Job seekers often remark about the vast number of resumes they are sending out and the limited response. Or, they tell me they go to many networking events yet they haven’t generated results. The problem is that while sending out resumes or going to networking events is part of a job search, activity without a strategy will not generate success. Measuring a job search by number of resumes sent out or events attended leads to a false sense of productivity coupled with an increasing sense of frustration.
Here are some common markers of a job search that is lacking a good strategy:
- No planning or prioritizing in time management
- No metric or primary success metric is number of jobs applied for
- Wondering “what to do next” – “I’ve tried everything and nothing worked”
- Not hearing back after sending out resumes, informational meetings, networking out reach or interviews
- LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter not being used as job search tools
- Defeated feelings, a sense that “it’s impossible” to find a job these days
If you are experiencing any of the above, it’s time to ask yourself if you have a job search strategy that will lead to success. Having an effective strategy will allow you to work on multiple fronts to market yourself, build your network, and interview successfully within the limited amount of time and energy you have. With a good job search strategy, the next steps and action items are always clear to you because you’ve set priorities. Here are the key elements of a successful job search strategy:
- A clear target, based on what you want to do, are qualified to do and what there is demand for in the marketplace
- Thoughtful marketing materials (including resume), customized for each use
- Multiple job lead channels, with an emphasis on networking which is crucial in today’s market
- Conscious decisions about time spent on various job search activities
- Activities which keep skills sharp and your resume fresh
- Continually growing understanding of best practices for job search
- A system of managing contacts, leads, resume versions and all the other information to stay organized
- A step by step plan for executing the strategy
- Measurable goals to assure success
- A consistent method to measure progress and prioritize activities
It’s never too late to come up with a strategy for your job search. Once you have a strategy and a plan to execute, you will soon see the difference between strategic, focused effort and a scattershot approach.
Please share your thoughts and experience. What strategies have you used? What has worked or not worked for you?