Because everyone should dig their job

Reinvent Your Job Search

By Kathleen Winsor Games

How much of your job search takes place behind your computer screen? Do you get out every day to meet new contacts and re-engage with influential colleagues? Do you have a methodology that helps you organize, manage, and speed your job search? If not, it is time for a plan.

Start with a plan; work the plan

Once you have conducted your self-assessment and job market assessment, it is time to prepare a weekly job search plan. Keep it simple. The idea is to implement a plan that will keep you focused, organized and moving forward.

Adjust your plan to your specific goals and needs. Are you transitioning from a national role to a local role that requires building a new, local network? Has it been a long time since you had to search for a job? Are you up to speed on current resume standards, new technologies, and effective use of LinkedIn and other social media?

Your “secret sauce” for getting hired fast

Choose a regular time each week to write your plan. My career coaching clients tell me the best times are at the end of the day on Friday, or Sunday evening. Take 20 – 30 minutes to draft an outline and set goals for the week. Commit to spending 30+ hours a week on your search if you are unemployed, and allocate your time as follows.

How to allocate your weekly job search:

  • 10 – 20% on job postings. Only 10-20% of all hires are made through job postings. The rest, you guessed it, come from networking and referrals.

  • 10 – 20% on researching your target market. Develop a targeted list of companies that hire people with your skills. Get to know their products, leadership team, values, and competitive advantages so you can market to them effectively.

  • 10 – 20% on development. This includes developing your elevator pitch, self-marketing materials, LinkedIn profile, and updating skills.

  • 20 – 30% on active networking. Schedule a variety of professional association, community, alumni, and social events, as well as one-on-one coffee meetings. Volunteer for nonprofits or professional associations. Expand your contacts and knowledge of companies that are growing, so you learn of opportunities before they are posted.

  • 10 – 20% on interviewing. You will have less control over this, however, the more you focus on the other activities, the more job interviews you will get.

Adjust your formula weekly. Aim to increase your networking activity to 50% or more.

Set weekly goals

Initiate five contacts every day, by phone or email. Go to at least one networking activity every day. Make every networking event count by meeting two new people in your field, and by helping at least two people at every event you attend.

By focusing 80% of your job search time on visibility, connections, and relationship building in your target market, you will build a bridge to decision-makers and unadvertised job opportunities.