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There are some basic tips you can follow to target job search tasks versus results.
Once you decide to start a job search, your first thought is to apply to as many jobs as possible (especially if you are out of work). No matter how urgent your need to look for a new job may seem, you will save 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.
As I mentioned in the Overview article, building a plan 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 a number of lists and documents you will need to get your job search started.
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You will need to:
- Create lists of where you will send your resumes (friends, family, former coworkers, companies, recruiters, references, and job search sites)
- Create and update all of your job search documents (resumes, cover letters, and thank you notes)
- Draft your plan of action (who you will contact first, how you will spend your time, etc.)
While this may sound a little overwhelming and very time-consuming, the more time you spend on the three items above, the quicker you will land your new dream job.
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The first step in your planning is to create all of the lists you will need to focus your search.
Lists you will create:
Your Strengths, Accomplishments, and Weaknesses – Make a list of what are you good at and where do you need some additional training or experience. You can use an aptitude resource to help (try Aptitude Test Practice – Tailored for Your Job Position and Industry). In addition to helping you focus your search, this list will also be a resource when reviewing and writing (or updating)
Jobs that match
Companies where you would like to work (including those that are in your industry) – Make your list of companies where you would like to work. Once you have this list, do some research to find competitors and add those companies to your list as well. Not really sure where you want to work? No worries, take a look at job postings on some job search boards and start with those companies.
Your Network (friends, family, current and former coworkers) – This is your most important resource for leads, recommendations, and advice. If you are using LinkedIn, your list should already be well established. If you are not yet using LinkedIn, take a look at this article – 5 Tips for Creating a Professional LinkedIn Profile. Once you’ve got
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Recruiters for your industry/field – Recruiters are an important resource that requires minimal time other than the initial meeting. Creating a list requires some research on your part. There are a few links you can leverage to build your list (see the links below). More detail to follow on leveraging your Recruiter network.
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References – Your references can make or break you, so you want to be sure you pick the right ones. They must be representative of your career and social networks. The general rule of thumb is to avoid relatives, but you should definitely leverage “friends of the family”. You also should have a fair representation of peers, subordinates, and managers. There is more to consider about references than just giving a list of names. What happens if they run a reference check on you? I don’t recommend putting references on
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