Looking for a new job takes time and effort – often as much as a full time job! Attack your job search as you would any project at work by creating a plan. It will enable you to identify your ideal targets, establish a timeframe, focus your energy on what is most important and stay on track to meet your goals.
4 Tips to Establish a Solid Job Search Plan
1. Know What You Want
After researching the job market and reflecting on your previous roles, determine and document what you’re looking for. Make sure that you understand the variables that go into a job search, such as:
- What roles and responsibilities you like and dislike
- Various titles for your ideal job(s)
- Preferences (work-life balance, relocation, compensation, etc.)
- Timing concerns
- Obstacles (skills gaps, competition, etc.)
- Your end-goal (your dream job!)
2. Get Organized
Being disorganized can lead to forgotten steps, rushed actions, and a prolonged job search. Ensure your job search is more efficient by being organized and remaining diligent in your efforts.
- Gather documents / files you might need during your job search (resume, certificates, awards, transcript, etc.) early in your job search, as some will need to get updated and some might need to get tracked down
- Determine what needs to be done to have an effective job search (update your resume, clean up your online image, update your LinkedIn profile, upload your resume to job sites, create elevator speech, network, buy a new suit, apply to jobs, prepare for interviews, etc.)
- Research and list out resources (job sites, networking events, industry organizations, etc.) that will help you find and get your ideal job
- Establish the means to track your efforts (to-do lists, documents, spreadsheets, calendar, etc.) and actually use them!
3. Set Goals
It is often easier to get started on a large project when it is broken into smaller tasks. After your end-goal has been established and you have determined what you will need to do, set smaller goals for yourself. Identify actions you can take periodically or regularly to increase the likelihood of finding your ideal job and put metrics to them (e.g. apply to X number of jobs each week, connect with at least X number of new people on LinkedIn each week, attend at least X number of networking events each month during the job search, etc.). Select goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely (SMART) to increase their effectiveness and hold yourself to them!
4. Establish a Timeline
Get out your calendar and input everything that you intend to do during your job search. Some aspects of your plan might be reoccurring while others can get specific deadlines. Work backwards to make sure you have given yourself enough time to accomplish everything needed. For example, if you set a goal to go on your first interview within X number of weeks, you need to make sure that your resume is updated, reviewed and posted to job sites well before then. Adjust any goals if they are unrealistic. In addition to establishing realistic time frames and goals, a timeline will enable you to track your process and know if you are falling behind or better yet, ahead of schedule!