The Job Search Plan is a strategic tool that you can use to outline specific steps to secure a new opportunity, whether it is a new job, change in industry, or new business. The Job Search Plan defines your target market, identifies companies by name, specifies the creative means of “getting your foot in the door” and provides dates to keep your search timely.
Changing jobs without a plan can lead to countless wasted hours doing a bunch of tasks, rather than focusing on those areas that lead to the greatest outcome. The more specific a Job Search Plan, the more progress you will make toward your goal of obtaining a job or enhancing your career. By focusing on a specific industry or position, your Search will be easier to manage. For instance, targeting advertising agencies in Austin would combine a geographic and industry target. You may even be in a position to combine all three elements – a management consulting job (position) in Los Angeles (geography) with a firm specializing in environmental issues (industry). The content of a job search plan is outlined below and a job search template is provided for your use.
Job Search Strategy Content Outline
Job Search Objective:
Your job search objective is a concise phrase or sentence that describes the results you want to achieve and by when.
The positioning statement is a brief summary of your relevant background, which suggests what you can do for a prospective employer. Competencies are clusters of skills and personal characteristics, areas in which you have experience or particular expertise. Together, they provide an easily understood picture of what you offer. This section forms the basis of your Search’s communication plan, summarizing the key points you will make with all contacts during your search. It is also a skeleton outline of the information you need to communicate in all interviews.
Clearly defining your target market at the outset of your search ensures that you will not make the common mistake of pursuing the wrong targets or too few targets. It also serves to productively focus search activities. The criteria should define the types of organizations you plan to pursue and includes the following four elements:
- Geographic area: where you plan to work, stated precisely enough that you could identify it on a map.
- Industry: Industry or type of organization, such as banking, plastics manufacturing or educational institutions.
- Size of Organization: Size of organization stated in annual revenue, number of employees, or other measures appropriate to your industry or profession.
- Culture: Organizational culture is sometimes a fourth factor in determining a target market.
Once you have developed your criteria, the last component of your Job Search Plan is an initial target list of 50 organizations, based on the four criteria listed above. This list should contain the most promising possible employers in your target market so that you are focusing more time and energy on them. People without a target list tend to be reactive, rather than proactive in search, leaving a lot to chance.
This section outlines the strategies that you will use to open doors in your targeted accounts. It includes items such as networking, direct mail, cold calls, referrals, and attending events. For each employer, you should define a very specific plan of attack. Make sure you take the time to develop a company profile and then use research sites such as Hoovers.com to identify companies that match that profile.
For those areas that require networking or referrals, it is important to identify the networking events by name so that you can plan your calendar accordingly. For those that you mark as referral, you will need to include the name of a specific person who you think can help you. This name might be your own name, a colleague, friend or relative.
Provide a salary range that you are targeting given the salary ranges within the appropriate geographic area and your level of experience.