CREATE YOUR PERSONAL
YOUR JOB SEARCH PLAN
Your job search plan is your Personal Marketing Campaign
with you (ta-dah!) as the product being promoted. Your
strategy is a comprehensive and flexible plan to achieve a
specific objective: securing a high quality offer/s of
employment. And not just for any old job that will pay the bills
(that’s why you have that six-month reserve), but for a
position that advances your overall career objectives and
compliments your personality type, your strengths and style patterns.
- Get Organized. As with any marketing plan, organization is everything when it comes to closing the deal. You can’t afford to misplace important names and phone numbers. You’ll need them for interview scheduling and follow-up. Set aside an “office” at home where your job search is centered, where your schedule, calendar, equipment, information and supplies are located. Then go the office every day at a specific time and get to work – no PJ’s allowed! Your job search is your full-time job for now! The hardest part is getting started. Your momentum will build from there.
- Know your product. You! Review your style assessments (such as MBTI) and personality type. Also review your personal value statement and mission statement updating them as necessary.
- Know your target audience. Identify employers who are currently hiring people with your qualifications and background. Are they all within a certain industry? How competitive is that particular job market? Are they in your area and if not, are you willing to relocate? Marty Nemko (Kiplinger.com) recently said “opportunities abound in insecure times – if you know where to look”. He believes employment trends will mirror headline-grabbing national issues and will be strongly influenced by the outcome of this fall’s national election (so be prepared for a political spin). Accordingly, he sees job creation reflecting the following shifts:
- From adventure nation to cautious nation - driving opportunities in domestic government programs. USAJobs is the federal government job search engine.
- From consuming to conserving – driving opportunities in jobs that are off-shore resistant (coaching, environment/conservation related, research, clergy, firefighting)
- From corporate-driven to government-driven – speaks for itself
- From high tech to clean and biotech – driving opportunities at all levels in biotech firms
- From homogeny to diversity – driving opportunities for language and culture experts in marketing, health care, education and criminal justice
- From expert-focused to citizen focused – witness the rise of high-quality “wikis” (remember this buzz word – it means a collection of web pages designed to enable anyone to contribute or modify content, creating collaborative sites used in business for knowledge management) such as Wikipedia and web-based journal blog posts.
- From live to “E” - look for jobs in a “category-killer” online business or companies involved in WiMax (extending wireless connections beyond hotspots) and videophone companies such as Apple, Nokia RIM (Blackberry), Samsung and Verizon.
- From retirees to elder workers – job growth should occur in creating recreational and aging-related products and services such as time shares, elder housing, home retrofitting and long-term care insurance.
If this novel approach piques your curiosity, read the full text of his article.
- Identify specific members of your target audience and the best way to contact them. Decide which resources you will use to locate potential employers. Everyone you talk to will have a different opinion on this. Some feel that classified ads are a waste of time and that networking is the way to go. Others believe that executive recruiters will get them the job they want. Then there’s the internet and job search engines. The bottom line is: leave no stone unturned. Use everything at your disposal.
- Your professional network – It’s payback time for all the work you put into building your network and polishing your networking skills.
- The internet – Job search engines abound and according to the Pew Internet Project, 4 million people search job opportunities on the web every day. Here are some tips for navigating and making the most of the enormous number of resources.
- When attempting to get high penetration within your target audience via the Web, you'll need to post to more than one site. Web visitors are loyal to their site of choice.
- Many sites now offer “personal job agents” that can help “automate” your job search. Register information about the specific type of job you are looking for and your agent will notify you by e-mail when new jobs are posted on their database that meet your criteria. You then apply for a position directly with that employer.
- You can learn more about any company by visiting Vault.com.
- Sign up for on-line newsletters. Companies, industries, special interest groups and associations publish up-to-date information on emerging trends.
- SimplyHired.com and Indeed.com are “aggregator job boards” that include listings from many company and job sites, including the big three: Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com and HotJobs/Yahoo.com. You’ll find them easy to use.
- Local newspapers – Especially with newspaper circulation numbers shrinking, many experts believe that nine out of ten jobs are never advertised in newspapers but, if nothing else, reading the classifieds in the business section is a great way to gauge job availability in your area.
- Trade journals – They will give you excellent current information of the state of specific industries. Great information to have at your fingertips for interview small talk about a potential employer’s competition.
- Business periodicals – Good overviews and comparisons among industries.
- Cold calling - I know, I know. I don’t know anyone who likes this one.
- Job fairs – Touted as “one stop job shops”. They are an opportunity to meet and greet, create good impressions and are often accompanied by free workshops on job hunting strategies.
- Informational interviews – (On my “One of the Best” list) Choose a company you’d like to work for and identify an employee who can set up a meeting/s for you. You don’t need to speak to the decision maker since you’re not asking for a job but identifying needs in the company you might fill. These needs then become the focus of an “employment proposal”: your resume.
- Professional organization meetings – A great networking opportunity with a like-minded group. Have your distinctive “sound bite” ready!
- Outplacement firms, employment agencies and recruiters
If your employer provides outplacement assistance as part of your separation package, definitely use it. But, if you are shopping for outplacement support on your own, beware of any outplacement firms that require you AND your spouse to show up for an interview. They may want you to sign a contract and spend a lot of money for access to a computer for life.
Your best bet in employment agencies is to find one that advertises “fee paid” positions (meaning that any costs associated with matching an applicant to a job are absorbed by the hiring company). If they want you to pay them, shop elsewhere. Interview them before they interview you! Find out if they specialize in a particular industry, what percent of their clients they actually place successfully (long term employment) and how long their average placement takes.
The terms recruiter and headhunter are used interchangeably. Best case, they will contact you. If not, see if there is a headhunter or recruiter who works for the organization you are leaving (not a conflict of interest in this case). Send him or her your resume to see if it matches a position he or she is trying to fill elsewhere. In this case, you won’t be their client. The hiring company will be so be sure there is no fee that you will have to pay.
Unlike using the web, use only one recruiter or employment agency! You will probably be asked if you are using another agency or recruiter and if you answer in the affirmative, you may end up with no one promoting you. They are competitors who talk to each other, especially for the type of hot property you are, and they don’t like competing with each other to place the same applicant.
- Plan your approach. A well thought out and carefully prepared cover letter and resume are absolute musts! The best way to get them in front of the right people (the decision-makers) depends on how your lead was generated.
- a. If you are responding to a newspaper ad, you will probably be required to mail, fax or email (watch for font and formatting compatibility here) your cover letter and resume.
- b. If you are following a lead from a networking colleague, ask him or her to contact the decision-maker on your behalf so that person is expecting to hear from you. Then telephone him or her – lots faster than sending a letter and safer then risking that your emailed resume winds up in someone’s junk mail box.
- Deliver your sales pitch This is the all-important interview stage of your campaign.
In today’s job market, don’t totally discount offers of contract employment or project management jobs. They are a way to get in the door and show what you can do, possibly leading to an offer of full time employment.
You're Ready to Roll
Congratulations! You’ve gotten through the toughest part. Now treat yourself to a new outfit (or two) – one that lifts your spirits and makes you feel wonderful when you put it on! Remember, this is a temporary situation and you are doing exactly what you should do to change your status from “professional on hiatus” to gainfully employed woman manager, doing what you do best!