How do I plan a job search?
The first important step to searching for jobs is to get into the right mindset and plan a job searching strategy.
Tell yourself that whilst you can have a lucky break, you are more likely to get results by being patient, determined and focused.
In the same way that you write a list before going to the supermarket, you should note down some of the key things you want to get out of your job search before you embark upon it.
If you want your job search to be successful you should treat it as a project. The key elements of successful projects are:
- Setting goals - The end goal of your job search will be to get a job, but your goal should be more detailed than that. Detail the job, the company, the location, the salary, the working hours or anything else that might be important to you.
- Determining deliverables - You'll only get one job at the end of your search, but along the way there are certain measures you can make to check things are going to plan. Number of applications made, number of responses, number of interviews attended, meetings with recruitment agencies and networking events attended, are just a few things you can track.
- Setting schedules - It's impossible to know exactly how long your job search is going to take, but you certainly don't want it to last forever. Set a few milestones, such as having your CV completed within one week, having contacted ten recruitment agents within two weeks and having been to five job interviews within a month.
- Gathering resources - You're not going to need many resources to conduct a job search, but you will need some. Regular access to the internet to check responses to applications is one.
- Acting quickly - If you see a vacancy you want, don't sit twiddling your thumbs, get your application over to them. Obviously don't skip the important step of tailoring and your CV.
- Adjusting often - If your job search isn't going to plan, don't just keep knocking on the same old doors. Be prepared to switch strategies and try different avenues towards employment.
Those who set out by just wanting a new job are unlikely to be successful. Get the answers to these four questions clear in your mind:
- Why do I want a job?
- What type of company do I want to work for?
- Where will the jobs I want be advertised?
- Do I have the skills I need to do the job I want?
Explore the avenues
As well as uploading your CV and conducting and online job search, be prepared to widen the net to attract the widest audience possible.
Attending career fairs is an efficient investment of time and effort during your job search because you can directly approach a great number of employers in one day, handing out your CV to company representatives .
If the companies you're targeting aren't at the Fairs, don't worry, get in touch with them directly to make a prospective application. Find out the name of the hiring manager and get in touch with them directly, explaining why you think you're worth a chance at their company.
Keep networking with ex-tutors, colleagues, relatives and anyone who is in a position to help. Being told of an opportunity, or being referred is an accepted strategy but you need to be clear about what you need.
Whilst the internet can help you discover the vast majority of jobs that are currently available, job openings are still advertised in trade magazines.
Patience with persistence
It's easy to get discouraged if you don't get interviews right away but it's important to remain positive.
The hiring process can be long and drawn out so even if you don't hear back within a few weeks of making an application, it doesn't necessarily mean your application has been rejected.
Keep track of all your applications, all your contacts and all your communications so you know at the drop of a hat exactly where you are with each.
Often in life, opportunities, like buses, all come along at the same time. You may find that two or even three openings will come your way after a period of getting no responses at all.