Do You Really Need a Job Search Plan?

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So, you're looking for a job? Do you have a plan? Is it in writing?

Surprisingly, when I asked a random group of job seekers this question, most of them said no. It seems that the common belief is that you can just "wing it" or have a "kinda-sorta plan" in mind. Although that might work for some people, it isn't the best way to go about finding the job you really want.

It isn't just teenagers and entry-level job seekers that are making this mistake. Even those who have been in their fields for a long time or who work in industries where planning is key are guilty of not making a job search plan. It doesn't make sense. If a new job is going to provide you with a salary that you can live on, it's worth going the extra mile to get it.

A good job search plan is more than just a checklist or a marketing plan. It's a well thought out plan that takes your end goal, which should be finding a job, and works backwards listing the daily activities that will help you meet your goal. In addition to this, there should be a marketing plan, a contact list and a daily to-do list. This plan shouldn't be stored in you head, where you can change things around and put things off until later. It should be written out and used as a daily guide.

So why is it that so many job seekers are reluctant to make a job search plan? I'm not sure, but I've narrowed it down to two possible reasons:

They don't think they need one. Maybe the last time they were looking for a job, they didn't have to look very hard. Before the current economic recession, our country went through a period of rapid growth. That meant that there were more job openings than there were applicants. It was a worker's market. There was a shortage of qualified applicants, not jobs. During that period, there were so many available jobs that an actual job plan wasn't necessary. Times have changed and your chances of success can be significantly improved by good planning.

They don't know how. The majority of my working years have been during times of economic growth. Jobs were easy to come by and I never needed to have a written out plan. When the recession hit, like me, many of my peers were unprepared for the sudden lack of jobs. We had never learned how to create a plan or how to market ourselves to employers. The good news is that once you get started creating your plan, you'll quickly see that it isn't as hard as you thought. A job search plan is just like any other business planning.

Still not convinced that you need a plan? Ask yourself why your job search isn't going as well as you'd like? Don't blame the government or the economy (not because it isn't their fault but because it just isn't helpful). If you don't know the answer, a good job search plan can shed light on areas that need work.

Do you have a job search plan? Why or why not?

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  • Melisssa Kennedy
    Melisssa Kennedy
    Thanks Lucas! You're right, most hiring managers can spot a cookie cutter resume without much trouble. Even more than specific qualifications, they want to hire a person who understands how to set goals and achieve results. Having a job plan makes you a much more prepared candidate.
  • Lucas B
    Lucas B
    Hi Melissa,Oh I could agree more with you. Like with anything in life, also in your job search, the setting of objectives, analysing your swot, and making an overall plan, with actionable elements is highly required. As they say "proper planning prevents p... poor performance".There is no winging it. Any hiring manager will see straight though this. Thanks again. Cheers, Lucas
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