The 32-point Job Search Plan (with checklist!)

It’s not rocket science – if you want to succeed at anything, you need a plan. Nothing can be truer than with a job search. Using the spray and pray or shoot first and aim later approaches doesn’t work well.

I’ve put together 32 things you need to do to ensure that your job search is headed in the right direction. (There’s a handy checklist PDF you can download by clicking on this link).

Please note, they aren’t necessarily in any particular order.  If you think of anything I should add, please let me know by reaching out to me here by clicking on this link.

#1:  Establish your target field

It’s marketing 101 – you should go as niche as possible. Applying to a wide range of positions and then using the same résumé doesn’t work.

Click on the link below for more insight:

Fix This Common Job Search Mistake Before Sending Your Resume

#2:  Research your target field

Find out everything you can about the kind of role, company, and industry you are targeting and use this information to position yourself effectively by communicating your unique value proposition that addresses the needs of your target.

Click on the link below for more insight:

3 Things You Must Do Before Networking On Linkedin

#3:  Create a written plan

If you don’t write things down, they don’t exist.

If you don’t want to forget anything, I recommend you create a written plan and stick to it. This will keep you organized and on track.

Click on the link below for more insight:

Fix This Common Job Search Mistake

#4: Address any gaps

Determine where you have gaps in your experience, skills, knowledge, education, and other job requirements. Fill those gaps by taking courses, attending workshops/seminars, and/or volunteering in your target field.

Click on the link below for more insight:

Top 6 Resume Career Killers

#5: Create a branded résumé targeted for each job you apply to

I can’t stress this enough – you must have a résumé that delivers your unique value proposition and that is tailored for each position you apply for.

Don’t send the same document to multiple jobs, even if they are the same or similar. Each employer will have their own special requirements.

Click on the link below for more insight:

Creating A Personal Branding Message

#6:  Create a branded cover letter targeted to each job application

40% of hiring managers and recruiters expect a cover letter so it would be a great idea to create one. There are things you can address in a letter that you can’t in a résumé or Linkedin profile.

Click on the link below for more insight:

Should You Send A Cover Letter

#7:  Create a branded Linkedin profile

If used correctly, Linkedin is a great tool to help generate interviews. But before you start reaching out to recruiters, hiring managers, and HR, you must create a strong, branded profile.

There are various components of your Linkedin account that you need to optimize, giving special attention to the headline and 2000-character summary section.

Click on the links below for more insight:

How To Write A Stand-out Linkedin Headline

10 Linkedin Mistakes You Need To Fix

10 Tips To Creating A Winning Linkedin Summary

3 Common Linkedin Mistakes That Can Sink Your Profile

#8:  Assemble a portfolio of your work

if you’re in a creative industry, it would make sense to bring along samples of your work that you’re proud of and that would be relevant for your target field.

If you’re a bit tech savvy, you could also create a personal website that has a section to showcase your work.

#9:  Create your brag book

Put together a list of all your key contributions and specific accomplishments that address the needs of your target field. This could be awards, accolades, surpassing targets – anything that demonstrates the kind of value you can bring to an organization.

Keep a record of your accomplishments in a computer folder and update the list as required.

Click on the link below for more insight:

How To Quantify Accomplishments

#10:  Create a professional email address

Set up a separate gmail address for your job search, that way it’s organized and emails don’t get lost with your other personal communication. Never use your current employer’s email address.

Click on the link below for more insight:

7 Things You Should Axe From Your Resume

#11:  Create a professional email signature

The email signature is how you sign off at the bottom of your email such as Sincerely, John Smith, Business Development Manager. Make sure the job title you use is relevant and appropriate for the position you are targeting.

If you have a side hustle and you’re calling yourself the President/CEO, DON’T USE IT unless you’re targeting a President/CEO type of role. You don’t want people to reject you because you have positioned yourself a certain way (over or under-qualified) that doesn’t match your target field’s requirements and expectations.

#12:  Record a professional voice mail message

Keep your voice mail message clear, short, and highly professional. Do not insert any personal information into it that could be judged in a negative light.

Whatever phone number you publish, make sure that you are the only person answering it and not your 3-year old. It’s safer to stick with your personal cell phone and not a land line that everyone has access to.

#13:  Reach out to 100+ hiring managers 

You should contact as many hiring managers as possible to generate informational interviews, discuss potential openings with them, and to get referrals. This is an important part of active networking. The most efficient way to do this is through Linkedin.

It’s a numbers game – the more companies you contact, the more you increase you chances of landing a job sooner than later.

Click on the link below for more insight:

#1 Job Search Tactic You Shouldn’t Avoid

#14: Email 100+ people you know 

Don’t forget to reach out to friends, family, acquaintances, former university/college classmates, people you know from social groups and networks.

The point here is to let them know you are looking for another opportunity and would appreciate it if they could spread the word and pass on your résumé (which you can attach).

The more people who know you’re looking, the better. Someone could know someone who’s looking for someone like you. I’ve known people who got jobs this way.

#15:  Create 20 accomplishment stories

Employers want to know the kinds of results (positive outcomes/solutions) you produced which is your value and goes beyond what your duties and responsibilities were. There is a difference!

Brain storm 20 accomplishment stories that are relevant to your target field and write them down. You need to quantify your contributions as much as you can by using dollars ($), percentages (%) and numbers/volume (#). Limit the stories you write to a paragraph or two that you can deliver verbally in about 90 seconds.

Click on the link below for more insight:

How To Quantify Accomplishments

#16:  Assemble ideal job postings

Don’t focus on applying to jobs online because it doesn’t deliver great results but if you’re going to do this, you might as well apply to as many as you can. Keep track of applications on an Excel spreadsheet as not to duplicate efforts and stay organized so you can follow up.

#17:  Research answers to the most common and dreaded interview questions

You can google interview questions and answers. There are literally hundreds of them with the most common ones being:

Tell me about yourself, Why should we hire you? Why are you leaving your current position? What is your biggest weakness/strength? Why are you interested in this position? How much money are you looking for? What do you know about this company?

Click on the links below for more insight:

How to Answer The Tell Me About Yourself Question

Explaining Why You Left A Job

Avoid Making This Deadly Interview Error

#18:  Create your elevator pitches

Create a short, medium, and long elevator pitch. This is your value summary a.k.a. unique value proposition or unique sales proposition. Your UVP is how YOU can solve whatever challenges the employer wants addressed.

Elevator pitches can be used for different applications such as your résumé, cover letter, Linkedin, personal website, and when you meet someone for the first time who asks you “So, what do you do for a living?”

Click on the link below for more insight:

How to Create A Knock-out Personal Branding Statement (With Examples)

#19:  Create business cards

Just because you don’t have your own “business” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have business cards. You can hand them out to people you meet through professional networking events, socially, or standing in line at the grocery store. You never know who you’ll bump into, so it’s a good idea to be prepared.

#20:  Create networking email templates

Yes, you should be networking online (Linkedin) and even offline if it’s appropriate for you.

For Linkedin, you need to create different kinds of emails such as invitation requests, follow-up emails to new connections, and emails to existing connections. Since you’re saying pretty much the same thing to people, you can cut and paste the template and modify them accordingly.

#21:  Set up a separate computer folder for each company you reach out to

Place the job posting and accompanying résumé and cover letter in a folder that’s labelled the name of the employer. It’s better if everything’s in one place.

#22:  Create a spreadsheet to track your job applications and follow-up

If you’re networking, applying to jobs, and sending your résumé and cover letter anywhere you need to keep track of this activity to avoid duplicating efforts like contacting the same people more than once (which will be annoying for them).

#23:  Create a spreadsheet to track your networking and follow-up

Probably best to keep networking and informational meetings separate from actual job postings and applications.

#24:  Use an online calendar to track meetings

Use a google, Outlook, or some other calendar to organize your appointments so they’re available at a glance and you don’t miss anything.

#25:  Determine and acquire suitable interview attire

Make sure you have appropriate interview attire that’s been cleaned and pressed at least the day before so you’re not scrambling at the last minute.

Click on the link below for more insight:

What To Wear (Or Not Wear) To An Interview

#26:  Have your job references ready

While you should never put your references on your résumé or in the cover letter, you should have them typed up and standing by before you start your job search.

Click on the link below for more insight:

10 Ways To Make References Work In Your Favour

#27:  Conduct salary research

Salary negotiation is always the most stressful part of the interview process.  Some employers or recruiters will ask you what you’re “looking for” during the initial phone interview.

You should research salary levels in your target field on various sites such as indeed, Ladders, Glassdoor, and Linkedin.

Another way is to talk to actual hiring managers who would be willing to give you that information. This will help you determine what your minimum acceptable salary range is.

#28:  Clean up all of your social media

The first thing the employer will do is google you to see what they can dig up in photos or posts about you that could be considered a “red flag”. You’ll need to to eliminate anything that could be construed as negative from all of your social media profiles (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc.)

#29:  Prepare your questions for interviews

You should prepare about 12 questions to ask the employer about the company and position. You won’t be able to answer them all, but you need more than enough in the event the employer addresses many of them during the meeting. You don’t want to be in the situation where they ask you “So, what questions do you have for me?” and you can’t come up with any.

Click on the link below for more insight:

Avoid Making This Deadly Interview Error

#30:  Prepare your questions for informational meetings

Even if you are applying to jobs online, you should still generate informational meetings with hiring managers in your target field as part of your career research and networking efforts.

An informational meeting is NOT an interview and it is being grated as a favour, so keep it to 20 to 30 minutes max.  You should prepare about 10 questions to ask the hiring managers but you might be able to ask only about 5 or 6.

Click on the link below for more insight:

#1 Job Search Tactic You Shouldn’t Avoid

#31:  Determine what you’ll do when presented with a counter-offer

Nothing can screw up your job search (and possibly your career trajectory) more than not knowing how to address a counter-offer.

Click on the link below for more insight:

Top 10 Reasons To Reject A Counter-Offer

#32:  Develop and maintain a great attitude!

If you lost your job recently or have been looking for a while, it can get pretty frustrating (and that would be an under-statement!) so it’s important to keep a positive mind-set. The people who are the most positive, persistent, professional, and proactive are the ones who land the jobs.

Click on the link below for more insight:

How To Cope With Job Search Stress

Before you go, don’t forget to download the Job Search Preparation Checklist here!

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The scary fact is, only about 2% to 3% of résumés actually result in interviews. To boost your chances, you need a résumé that has a higher rate of converting into interviews. Click on the button below and get started on creating a higher-converting résumé.

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If you’d like to schedule a call with Diana to find out how she can help you stand out and get noticed (in a good way) so you can land interviews and get hired sooner than later, click here to set up a free discovery call.

Hi! I’m Diana.

I draw from over 15 years recruitment, career/job search coaching, and sales/marketing experience to help all kinds of jobseekers stand out, get noticed, and get hired for their dream job.

Need help? That’s what I’m here for!

Are you in the midst of a job search and not getting the results you want? Or, are you employed and not actively looking but want to “get ready” in case your situation changes and you need to launch a job search?

Don’t get caught in the endless cycle of applying to jobs, hearing little to nothing, and becoming more frustrated.

I offer both “Done-For-You” and “DIY” options to help you overcome the obstacles and get you on the right track to accelerate your job landing success. You choose the level of service you feel you need that fits your budget.

Maybe all you need is a quick résumé critique. If your search is complicated, a more comprehensive package might be the solution. Or, it could be something in between. You’ve got options!

You can learn more about my professional background here and about how I can help you here.

To find out how I can help you, email me here or set up a quick chat with me here.