How to write a job hunt plan
Are you ready for a change? Looking for a new job but don't know where to start? Job hunts can be tedious, I get it. But before you dismiss a job hunt plan as another drain on your valuable time, let's get real. These days, simply submitting your resume for a job you see online you see probably isn't going to cut it…
Even if you do get the first job that you go for, this exercise will help you focus and impress in your interview. Chill the champagne!
The fact is, most of us are job hunting in incredibly competitive markets, so a plan of attack is a great way to maximise your effort and cut through the crowds. A bit of effort up front can go a long way. And when you are embarking on a job hunt, and most likely balancing this with work or study, every hour you save counts!
Ready to get started? Let's go.
Create a great foundation
The obvious first step in your job hunt is to make sure you have a great resume ready to go. Tailoring your resume to every position that you apply for is critical, so ensuring that you have a really solid foundation will make your job hunt so much easier in the long run.
Your resume will need to include:
Your personal statement, or a short and snappy overview to help you stand out from the crowd. Try and keep this concise. Remember, you don't have long to grab a hiring manager's attention!
Then, get straight into your professional work history, including any major projects that you have worked on. Think about:
- The key pieces of work you have delivered. Make sure you describe these in a way that is clear and relatable for people outside your company or work environment.
- Other professional accomplishments that you are proud of. Remember, your resume needs to tell the story about all the things that make you, well you...! Own your achievements and all the things that you do.
Things to get rid of:
- Old work experience like the paper round that you did when you were 13. Remember, you have limited space to impress... keep it relevant.
- Same goes for your entire education history. Unless a job application specifically asks for your high school grades (or you have only just graduated and haven't had a professional job before), think about removing these and using this space to sell the skills that you have relevant to your career.
- Also make sure you delete the random "filler" stuff that you have included over the years. I've read a lot of resumes over the years and you would be amazed at what falls through the cracks! For example, if you have a desk job, does the job ad or hiring manager want to know you can use Microsoft Word? I'd hazard a guess that in 2016 it's a given that you have basic computer literacy!
With these tips in mind, you are well on the way to building a great base resume. When you are ready to apply for a job, take the time to pull apart the position description, and supplement your base resume with some tailored skills and expertise. Done!
Work on your personal mission statement
Nailing your personal mission statement has a number of benefits when you are job hunting. A little bit of self awareness goes a long way!
First of all, it's a handy thing to keep in mind next time you are asked the dreaded "so, what do you do?" question. Instead of giving a one word answer, or making something up on the fly, having a clear and concise mission statement is a great way to respond and get the conversation rolling.
The other benefit of a personal mission statement is that it can double as the start of your cover letter. Don't get me wrong, it's important to write an individual cover letter for every job, but having some key, polished awesome paragraphs to get you going will help you get started. Nothing can be more daunting than a plain white screen glaring at you!
Work out current opportunities
At the lowest point of my job hunt, I felt like I was stuck. Like I had no options. Sound familiar?
Working with my coach, we created a diagram that set out everyone in my network that I was chatting with and the different opportunities I was considering at the time. From there, we started to develop a plan of attack that felt real and gave me something to work towards. At this low point, it was helpful to see that I did have opportunities in my reach, and to visualise my next steps.
Grab a piece of paper and pen, and start mind mapping everyone you are talking to as part of your job hunt, and everything that you are doing to find a new job. Spread them out across the page so you can see everything that's going on. Then, think about what you can do to turn that person, or opportunity, into action. It could be as simple as:
- Chat to Phoebe about blogging and career change
- Follow up initial conversation to seek advice on working in content marketing.
Make sure you take the learnings from your mindmap and turn them into tasks and get to it! And you never know, setting it out like this might help you join the dots... it did for me!
Be a LinkedIn all star
Just having a LinkedIn account isn't going to cut it in 2016. If you really want to get the most out of LinkedIn, you need to have a complete profile and be actively contributing to your community.
Don’t expect to get great things out of LinkedIn if you haven’t made the effort to fully build your profile. It’s amazing how many people miss the basics like profile image, have a unique URL (like https://au.linkedin.com.au/phoebevertigan, a great headline and full work details.
If you are currently job hunting, it's so important that you aren't just passively consume information on LinkedIn. If you have read a great article, that’s informative or is relevant to your professional network, share it with your connections. Include a thoughtful comment. Repeat!
To really set yourself apart from the competition, why not use LinkedIn to publish your thoughts? If you have been thinking about blogging, but haven’t committed to starting your own site, it’s a great way to dip your toes in the water. Every time I publish a post on LinkedIn, I reconnect with a number of people in my network - it's a great conversation starter, and it's also great to hear what people think about your post! Why not give it a go?
Want to know the rest of my tips for getting the most out of LinkedIn? You can read my post here.
Discuss your ideas with confidants
Finally, don't go it alone. Job hunts can come with a lot of highs and lows, so make sure you have your close friends and family on your team.
Good luck! I hope that these hints help you get your job hunt off to a great start... I'm over here cheering you on!