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Create a Plan of Action

Organize your job search

Losing a job typically means losing the daily structure we rely upon to stay focused and productive. A well-developed job search plan can provide the structure to help us stay focused and engaged.

Here's how to organize your search in a way that helps you make the most of each day.

  1. Break the process of searching and applying for jobs into a series of goals that you can accomplish in 60 to 90 minutes. The goals can be activity based (research three local companies) or results based (complete profile sheets on three local companies). Whenever possible, create results-based goals. When you identify the reasons behind your efforts, it is easier to identify the specific steps needed to accomplish the goals.

    In the early stages of your job search, many of the goals involve laying the groundwork. This means identifying your strengths, creating a general-purpose resume and cover letter, attending workshops at your local One-Stop Career Center, or listing people for your job-search network.

    As soon as possible, start adding goals that are more directly tied to finding employment opportunities and connecting with people who make hiring decisions.   
  2. Create a daily or weekly schedule, and plug these goals into the time blocks on the schedule.
  3. Work your plan. Commit the necessary amount of time each day to complete each goal or task.
  4. Monitor your progress at the end of each day or week, verifying that you are on track. Determine your goals for the next day or week and plug them into blocks on your schedule. 

Here are some examples of goals or steps you could include as you develop your own list for your daily or weekly schedule.

The preparation stage

  • Make a list of anyone I know who could help me locate, learn about, or connect with employment opportunities.
  • Develop my professional introduction or 30-second elevator speech.
  • Revise the experience section of my general purpose resume.
  • Prepare answers to four questions that employers typically ask in a job interview. 

The active job search stage

  • Meet at least 10 new people each week to add my job search network.
  • Make telephone calls to four members of my job search network, or meet one of them for coffee, with the goal of identifying two new potential employment opportunities that may be a good match for my skills and interests.
  • Customize my resume for a specific employment opportunity or employer I am targeting.
  • Make follow-up calls to the companies I contacted or interviewed with last week.
  • Visit 12 retail businesses on Main Street and inquire about their current or future hiring needs. Pick up employment applications if they have them. Leave a copy of my resume with the senior person in the store if they don't use application forms.
  • Conduct a mock interview with a friend or family member to practice the answers to common questions.
  • Email my network contacts to update them on my progress.

Here is an example of a weekly job search schedule. The jobseeker has filled in several high-priority activities throughout the week. Each afternoon, new goals or tasks will be plugged into the next day's remaining free blocks of time.

Print

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8 a.m. Enter info on new network contacts I met this past weekend Write and send follow-up email to retail shops I visited Monday Review answers to likely interview questions, take bus to Paragon    
9 a.m. Print copies of resumes, take bus downtown   Job interview at Paragon Co. with Mary Barton    
10 a.m. Visit 12 retail shops on Main Street     Informational interview with Todd Wilson at Smith Co.  
11 a.m. Continue retail shop visits        
12 noon Lunch and walk Lunch and walk Lunch and walk Lunch and walk Lunch and walk
1 p.m. Email general purpose resume to new contacts from weekend & thank them in advance for their help    Jersey Job Club meeting    
2 p.m. Finish customizing resume for Smith Co.        
3 p.m. Allocate time for family priorities Allocate time for family priorities Allocate time for family priorities Allocate time for family priorities Allocate time for family priorities
4 p.m. Touch base with 3 network contacts by phone. Complete Tuesday's schedule   Write and mail thank you notes to Paragon interviewers Write and mail thank you note to Todd Wilson