each item.
Your Job Search Plan – You can’t execute on a plan if you don’t have one. Don’t worry, this is not about spending all of your time creating a plan, but you do need to know how, where and what you will do in your job search. Your “plan” is essentially to create the lists you will need to get your job search started. You need to create lists of (don’t forget to prioritize within each list):
What You Will Need:
- Documents you will need (your job search marketing plan):
- Resume(s) – Probably more than one, more on this in Lesson #2
- Supporting documents – A short list of your resume (company names, education and internships with start and end dates)
- Cover Letters
- Thank You notes
- Lists you will create:
- Your strengths and weaknesses
- Jobs you are qualified to apply for
- Companies where you would like to work (including those that are in your industry)
- Your Network (friends, family, current and former coworkers)
- Recruiters for your industry/field
- Job search boards (we will keep this list short)
- Other actions you will take:
- Utilize you College Career Office (ton’s of resources)
- Build and leverage your Network (friends, family, LinkedIn, etc.)
- Prepare your marketing materials (Resume, Cover Letters, interview questions)
- Prepare your marketing plan (companies, recruiters, job boards, etc.)
Where to Start:
Your first step will be to create some of your lists (see below). This will enable you to create a resume that best matches your qualifications and will provide the best chance for landing a job quickly.
Step 1 – Make a list of jobs you are qualified to apply for. This should include jobs that are at your current level as well as the next level up.
Step 2 – Research companies where you would like to work (and that have your type of job). Make a list and prioritize (favorite to least favorite).
Step 3 – Create or update your resume based on the lists in steps 1 and 2.
More on this in Lesson 2. To get you started, take a look at the resources listed above.
Career Tip of the Day:
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Good luck in your search,