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10/05/2015 |

strategy job search

Over the years, many in the workforce development field have talked about job search strategies as though it’s a numbers game + luck. To some extent, they might be right. However, I believe that all effective job searches begin with a strategy. Benjamin Franklin once said, “That if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This holds true to a job search.

With any strategy, you plan and you execute. After a specific timeframe (30, 60 or 90 days), you re-evaluate, make changes and continue. Below is a simple plan that can be used by anyone. It helps job seekers stay focused – all areas are targeted towards getting a job. When I coach job seekers, or staff, I always ask “What is their/your strategy?” For many, applying to jobs is the extent of the job search. For others it’s a culmination of everything and the kitchen sink. Below is a diagram created to help develop a basic job search strategy.




Every job search strategy should incorporates a Networking, Skill Development and Action goal. Steps and dates should then be incorporated to ensure you reach those goals. Goals can be one or more of the following (chart 1). Keep in mind that the most successful strategies are often the most simple. So for each goal, try to stick with 2-3 strategies, anything above 3 and your strategy may become too complicated.

  • Networking: Employer spotlights, job fairs, networking events, LinkedIn, informational interviewing, volunteering, or creating a networking tree.
  • Skill Development: Microsoft applications, enrollment into training, school, certificate program, or attending employment focused workshops.
  • Action: Researching companies, setting a goal for number of jobs applying for (online/ in-person).

Once completed, the strategy will give the job seeker a better idea of how to spend their time and what will be accomplished. It’s also very important to let job seekers know strategies need to be evaluated after a month to determine what worked and what should continue. Along with this simple strategy, clients should be encouraged to keep journals to maximize their job searches. Below is a completed strategy (chart 2) I added more strategies just for this exercise.


How to get a job

The completed plan above does not incorporate any due dates, however one should. As Peter Drucker once said, “Unless a commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes, but no plans.” Hope this article is helpful. I’d really like to hear what others are doing and if there is anything that can be added and shared. Either way, go out and make something happen!!!

by Troy Henry