Planning your job search

Planning your job search

Are you ready to take the next step in your career? Perhaps you would like more responsibility or want to diversify your skills and experience. Maybe you want to move into a new industry. Or perhaps you want to improve your salary, benefits or work-life balance.

Regardless of your goals, none of these things are going to happen by themselves. Career-advancing job opportunities are available but achieving your dream job involves more than simply applying for any and every job you see.

So, before you hit send on your first application you must focus and develop a winning job search strategy aligned to your longer-term goals. By taking the time to strategically plan, you’ll ensure your next move takes you one step closer to achieving your ultimate career ambitions.

Here are 4 steps to help you plan your next job search.

1. Reflect

Take a moment to stop and reflect upon your career. Consider where you are in your career and, crucially, what role you ultimately aspire to. Once you define your ultimate career goal, you can identify the promotions and skills required to get there.

Ask yourself such questions as:

  • Where do I see myself in ten years’ time?
  • What job/s will help me bridge the gap to reach my goal?
  • What have I achieved in my career to date that I’m proud of?
  • Is my ultimate career goal still the same as it was last time I looked for a job? If not, what’s changed?
  • What are my strengths and weaknesses?
  • What skill gaps do I need to overcome to reach my goal?

2. Define your next move

Once you have identified your career goal and the steps required to get there, you need to define your immediate next career move. It’s important to look beyond the duties and experience you need to acquire and consider the bigger picture, such as the culture in which you thrive and the benefits you want.

Ask yourself such questions as:

  • What role represents the next sensible step towards my long-term career goal?
  • What skills do I need to develop in my next role?
  • Do I want a job offering room for progression?
  • Are learning and development opportunities important?
  • What kind of culture brings out the best in me?
  • What kind of work environment brings out the best in me?
  • What salary and benefits am I realistically looking for?

Download our Job Search Planner to take control of your job search. Our planner guides you through these stages to focus your job search and lead you to success.

3. Get to work

Once you know what your immediate next job should be, it’s time to update your CV and LinkedIn profile.

This includes creating an eye-catching professional summary that positions you as a suitable candidate for the job. It should focus on what you can offer an employer, not what you want out of your next job.

Ultimately, both your CV and LinkedIn profile should contain enough evidence to demonstrate the relevancy of your previous experience and successes so that a hiring manager or recruiter cannot overlook you.

4. Plan your week

It’s important to break your job search down into small actionable tasks. Otherwise, you may feel overwhelmed and give up before you even start. You can do this by identifying weekly goals and then breaking them down into daily tasks so that you keep your job search on track.

Examples of such manageable tasks include:

  • Identify at least five prospective employers;
  • Find and apply to at least one job opening;
  • Schedule a meeting with a recruiting expert;
  • Share with your recruiter what you want in your next job;
  • Network with existing connections and build your online connections;
  • Sharpen your interviewing skills – both for in-person and video interviews

Once you’ve created your plan, stick to it! Refer to it regularly, update your weekly planner each Monday and allocate some time every day to spend on your job search.

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