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A friend of mine has been “looking for a job” for a very long time. When I pressed him on what he had actually done, his answer was “I’m going to ramp it up this week”. Job search by divine intervention generally doesn’t work and, at the end of the day, it’s all about getting things done. You can be an expert on a topic or have the best resume and experience in the world but if you don’t execute it doesn’t really matter. Part I of this series (Wish Upon a Job – Building Your Job Search Part I) focused on the tools of the trade – (almost) everything you need to start your job search. But the tools are only half of the story.
Executing on your job search plan is the other half (and, arguably, more important). There are many paths to take in executing on your job search plan and as many rabbit holes to avoid. Making a plan and sticking to it is the best way to find your new job.
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):
- Recruiters for your industry/field
- Companies where you would like to work (or are in your industry)
- Your Network (friends, family, current and former coworkers)
- Job search boards (keep this list short)
- Other Stuff you will need:
- References – A job-search manual that gives career seekers a systematic, tech-savvy formula to efficiently and effectively target potential employers and secure the essential first interview.
- A short list of your resume (company names, education, and internships with start and end dates)
Getting Started – What you do next depends on how much time you have for your job search. Whether you are unemployed and can spend all of your waking hours on your search or you only have 15 minutes a day, the key to success is to “spread the wealth”. That is, don’t get caught up in spending too much time on any one of your lists (from above). Now, with your completed lists in hand:
- “One Per Day” – Everyone knows that job search is incredibly time-consuming and can be overwhelming. My rule of thumb is to do at least one job search activity per day. While “less” is not necessarily “more” in this case, “one” is certainly better than “none”. This is, of course, where your “time available to job search” comes in. Select one (recruiter, company, contact, job search board, etc.) from your list and execute (contact, register, apply, etc.). Whether it’s one a day or 5 a day, you will have made an impressive start to your search after just a few weeks.
- Keeping Track – Sounds basic, but it is not. You need to keep track of who you speak with, jobs you’ve applied for, follow-ups, etc. You should also keep a pdf copy of the job descriptions for jobs for which you’ve applied. The easiest way to keep track is to create a spreadsheet with tabs for “companies”, “recruiters”, “job search boards”, etc. Include your username and password where necessary as well as the date of last update.