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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.
Apply to your next job with confidence.
While other books focus only on crafting the perfect résumé or cover letter, the truth is, you need a strategy for the entire job application process.
A strategy that communicates your expereinces, achievements, and results in a way that provides value to hiring managers.
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) your resume. The list of strengths and accomplishments also comes in handy for your interviews.
Jobs that match your skills and experience – No sense in applying for jobs where you don’t meet the requirements. Make a list of job titles (such as a sales manager or budgeting analyst) that clearly match your skills and experience. The list should include job titles you’ve already held as well as the next level up. As an example, if you are a sales clerk, maybe you should be looking at sales manager positions in your search.
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 your network list completed, prioritize the list based on those who are most likely to help you in your job search. Leveraging your network will be covered in more detail in the networking segment.
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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 your resume (a simple “references will be provided upon request”). Before finishing your list, speak to your references to ensure they feel comfortable providing references for you.
See how your resume stacks up! Our resume review will include three sections: (a) strengths of your resume, (b) areas to improve, and (c) the results of an ATS scan.