• By Check-a-Salary
  • Posted Tuesday 07 th March 2023

What Does an Effective Job Search Plan Include?

Job hunting is a time-consuming process, and it can sometimes take months to find the perfect job for you. But having an efficient job search plan can cut down that time considerably, helping you land a job in a fraction of the time and ensuring that the time you spend on searching for a job is used wisely.

With this in mind, what does an effective job search plan include and how can you create a job search plan that helps you to get hired by the right companies?

Get prepared

The early stages of your search are critical to your success so the more prepared you are, the better your chances will be of finding a job. It’s worthwhile creating a cover letter and looking for the most relevant CV template, but remember that there’s real value in a concise and personalised message. Copy and pasting your cover letters might save you time if you’re applying for lots of roles, but it doesn’t send the right impression and you could wind up making a mistake and addressing the wrong person which is a big faux-pas.

A big part of preparing your CV and fine-tuning an application before writing off for a job is knowing how to stand out from other applicants. The job market can be crowded so you will want to stand out from the competition with a polished CV, form and cover letter that highlights your best credentials. Today's employers and HR departments want to grow their business with a talent strategy that works to fill a specific role or department gap. This might mean identifying ‘A Players’ and looking for team players in a targeted recruitment drive to find their ideal candidate.

You also want to ensure your CV is up to date with the right contact details for you and your references, so it’s ready to send off when a vacancy arises. Set yourself a timeline and goals, such as applying for a certain number of jobs per week and map out how you’ll research employers in your local area. And, if you need a portfolio for your line of work, make sure it’s up to date and features your best work. Lastly, sign up notifications on job sites to help you in your search.

Practice interview skills in advance

It might have been a while since you’ve gone through the interview process, so you might be a little out of practice. When you get invited to an interview, do a practice run with a friend or a relative where you can ease any potential anxiety, check you’re presenting yourself in the right way and consider your answers to the type of questions you might be asked. Then, you can go into the real interview feeling confident, calm and poised to present yourself in the best possible way.

In addition to practicing interviews with friends or relatives, leveraging online resources like Practice4Me can significantly enhance your interview readiness. Practice4Me offers tailored practice tests and interview simulations for a variety of industries, helping job seekers to not only anticipate the questions they might face but also to practice their responses in a simulated interview environment. This kind of preparation can be invaluable, ensuring you present yourself in the best possible light and stand out from the competition.

Build your experience

You might not necessarily have all the experience you need for the type of role you want to move into, but don’t be put off. Instead, use that knowledge to gain the skills you need through additional learning pathways, work placements and internships so that you can apply with confidence.

You could do some volunteer work in your chosen industry to shadow people who are in the role you want to apply for, so you can see what the job entails and build up your knowledge. Or perhaps you want to take on a more hands-on job, in which case completing an apprenticeship will help you build your network, increase your transferable skills and earn you a qualification that will help you when applying for paid roles. There are many benefits to being an apprentice, from earning while you learn to receiving an industry-recognised qualification, gaining independence and real work experience, and developing your skills while improving your employability.

Update your socials

Social media is integral to today’s recruitment process, so you shouldn’t neglect it when you’re applying for jobs. You want any recruiter searching for you online to find well curated socials that present you in the right way. Consider the platforms where a recruiter may search for candidates.

For example, if you’re in a creative industry, they may look at your Instagram profile as an extension of your portfolio, while a writer may have a blog or a Substack newsletter. Whatever industry you’re in, a well-optimised LinkedIn profile is a must and it’s a great way for you to share your knowledge and expertise.

Network with employees

Building up your network of contacts can be very useful when it comes to applying for your dream job, and it should be one of your priorities when you’re job hunting. Once you’ve established the type of role you want, built up your skills to apply with confidence and updated your socials to enhance your employability as well as boost your visibility online, the next step is to find people who are doing those jobs already.

Research any companies you’d like to work for and assess what skills and experience people in those roles have. Strike up a conversation with people at industry conferences, ask about the culture at specific companies and the day to day tasks that are given at each organisation. Ask whether they’re happy in the role. It will shed light on what might be an abstract concept to you at this stage, so you know what to expect. Even if you don’t wind up working for those businesses, the connections you make are worthwhile for your long-term career.

Know what job titles you’re looking for

Recruiters might use a variety of terms to describe the same type of job, so knowing the job role variations and industry jargon will ensure you don’t miss a potential vacancy or overlook your dream job simply because it’s labelled as something different. If you’re using job sites and taking on board good career-advice to search for your next role, make sure that any predefined searches include these variations so that you get the full overview of what’s available.

Similarly, don’t overlook different levels of job in your area of expertise, as what one company might consider an entry level job another may not. For example, a Junior Developer role at one company might be a mid-level position somewhere else, so look at the skills and experience required more than the job title.

Final thoughts

Job searching requires a lot of patience and time, but with a bit of research and organisation, you can create a job search plan that gives you a clear view of what you’re looking for and puts you in the best position to get hired. The key to a successful job search plan is having a clear set of goals and a timeline in place so you’re not left wondering where to use your time.


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