How to Organize Your Job Search - Advice, Tools & Resources
onJanuary 2nd, 2019
- Updated onMarch 18, 2019 - 8:30am
The Best Online Resources for Job Seekers Series - Part Six
In the five posts in this series, we've covered the key aspects of the job search process:
- Searching & Applying: The Best Online Resources for Finding & Applying for Jobs
- Networking: Proactive Job Search Strategies - How to Get Noticed & Land Faster
- Identifying and Evaluating Recruiters: Why & How to Leverage Recruiters in Your Job Search
- Preparing for Interview: How to Succeed at Interviews and Salary Negotiation
- Leveraging Research: How to Leverage the Library & Internet For Your Job Search Research
Within each post, we've shared our top tips and favorite resources. Now that we have reviewed and evaluated some of the best job search tools on the web, the most important question is:
How do you organize the information and manage your activity?
In this final post, we explore seven strategies for organizing your search. We include advice and recommended resources for each.
1.) Develop Your Marketing Plan
Now you are armed with information and resources, the question is do you have a written plan? Most job seekers are surprised by this question. They haven’t considered the possibility that they need to have a written plan. But the truth is: your job search is way too important to ‘wing it’. It needs to be thought through, planned out, and then executed. Goals need to be set. Results must be reviewed, and adjustments made. Your search should be managed like any other important work project – but in fact, it’s the most important project you’ll ever manage.
A good job search plan should contain the following:
- Your 3 critical lists
- Verbal marketing tools
- Your questions
- Strategies and activities, online and offline
- Contact management, including follow up management
- Goal setting
This series underscores one undeniable truth – that the job search process today is complex and multi-faceted. There is no single approach that guarantees a job, and failure to incorporate multiple approaches may significantly increase the amount of time it takes to land. Job transition is not about identifying positions you can apply for – but instead it’s about how many people you can talk to. No longer a question of filling out a form, job search now is all about relationship management.
2.) Create Your 3 Critical Lists
Building and managing 3 key lists can make all the difference in the length of your search.
- Your Personal Network. People you know are your most important resource. These are people you have worked with in the past; including colleagues, co-workers, managers, supervisors, mentors, trusted advisors, customers, vendors, strategic partners, friends, and neighbors. These are your biggest fans – the people who know you, your integrity and the quality of your work; and are happy to recommend you to others. Your personal contacts and the people they know are the most important resources in your job search. Set up informational interviews with as many as you can, and start asking questions. Start looking for problems that you can solve.
- Target Employers. What companies are you most interested in? Which companies are within 15 minutes of your home? Where do your friends work? What is their experience? Do they like it and have they worked there for a long time? Which companies have a great reputation? Who do your contacts know at those companies and can they introduce you? Build your list of target employers and be proactive in your search efforts.
- Recruiters. For almost every profession and level of responsibility, there’s a third party recruiter for that. Recruiters can offer permanent placements or contract work. Sometimes temp or contract work is the best way to get a foot in the door. But if your search is limited to filling out applications, you are probably missing out on some opportunities. The recruiter channel is a very important direction that many people neglect. Build your list of the top recruiters in your field or industry nationwide, and contact each one to see if you want to work with them,
It’s not just about finding a job, but developing multiple opportunities so that you can leverage the best opportunity. Sell smart by building your Critical 3 lists, and see what kind of results you can produce.
3.) Manage Your Verbal Marketing Tools
Do you have the following marketing readily accessible? You never know when you might need them, so having them available for reference on your laptop and smartphone means you’re never caught unprepared. We covered these marketing tools in How To Succeed at Interviews and Salary Negotiation:
- Elevator Pitch
- Transition Statement
- Your Top 5 PAR / STAR success stories
4.) Have Your Questions Ready
Job search is all about getting answers to your questions, so it’s important to know what those questions are and have them easily accessible. Of course, the types of questions you might ask will vary depending on the situation:
1.) Questions for Hiring Managers
- What stood out in my background and experience (from my resume)?
- Can you share the history of this position?
- Is there a typical day in this role? If so, what does it look like?
- How would you describe the company culture?
- What do you like best about working here?
- What do you like least?
- How would you describe your management style?
- What are the next steps in the hiring process?
2.) Questions for Recruiters
- What companies are you hiring for?
- What are your specialties?
- What can you tell me about the market for professionals in my field?
- How do you set up interviews?
- Do you help candidates prepare for interviews?
- Do you give feedback after interviews?
- Do you source candidates for contract opportunities as well as permanent positions?
- Who do you know that I can talk to?
- What companies should I be looking at?
- Do you know any good recruiters?
- What strategies do you suggest?
5.) Manage your Activities & Define Your Goals
- Phone calls
- LinkedIn contacts
- LinkedIn views
- Applications submitted, with resume and correspondence sent
- Job sites with job alerts set up and/or resume posted
- Your running list of keywords
6.) Leverage Your Online Profiles & SEO
According to Jobvite's Recruiter Nation Survey 2018, the top social channels used by recruiters and the percentage use are as follows:
- LinkedIn (77%)
- Facebook (63%)
- Instagram (25%) although this varies, with 35% of millennial recruiters using and 63% of technology companies using
We would recommend leveraging these social platforms for a job search, adding Twitter to the list. All enable you to find opportunities, be found, and strengthen your online presence. Remember that your online presence is a critical element of your search. Don't forget the niche sites or employer career sites where you may have profiles and resumes posted. For all of these sites, your keywords drive your visibility and results. We covered niche sites and SEO in Proactive Job Search Strategies - How To Get Noticed & Land Faster.
Here are a few excellent tools for managing your social media presence. I have to admit, I’m not an expert on this subject, but here’s what the AJO's Marketing team shared.
Hootsuite is the original social media manager, so all the other tools out there seem to be measured against it. With a free Hootsuite Account, you can manage up to three social profiles all in one place. Plus, set up searches to scan your social media channel for job openings, target company mentions, and posts. There's a course to learn how to get up to speed (once you've created your account). This screenshot shows AJO's dashboard (with the Twitter profile in view). You can add 'streams' within each profile to:
- Create a post and auto-schedule to all platforms simultaneously, adding images and video.
- Manage each channel (E.g, scheduled posts, new followers, mentions, likes, shares, etc.)
- Monitor the channel (E.g., keywords to track jobs, target companies, topics of interest, etc.)
- Engage with followers and followed.
Other free tools to explore are:
- Buffer - Allows three social profiles free with many of the same features as Hootsuite.
- TweetDeck - For managing Twitter posting and monitoring.
7.) Manage Your Opportunities
Finally, along with your plan, you need a system to track your target companies, contacts, and job opportunities, including alerts and follow-ups. I recommend JibberJobber which bills itself as a career management tool because you can use it throughout your career.
First, JibberJobber gives you access to 90% of its features free with an annual subscription costing $60. Try out the basic membership first before adding features with the Premium version. There are a lot of positive features, but my favorites are:
- Job Application Tracking – Track every job you apply for, along with all events and contacts associated with that job.
- Keyword Analysis – Get a quick breakdown of the most important keywords in each listing.
- Network Tracking – My favorite JibberJobber feature is the ‘Referred By’ field that allows you to make a note of how you know that person.
To learn more, watch this short clip:
If you are a business development professional familiar with Hubspot, you can use its free CRM. This post explains How to Organize Your Job Hunt in HubSpot CRM.
To recap, you need a marketing plan. Your plan should integrate your ‘Critical 3’ lists, your verbal statements, your key questions for interviews, recruiters and networking contacts, and your goals and objectives. Plan out every week. You’ll need a CRM or tracking system for your search, and a social media management tool if you are active on multiple platforms and want to set up searches to monitor your channels for jobs.
Six installments later, I hope you have received a good overview of an effective search and the best internet tools to support you in your search. As you have seen, there is no single answer or website that will get you where you need to go. There are many strategies and web resources, and your challenge is to synthesize all of these disparate ideas and tools into a complete and comprehensive system that works for you.
Good luck in your job search!
Mike Ballard is an AJO Career Coach & Trainer with 10 years experience providing career transition consulting services to 1,900+ professionals in transition, including C-Level executives, program and project managers, sales managers & account reps, IT, software developers, technicians, engineers, insurance & administrators. Mike specializes in helping job seekers understand hiring technologies and developing effective career marketing strategies to find the right job and employer.