Discover the seven elements of a great job hunting plan. See how your personal board of directors, networking groups, and even outdated online career profiles can play a part in helping you find your next gig.
- I created a handy plan to help you get started with your job search. It's available in the exercise files. There are seven areas of the plan: objective, job hunting materials, network, job hunting accounts, social accounts, dream companies, and job tracking. You can fill this out and keep it with you in case someone calls about a job that you've applied for while you're on the go, and it can serve as your daily to-do list. Starting at the top, you're going to use your objective as the north star for your job search.
Remember, this is one tight sentence on what you're looking for. Next, it's time to take a look at the state of your job hunting materials. Go ahead and find your resume, cover letter templates, and letters of recommendation, and then be honest with yourself about the state of each. Chances are they're going to need some adjustments for each application. Document the top three priorities related to these materials and their due dates. Also, jot down the time you want to spend per week on this, just to give yourself a rough framework of how much effort you'll put in relative to the urgency of your search.
Next, take a hard look at your network. So many people think of job hunting as this one-way activity when it's really a two-way street. So ask yourself, are you adding value to your network? Have you helped refer at least two people in your network to jobs in the past year? This is really important to me because I believe that in order to get a job, you also want to open up connections for others. Next, I want you to consider whether you have a personal board of directors, a group of trusted advisors you can go to once a quarter, every six months, and get their feedback on your career direction.
Each person on your personal board should have a different perspective to bring, so you should seek people across industries, roles, and levels of experience. For example, you might have a professor from college. You might have a mentor at your company. You might have a colleague who works in a similar industry, but a different company. Use this as an advisory council that helps guide you in your career in the right direction. Also consider whether you belong to any free or paid networking groups, on- or offline.
This might be a meetup, it might be a chamber of commerce, or it might be industry-specific. Give some thought to the kind of networking events you're willing to commit to attending in the next month, and make it a goal to give back within your network twice a week. Now it's time to survey your job hunting accounts on LinkedIn, Monster, Simply Hired, or Glassdoor. Keep this document safe as you're going to fill in the details here. I want to suggest that you include your login documentation and your passwords for each of these sites so they're easily available to you.
As you go through and create accounts for each site, or as you reactivate accounts you made a long time ago, note the status of your professional bio, your photo, the resume that you have listed. Next, go through all your social media accounts and ask yourself, are the photos, feeds, and status updates ones you would want a potential employer to see? It's a true story that a friend of mine recently got questions about social media posts prior to getting an offer letter. So think of yourself as someone who's curating relevant content on social media, and know that recruiters and hiring managers may be able to access what you think are private posts.
Then list out the dream companies you want to work for and why. This is a great list to keep you inspired and motivated throughout your career. Maybe it's Tesla or Blizzard or Apple. The point is if you got a call from them, you'd jump at the offer. Once you know who these are for you, check back regularly on these company sites, seeing what jobs are available, noting what direction the company is moving in, and taking note of their press. Finally, I have a job tracking sheet at the end of this plan.
This is where you track every job that you apply for, where it came from, the name of the contact, the URL, the status of your application materials, when you submit, and what those next steps and notes might be. This is critical to keeping track of all of your hard work. The structure of this plan is a great lifeline for you while you do the hard work of job searching.
- Setting job hunting objectives
- Writing a compelling resume and cover letter
- Tailoring your approach
- Finding the right jobs
- Reentering the workforce
- Identifying which of your skills are transferable
- Excelling in a phone or video interview
- Negotiating a job offer