Creating your job search plan


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Simple to follow information on putting together a job search plan.

Published in: Career, Business

Creating your job search plan

  1. 1. Creating Your Job Search Plan © Christian HELP Foundation, inc 2010
  2. 2. Getting Organized • Today’s job search is competitive and requires a higher level of organization and persistence. People who once had recruiters pursuing them are now finding they have to pursue the recruiters. Blue collar jobs are now requiring online applications. The dynamics of the search have changed. • If you have not applied for unemployment you can do so online at . • Make sure you have a professional e-mail address, . Below is an example from Hit create an account to start.
  3. 3. Getting Organized Use your name, if possible as your e-mail address it is professional and easy to remember. Write down your e-mail address and password somewhere safe. (Your job search log is a good place) Pick a security question you can answer if you forget your password.
  4. 4. Getting Organized Use your name, if possible as your e-mail address it is professional and easy to remember. Write down your e-mail address and password somewhere safe. (Your job search log is a good place) Pick a security question you can answer if you forget your password.
  5. 5. What Kind of Job? • Do a skills inventory • If you are not sure what type of job you are looking for or need to change careers, use free websites such as and win/JTypes2.asp to help you determine what types of jobs to apply for. • Make sure your resume is up to date and error free • If you don’t have a computer, make sure you have a memory stick or an e-mail folder accessible on the web. Passionate about Skills, Abilities Know how, rather not
  6. 6. Create a Job Search Log • Create a log for your user names and passwords for online applications. Include where you applied, the date you applied, contact information, web address, and follow up information. You can also use a notebook or planner. See sample below: Date Website User Name Password Contact Name E-mail Phone Follow Up Comments
  7. 7. Plan your Job Search • Plan your time each day- looking for a job is your job. Below is a sample calendar. Adapt for your needs. Networking groups may be in the morning or evening times. Include time for interviews, skills classes, informational meetings, and other job search activities. Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday 8:00 Research Research Research Research Volunteer 9:00 Apply Online Apply Online Apply Online Apply Online Volunteer 10:00 Apply Online Apply Online Apply Online Apply Online Volunteer 11:00 Apply Online Apply Online Apply Online Apply Online Volunteer 12:00 Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch 1:00 Networking Networking Networking Networking Networking 2:00 Networking Networking Networking Networking Networking 3:00 Follow up Follow up Follow up Follow up Follow up 4:00 Follow up Follow up Follow up Follow up Follow up 5:00 Preparation Preparation Preparation Preparation Preparation
  8. 8. Important Job Search Tips • Make sure your e-mail and voicemail are professional. • If you are applying in person, every contact matters. • Get dressed every day. It helps keep you on track. • Keep a positive attitude/outlook no matter how frustrated you are. • Use all available resources- Newspaper, online job boards, job fairs, networking, social media.
  9. 9. Cover Letters • Don’t listen to anyone who says you don’t need a cover letter. Not having a cover letter is like not being fully dressed for an event. A cover letter introduces your resume to the reader and can fill in any gaps from your resume. It is also another great tool to help you optimize your resume for online applications. • Important tips for cover letters: • Just like a resume spell check and grammar check your letter. • Customize each letter to the employer. If you can get a name to address it to even better. If you have the name, but are not sure of the gender leave it off. Mr. Kris Smith might just be Ms. Kris Smith. • NEVER use text speak. I would like to meet u. Is not acceptable. • You may copy and paste your cover letter into an e-mail, but add it as an attachment as well. • For both resumes and cover letters .doc is the best format. Not everyone can open .pdf and .docx.
  10. 10. Cover Letter • Address Block- Include your contact information and try to find a contact if possible. Linkedin and Google are great resources for information. Linkedin now has a company search feature you can use to see who works at a company and what their titles are. • Introductory Paragraph- This paragraph should tell the hiring manager how you heard about the position and indicate why you believe you are a great fit for the job. • Body Paragraphs- Use this area to elaborate on their requirements and what your experience will bring to their organization. Remember to keep this employer focused. It is also a good area to explain why you are still a great candidate if you do not meet all of the requirements. For example, if you have 20 years of experience and were promoted through the ranks but do not have a degree, this is the area where you can explain how your experience qualifies you for the position. • Closing Paragraph- Use this paragraph to emphasize your qualifications and ask for an interview.
  11. 11. Cover Letter
  12. 12. Resumes • There are many opinions on resumes out there. The resume itself is a tool used to introduce you and your experience to a potential employer. An interview can happen through networking before a resume is ever exchanged or a resume may be a ticket in the door to the interview. Either way, the resume must be a great first impression when it arrives.
  13. 13. Resumes There are several types of Resumes people use: • Chronological- This traditional style of resume generally includes an objective, a list of employment history from most current to furthest back, education, and any honors or additional training. • Functional- This type of resume has been used for career transitions and to cover any “red flags” or gaps in employment. It is not preferred by employers. • Skills Based- This type of resume is a combination of Chronological and Functional resumes and has become very popular with the advent of online applications. This type of resume allows for maximizing keywords to be read by online software. • Curriculum Vitae- This type of resume is generally used by academia and is much longer than traditional resumes.
  14. 14. Resumes Dissecting Resumes: • Objective- This is a statement about what you would like the resume to achieve. Many people are leaving this off and using a summary instead. If you choose to include an objective it must be well written and focus on what you will bring to the employer not what you expect them to do for you. • Synopsis or Summary of Qualifications- This can be a summary paragraph or a series of bullet points. It should be easily read and describe what you bring to the table in 10 seconds or less. • Skills- This can be a bullet point list or combined throughout the resume within the summary and employment history. This is crucial for resume keyword optimization. • Employment History- Employment history should be chronological with the most recent job on top. It can also be divided by related and other work history depending on the job you are applying for and the variety of jobs you have held. This area should include company name, dates of employment including months and years, job title, a brief overview statement and bullet points of notable achievements and responsibilities. • Education- List highest education achieved or in progress, no further back than high school. • Certifications and Achievements- any professional certifications or achievements are listed in this area.
  15. 15. Resumes Actions speak loudest: • Recruiters and Hiring Managers should be able to tell what type of job you are applying for. • Resumes should not be a checklist of your day to day work • Highlight achievements- this is your brag sheet • How did you save the company money or meet or exceed goals? Did you make a process easier? Was your turnover low? Did you provide outstanding service? • Use action words to describe your activities The length debate: • Entry level should be one page • Mid-level to Executive should be 2 pages. (Mid-level can be one)
  16. 16. Resumes
  17. 17. Resumes Keywords are Key to being notices in Cyberspace: • When resumes are “read” by online programs they seek out keywords from the job description and find matches in your resume and cover letter. • Take the job description and highlight all of the skills, knowledge, and abilities you have and add them in to your resume. • It is important that you only include skills you have, but you can use your cover letter to explain if you are missing something they require. For example: Job requires a Bachelors Degree and you have 25 years of experience and an AA Degree. You could say “While I have not achieved a Bachelor’s Degree, I feel strongly my 25 years of experience qualifies me for this position.”
  18. 18. Online Application Secrets • Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a one-size fits all online application? Unfortunately, there are hundreds of different systems and they are tailored to the needs of the employer. This application system may save time for an employer by allowing them to take in thousands of resumes and have the computer system make a “best match”. • It is important to complete the application from start to finish. Each system may be different as to whether or not it can be saved. Make sure you have enough time to finish the application once it is started.
  19. 19. Online Application Secrets • There are 3 P’s to online applications Preparedness, Patience, and Persistence. • Preparedness: Before you start, make sure you have all of your information readily available. Keep a copy of your resume on a memory stick, in your e-mail, or on your computer. This will help with copying and pasting or uploading if required. Phone numbers and addresses of previous employers and references may be required. • Patience: Online applications can be long and frustrating. Do not take shortcuts because you just want to get done or because you are bored with the process. • Persistence: Persistence is in here because when we wrote the curriculum for our online application class we were booted out, timed out, and overall frustrated with the process of online applications. If you really want the job, you must be willing to complete the process. Think of it as your first test.
  20. 20. Pre-Screening • Speaking of tests, many applications have a screening process. I like the ones who put it at the front of the application vs. the ones you have to go through all the steps and then it kicks you out. • The screening process generally looks for your propensity towards certain behaviors and your consistency in answering the questions. Some examples of behaviors they are looking for are: ability to get along with supervisor and co-workers, dependability, theft, drug use, and likelihood of on the job injury. • My advice for these screenings is simple- USE COMMON SENSE.
  21. 21. NETWORKING- More than an excuse to get out of the house • Connect to networking groups- has several listed. Career Management Network has a calendar of networking events job seekers can get involved with. • Network with professionals in your field. Some organizations like SHRM are temporarily waving fees for the unemployed HR Professionals. You may also be able to volunteer in lieu of paying fees at some events. • Volunteering is a way to keep skills fresh. Some professional candidates worry that volunteering takes up their job search time, but in reality it could lead to connections leading to a job.
  22. 22. Social Media • Networking is still the way to get jobs. Social media includes websites such as;; and There are also great opportunities to network on .
  23. 23. Telephone Interviews • Telephone interviews are the gateway to in person interviews. It is crucial you are prepared for the recruiter to call. Also known as a pre- screen interview, the telephone interview gives the recruiter clues about you before having you come in and take their time and the time of the hiring manager. • When you send out your resume expect that you may get a call. Even though not every resume submission results in an interview, it is important you are prepared when it does.
  24. 24. Telephone Interviews Important Phone Interview Reminders: • Make sure you have a professional answering machine message. If you do not want to put your name on the message, put your phone number. For example, “You have reached xxx-xxx-xxxx, we are currently unavailable to answer the phone, please leave a detailed message with your name and number and we will return your call at our earliest convenience.” This way the recruiter will know they are leaving a message at the right number. • DO NOT have funny or offensive messages or long rap songs as your message when you are job searching. They may result in missed opportunities. • Try to keep your resume and log near the phone. This will help you if the recruiter asks questions about your resume. If you have company research notes, that will help you event more.
  25. 25. Telephone Interviews • Try to take the call in a quiet area. Yelling at your kids or over the TV does not give a first impression. • DO NOT answer the other line and put the recruiter on hold unless it is absolutely necessary. • Be prepared by practicing interview questions before the calls come. If you can be articulate and answer the questions asked, your opportunity for an in-person interview goes up dramatically. See interview section for some common interview questions. • Recently, I have seen people hired as a result of phone interviews and e-mail conversations without an in-person interview. This may be your only chance at the job, make it count!
  26. 26. Interviewing • Interviewing is one of the most nerve wracking parts of the job search, but necessary for getting a job. This is your chance to showcase yourself and convince the employer you are right for the job. • Some important interviewing tips: • Arrive on time. It is good to be there a few minutes early, but no more than 15 minutes before your scheduled time. Take a “dry run” the day before to make sure you know where the location is and how long it will take you to get there. • Dress Professionally. For men a dark suit with a solid shirt and tie, for women a dark skirt or pants suit is best. If the job is in a casual environment, khaki’s and a polo shirt or a nice blouse for women is appropriate. Shoes should be cleaned and polished. • Limit cologne and perfume use. • has great tips on professional dress and interviewing.
  27. 27. Interviewing • EVERY contact matters. HR professionals are known to have lunch with the receptionist. Make sure you are polite to everyone you meet. Strike up a conversation about the company and culture if you have the opportunity. • Remember to leave all of your problems at home. The interviewer is not a counselor and does not want to hear about all the reasons you might not be a good employee. They are looking for the best possible fit. • Research the company before you arrive. Know the history, any projects they are working on, and anything that might be newsworthy. • Have questions prepared in advance about the company, the typical day, expectations, etc. Leave Benefits and salary to the second interview unless the interviewer brings them up. Ask about the next steps in the process and ALWAYS ask for the job if you are interested. You can say something to the effect of “This certainly seems like a great place to work. I would love to be part of your team. What is the next step in the process?”
  28. 28. Interviewing Types of Interviews: • Open ended questions: The interviewer asks a series of questions which are open ended and waits for answers. In most cases these are not yes or no questions. The responses from the questions will lead the interviewer to the next set of questions. • Behavioral interviews: This is becoming the most popular line of questioning for interviewing. The interviewer asks a series of questions asking about a situation or task, the action taken, and the results of that action. For example: “Tell me about a time when you had an irate customer screaming at you, how did you handle it, and what was the result.” The interviewer is looking for past behaviors in order to predict future results. • Panel Interviews: Panel interviews are done by several people at one time. These interviews can be quite stressful and feel like and interrogation. This gives the interviewing team a chance to observe your answers together and compare notes. The panel interviews are generally done for management positions and above.
  29. 29. Thank you • The art of saying thank you should never be lost. Make sure you thank your interviewer at the time of the interview. • Once you leave the interview write down all the things you wish you had said and forgot and/or things you feel the need to re-emphasize. • Write a thank you letter to the interviewer(s) and include information from the notes you took when you left. This is a great opportunity to add anything you might have missed in the interview. • Sending a thank you note will set you apart. Written is best, but e-mail is good when there is a short decision window.
  30. 30. Follow up • Many people are afraid to follow up, but it is harder to say no to you in person or on the phone than to a piece of paper. • Calling is fine (unless the ad specifies no phone calls), but stalking is not. Be careful about how often you follow up. • Ask permission to follow up in a certain amount of time (a few days to a week) after the interview. • If you do not get the job, but are still interested, write a letter thanking the interviewer for their time and letting them know that if any other openings come up you are interested. Include any impressions you had of the company.