How To Create Your Job Search Action Planby Sima Dahl
Job seekers are a curious bunch and I should know, been there and done that, more than once. We have what appears to be all the time in the world yet we seem to have no time at all. We’re frantically networking – online and off – looking under couch cushions for a glimmer of a job lead to chase down like a bull charging a toreador.
I recall vividly the summer of 2001. I was still a newlywed trying to find a high tech job in the so-called Silicon Prairie just months after the dot com meltdown. I was miserable. I went from being that gal with her own condo in Chicago’s Gold Coast, a track record of slam-dunk success and a MBA to boot… I went from The Bride for crying out loud… to someone who needed to borrow money for a haircut. Let me tell you, the time to try and explain to your new husband why his visit to the hair salon is under $25 and yours is nearly $250 is so not when you’re unemployed.
It took me nearly a year to land a full-time job again and what I remember most about those long months of under-employment is how frantic I was to convince everyone and their brother how hard I was looking for work. Each day when my husband came home I wanted him to know how many hours I spent online hunting, on the phone dialing, and offline networking lest he think I was watching soap operas all day.
Truth be told, I wore myself out and it showed. I was frayed at the edges and had to step back to rethink what an optimal job search looked like. I learned the hard way, it does not look like a hamster running on a wheel, although I certainly did!
Now when I work with clients one of the first things we do is create a Job Search Action Plan that clearly spells out measurable goals for all your search-related activities, including:
- Conducting informational interviews
- Attending in-person networking events
- Searching for jobs online
- Volunteering for an industry-related organization
- Contacting recruiters
- Sending unsolicited inquiries
- Social networking
- Sharpening the saw
And we assign dollar amounts too. If you have a budget for association dues and networking events, know what it is and stick to it! Maybe that last bullet caught your eye – it’s a Stephen Covey-ism that I adore and a powerful reminder to make time to replenish your spirit, look after your health, and keep your mind sharp.
A Job Search Action Plan helps ensure you don’t wear yourself out by running in circles. Consider your resources – time, money and energy – and set your goals accordingly.