Guided Versus Unguided Job Search

Guided Versus Unguided Job Search

There was a time when it didn’t take much planning or strategy to land a job. The expanding economy favored job seekers and it didn’t take long to find work.  But today, the balance has changed.  It’s a “hiring company’s market.”  Attempting an ad hoc job search without guidance in tactics and best practices often leads to a lengthy job search, creating economic stress.

Another change is that today’s job search has a new level of complexity. Where in the past it was a matter of submitting a resume for an opening, interviewing and accepting an offer, today a successful job search includes personal branding, networking, online presence and much more. Expert guidance allows job seekers to move through these activities efficiently, getting them back to work faster and easier.

Here is how the job search may look with an ad hoc, or unguided job search versus a strategic, guided job search:

Phase Unguided Job Search Guided Job Search
Phase One: Exploration and Preparation Activities:

  • Jumping straight into looking for jobs similar to past
  • Lack of market exploration
  • Quick update of past resume with focus on tasks and responsibilities of jobs
  • Unclear about personal brand


  • Unaware of new ways to use skills and missed job opportunities
  • Dated resume that lacks new best practices
  • Critical marketing materials, such as branding statement, online profiles and resume, lack clear focus and messaging

  • Time investment in determining core skills, including uncovering overlooked skills
  • Focus on achievement-based resume creation using current best practices, including keywords and ability to customize to jobs


  • Clear understanding of where skills can be used, including new and surprising areas
  • Clarity about value in marketing place
  • Strong branding statement that conveys value precisely and concisely
  • Winning resume
  • Solid groundwork for a smooth and successful job search
Phase Two: Generating Job Leads Activities:

  • Focus on advertized jobs
  • Majority of time spent on job boards
  • Resumes submitted “cold” to many jobs
  • Productivity measured by number of resumes sent


  • Little or no response to resumes submitted
  • Not hearing back after out-reach efforts
  • Frustration



  • Focus on networking
  • Effective use of social media
  • Development of strong professional online presence


  • Warm job leads coming through network
  • Resumes submitted using inside contacts and information
  • Responsiveness from hiring companies
  • Getting interviews
  • Contacted by recruiters because of online presence
Phase Three: Pursuing Opportunities Activities:

  • Limited interviewing, creating anxiousness and lack of confidence in interviews
  • Rusty interview skills
  • Going into interviews “cold” without inside connection and information


  • Not called back for the next step
  • Not offered job following interview
  • Feeling “I was perfect for the job but I didn’t get hired.”

  • Investment in researching companies before interviewing
  • Using network to “pave the way” before and after interviews
  • Expert coaching resulting in confident interviewing
  • Ability to answer challenging questions, close the gap and demonstrate match for job and company


  • Requests for additional interviews
  • Job offers
Phase Four: Closing Activities:

  • Desperation
  • Eagerness to accept any offer, whether a match or not


  • May accept the wrong position or a poor offer
  • Back to job searching again soon

  • Complete assessment of each job opportunity
  • Confident negotiation for a win-win


  • Successful closing on a job that is a true fit for both job seeker and employer
  • Long term success


Unguided job seekers can be successful, but it often takes longer than necessary. If your goal is to move smoothly and efficiently through your job search, guidance, support, best practices and organization will get you where you want to be faster and easier.

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