Why You Need a Job Search Strategy

Why You Need a Job Search Strategy

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?

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3 thoughts on “Why You Need a Job Search Strategy

  1. Carrie, your advice is right on in my opinion and experience. Most people, like me, enter timidly into the job hunt doing maybe two or three things on your list. Just recently, I updated my family’s financial plan given our new situation. In doing so, I discovered a clearer picture of why the metrics are so important, was reminded that job hunting is a step-by-step process, and that if you cannot measure something you cannot manage or prioritize. Thanks for sharing this! It is definitely motivational in terms of ideas, and validation that the best practices I’m learning in my personal job hunt are indeed just that.

    Chris Johnson, MBA, is a business manager with experience in scientific research and workplace services contracts management, sourcing, nonprofit association management, and federal government programs management.

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