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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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 ( 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. 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!