Creating a Strategy
Oftentimes candidates, especially in this tight job market, come to me for advice on how to conduct their job search. They find themselves staring at the computer and realize they don't know where to begin, they feel overwhelmed or they use the same job site over and over. What they don't realize is that they need a strategy! A strategy is made up of the tools you need and the methods you choose to follow. Here are some key tools and a method that you may incorporate into your strategy.
• An available computer and printer
• A job search spreadsheet/notebook/log to track your methods, applications, usernames/passwords
• A calendar
• Various versions of your resume aimed at the different jobs/industries you are considering
• Job and employer specific cover letters
• Interview attire
Sample Job Search Method
1. Make a list
a. What is your ideal job? This is your Plan A. Write that down at the top of a column.
b. What is the next type of job you would consider? This is your Plan B. Write that down at the top of the next column.
c. Continue to do this for all possible job options.
In this job market, all jobs you are considering are to be pursued at the same time. Imagine a juggler who throws several balls up in the air at the same time, whatever ball lands first is the job you may have to consider!
2. For each job/column, list who you know that might be able to help you connect with that job/industry:
e. Alumni connections
3. For each job, list what social networking sites e.g., Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, you should be using to help you connect with that job/industry.
4. For each job, list what professional memberships you have or should have, and their upcoming events to help you connect with that job/industry.
5. For each job, list specific job search sites you are using or should be using to help you connect with that job/industry:
a. General job sites
b. Industry sites
c. Meta search engine sites
d. Company/organization sites
6. For each job, list other resources that you may use:
a. Newspapers, pennysavers/community papers
b. Job fairs
c. Alumni reunions and networking events
d. Online Directories
7. Look at your list, determine what you can accomplish today and tomorrow, highlight them. Reward yourself after you completed these tasks! Your strategy and plan has been put into action!
How can you reward yourself? Go out for a walk, get some ice cream, spend time with friends and family, or go to a movie!
8. Examine all the other items that are remaining. Write down time of the day, day of the week, etc. of when you can start tackling these steps. For example, each day you may focus on Plan A jobs from 8 a.m.-Noon, and Plan B from 1 p.m.-5 p.m.. Then, each day you may repeat some of steps above, but on certain days you may only focus on one such as, attending a job fair.
Now you have the outline of a strategy and can build your very own. Stick to it, and remember to reward yourself in small ways throughout your search to keep you motivated!
Director of Career Services