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Why Your Job Search Plan Isn’t Working

Are you getting interviews?
Are they for jobs that are a good fit?
Are the interviews at the right level for your next career move?
If the answer to any of these questions is “NO” then it’s time to assess your Job Search Plan.

The results you receive when you respond to a job posting is direct feedback on your search.

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Jim was an excellent student in college. He credited his good grades to his organizational skills and his self-discipline. He knew how to set a schedule and keep it. He was the master of routine, even knowing when a routine needed a temporary break, and when to modify it to accommodate unforeseen needs. Now that Jim has graduated, he is frustrated. He can’t seem to establish structure for his job search. Days go by and he can’t find the traction he needs to get moving.

Cathy was laid off over five months ago. For years, her managers had praised her for her strong organizational skills. She enjoyed several promotions based on of her ability to manage complex projects and the myriad of details that accompanied them. Colleagues requested to be a part of her team because of her reputation for handling schedules and bringing uncanny efficiency into any situation. Yet, Cathy’s job search was disorganized and muddled. She was baffled about why she didn’t seem to be getting anywhere.

The problem was that in their former situations, both Jim and Cathy had started with a given structure. Jim’s classes provided the foundation around which all other elements evolved. He knew when his papers were due and when exams were scheduled, and with that information, he was able to plan accordingly. The projects that Cathy managed had specific milestones with assigned due dates. She scheduled weekly meetings with teams as well as the stakeholders. Weekly status calls ensured the project was on track. In both cases, many activities were restricted to certain hours of the day.

A jobseeker does not have any initial structure as a starting point. The basis around which all scheduling can be organized is nonexistent and has to be created.

Insight

The key to an effective job search:
If the foundation isn’t solid, the results will be sporadic and trouble-shooting will be impossible. It all begins with the initial plan. Without it, success becomes a hit-or-miss possibility.

The Forward Motion process defines a good job as one that is satisfying, sustainable, and meets your financial needs. With that as the goal, each of the following items represents a critical element and requires a particular skill set that has to be mastered. They should be tackled in the order given, although there will be some overlap.

Essential Questions For An Effective Job Search:
Every job search has to answer the following questions, in this order::

  1. What is the definition of a job that is a good fit for me?
  2. How do I find these opportunities?
  3. What unique qualities do I have that will differentiate me from the competition?
  4. How can I prepare a customized cover letter and résumé that will present those unique qualities?
  5. How do I present a unified online message through LinkedIn?
  6. How can I ensure that social media platforms, or digital dirt will not hurt my job search?
  7. When a hiring professional connects with me, how do I present my unique qualities over the phone and in person?
  8. How can I connect with others who might be able to help me find opportunities and who might promote my candidacy for a potential position?
  9. How do I follow-up after a network meeting or an interview?
  10. How do I assess an offer and negotiate the contract?

Eventually Steps 4 through 9 will be repeated; each set of repetitions should bring greater skill. As you learn from the feedback you receive, you should be able to tweak your cover letter and résumé to respond to questions the reader may have.

Almost every step represents a process. For example, identifying a job that is a good fit includes considering a lot of options through job postings and conversations and figuring out what fits and what doesn’t. Jobseekers continually identify new places where they find opportunities. Mastering the art and craft of customizing a résumé to a specific posting may take 10 to 20 trials before getting it right. (You know it’s right when you get an interview.)

A job search is a care-game not a numbers game.
These are sets of skills that need to be developed, honed, and perfected. It is a complex project and each person’s search will be unique. It is for this reason, that professional help can dramatically ease your job search and reduce the time to employment.

Consider a Forward Motion Differentiation Workshop, where you will learn how to navigate the online application systems and how to differentiate yourself both through your résumé and in your interview.

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