Job Search Plan Template:
Before you begin a job search, it is essential to have a plan in place to guide your progress and help ensure your success. A job search involves keeping track of many different pieces of information, and coordinating each piece to work together as a whole. Having an established system of tracking, recording, and organizing your efforts will be of great value to you throughout the entire process. This template is intended to guide you and help you make the most of your search.
As you move through this Job Search Template, be sure to check off items as you complete them, and answer the questions at the end of each section to reflect on each piece of your strategy. Remember, your Job Search Plan should be flexible and adaptable to your current needs– don’t be afraid to change your plan as you go if needed, but be sure you are also being consistent in your efforts to make sure you reach your goals!
Step 1: Prepare your documents
The first step to any successful job search is being prepared. Before beginning your search, be sure your professional documents are in order. As these documents are created and finalized, use this list to check them off as complete:
· Cover Letter
· References Page
Bonuses for your professional portfolio:
· Letters of Recommendation
· Samples of your best work (that are not confidential to your current employer)
· Proof of any Certifications or Degrees you hold
Once these documents are drafted, edited, polished and ready for the eyes of an employer, you are ready to begin the next step of your job search!
Describe two things you learned about résumé writing, cover letter writing, or reference page drafting through the process of creating and editing your documents:
Step 2: Prepare your Tracker
Applying for jobs can be a very long process. It is imperative that you track your career search from day one. There is a good chance you will be sending applications and résumés in response to MULTIPLE job postings. It can become difficult to keep track of what jobs you have applied for, what date you applied, if you have received a response, if a follow up is required…etc. All of this information is important to have record of to make sure you are not missing out on any opportunities. Creating a method to track your job-search will help you keep everything organized, and ensure you are making the most of your efforts!
Create a spreadsheet or a table to use as a tracker. If you maintain and update your career search tracker you will become a more organized and efficient job seeker. Even if you obtain employment, it is a good idea to save your Tracker just in case you end up transitioning careers in the future. Your next career search might be different but your tracker will be a great resource to use as a starting point.
Columns you might want to include on your tracker are:
Position Applied for
Description of position
Date of Last Contact
List the name of the employer or company
This will help you know when to appropriately follow-up with an employer.
List the Job title and any notes on the position
List either where you found the job posting, the home website for the company, or both.
This will be great to have on hand if the employer calls you back for an interview.
List here how you applied. Was it online? Did you send an email with a cover letter and résumé attached?
Did you follow-up with the employer? If so, list the date and method of contact.
List any other important information in here. For example, list the name of a referrals, etc.
Discuss the columns you decided to include on your own tracker, and why that information will be helpful to you throughout your search:
Step 3: Conduct Industry Research
Before you step into a new career, conducting industry research is essential. Having a solid base of industry knowledge will help you stand out as a candidate, provide topics to discuss while networking, and increase your confidence as an emerging professional. Industry knowledge will also help you have a good understanding of the professional field you are stepping into and what to expect.
While preparing for a job-search, the following topics will be most relevant to gain more information on:
· Job titles that are relevant and desirable to your experience and goals
· Relevant industry key words to include on your resume and help communicate your expertise
· Targeted Employers you are interested in working for
· What exactly does the company do?
· What is the company’s history and future outlook?
· What are the company’s values and mission?
· Would the company be a good fit for you and your professional goals?
· Industry information and news gained via Organizational, Industry and Company websites
· Who are the industry leaders and well-known companies in your field?
· What qualifications are needed to work in this industry? At a particular company?
· What is new in the field and what challenges are companies facing?
What are the top 3 job titles you plan to search for and why?
Who are your top 3 most ideal employers (or Targeted Employers)?
How will industry knowledge help you effectively communicate with other professionals in the field?
Step 4: Network
Networking can be greatly beneficial to any job search. It can be a huge advantage to have a well-established professional network, as many available positions are never publicly advertised, and are instead filled via networked connections. As you begin networking, the industry research you have conducted will be a great way to showcase your communication skills, industry knowledge and value as a candidate. Representing yourself as an articulate and qualified professional with great communication skills can go a long way in creating a positive impression upon other professionals within your industry, and it could even land you a job!
Creating and maintaining a network of professional connections requires effort and consistent communication, but the time spent on building a network can create countless advantages and opportunities throughout your career. Be sure you are getting out there and building a network as soon as possible; it is to your advantage to at least have a basic network established before you even begin job searching.
Some great ways to network with professionals in your industry are:
· Networking in person:
· Career Fairs
· Industry Events
· Alumni Events at your College
· Volunteer experiences
· Internships and Externships
· Informational Interviews
· Networking online via LinkedIn and other social media
Have you had any recent networking experiences? What did you gain from them?
How do you plan to continue networking in the future?
Step 5: Begin applying
The process of applying for jobs can be detailed and involve multiple steps, but with a plan of approach in place you will be able to navigate the applications with confidence! Be sure you are tailoring your job search documents (résumé, cover letter, references, etc.) to be specifically directed at each position you are applying for. Also, don’t forget to use your job-search tracker to document your efforts!
There are many different methods of submitting applications to available positions. Here are some you may consider utilizing:
· Online postings:
· Job boards
· LinkedIn Jobs
· Directly through company websites when possible
· In person:
· By vising a company in person and inquiring
· Through networked connections and referrals
· Via a Community Employment Center or Recruiter
· Via leads found through the support of a Career Services Advisor
What methods of applying for positions do you plan to utilize? Why do you feel these approaches will be effective for you?
Step 6: Follow up
Make sure that your efforts and applications do not fall flat! Once you have submitted a resume or application for an open position, you are not finished. Instead of simply waiting to be contacted, in most cases it is best to reach out to the company to follow up on the status of your application. Show initiative and interest, but do not be too eager or pushy. Make sure all of your communications are articulate and professional, and inquire about what the next steps in the application process are.
You can inquire via phone, email, or written letter, depending on what seems appropriate for that particular employer. In most cases, you will be contacting the human resources or recruiting department of the company. When possible, it can also be a good idea to visit the employer in person, to offer a hard copy of your resume as a follow up to an online application. Proper follow up and good communication can be the difference in landing and interview and being overlooked!
Why is timely follow up using professional communication essential after applying to a position?