Finishing Your Job Search Plan Lists – Lesson 2

Job Search Planning Lesson 2When I was in college I worked part time in a bank as a teller (long before automated coin counters were invented). I remember this guy coming into the branch with this huge plastic bag filled with coins he had collected.  Of course we did not take loose coins and I gave this guy a bunch of coin wrappers so that he could wrap the coins before trying to deposit them. As he walked away with the coin wrappers and his huge bag of coins, the bag broke and there were hundreds of coins rolling all over the floor of the bank. It took this poor guy well over an hour (on his hands and knees) to collect all of his coins.  He had the right idea, he wanted to deposit his coins in his account. He just had a poor plan for doing this. Had he just come into the bank to pick up the wrappers and rolled his coins at home rather than bringing his bag of coins . . . well, you get the point.

Job Search Plans are much the same. While you may have all good intentions in launching your search, a poorly executed plan will most likely have you chasing hundreds of leads (like that guy’s coins on the floor) without any real benefit.

In Lesson # 1 – Planning for Your Job Search, we discussed the first three steps in starting our plan. Lesson #2 will cover the remaining lists and documents needed to complete your job search plan. Future lessons will go into greater detail

Other Job Search Documents:

    • The lost art of writing a cover letter – why do you need one? A cover letter is your introduction. It can be the single reason why your resume is (or is not) considered. Even if you have the best resume in the world with the most amazing work experience, a missing or poorly written cover letter may ruin any chance at getting your resume seen by the right people. In an economy where there is high unemployment, tons of competition and few jobs to go around, hiring managers are being very selective about the few people they will hire. With sometimes hundreds of resumes to sort through, a cover letter may be all they have time to review in considering whether or not to read your resume. Here are some resources to get you started:
  • Thank You Notes:
    • It might seem silly to some, but Thank You note  (or emails) are very important.  There are some hiring managers who will eliminate a candidate if they don’t send a thank you note.  The general rule of thumb is always send a thank you letter. The benefit of sending a Thank Your letter is twofold.  First, it obviously allows you to thank the interviewer(s) for spending the time to meet with you.  But the real benefit, to both you and the interviewer, is to show your interest in the job, show that you listened to specifics raised during the interview, but most importantly, to reiterate why there is a perfect match between the job requirements and your skill set.While you can use a Thank You note template and repeat some portion of the note, you will need to personalize each note to the person, topics discussed and specifics about the job requirements and your qualifications. Great resources to get started:


The Rest of Your Lists: Your remaining lists are the core of your job search action plan – who you will contact, where you will conduct your search and who you can depend on for a great reference.

  • Your Network (list):
    • Networking is by far, your second most important job search tool (the first being your resume). Networks allow you to establish relationships with people in your industry in different companies and locations. The more people you know, the more likely it is that you will find out about potential job opportunities. Even if calling people (or writing people) is not your strong point (or maybe you don’t feel comfortable doing it) you can still become a networking pro.
    • Your Network action plans should look something like this:
      • Step 1 – Review and update your profile on your Network (LinkedIn should be one of your primary network sites).
      • Step 2 – Review your network. Add people you know who can help with your search and reconnect with those already in your network.
      • Step 3 – Make a lost of those connections: who are working at a company where you would like to work, who have connections and can help you find opportunities or who are experienced and can offer career and job search advice.
    • Resources to help you make the best of your job search network:
  • Recruiter List:
    • Most recruiters have several “inside” links to hiring managers who trust them and have been happy with the quality of candidates that they’ve provided. A list of good recruiters who specialize in your industry is a key component in your job search. I’m of the school of ‘more is more” (for job search that is), so the more you have the better your chance of landing a job. Of course I’m not talking about hundreds of recruiters, but pick a handful that will work best for you and add them to your recruiter list.
  • Job Search Boards:
    • Tread carefully here, it is so easy to get caught up in spending 100% of your job search time “applying” to jobs you see on Job Search Boards. As with the items above, make a small list of those job search boards that provide the best “hits” for your career / job type. Three to four job search sites at most (and I would lean towards three).  LinkedIn’s job search feature should probably be one of your three.  More on how best to leverage job search boards in future lessons. Some resources on how to pick the best job search sites for you:
  • References:
    • Your list of references should be a quick and easy list to put together. While it might feel like this is a list you will need later in the process, there are some recruiters and HR staff that ask for these up front. Make sure that all of your references (a list of 5 should be sufficient) are aware that you’ve listed them as a resource and are comfortable providing positive feedback on you (I cannot stress this enough). Some information on who to include on your reference list:

Your Job Search Plan: Once you’ve completed the items in this lesson you are ready to put your plan to work. More on that in Lesson # 3.


We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

Good luck in your search,
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