Job Search Plan Task List


By:   |   Updated: 2020-04-29   |   Comments   |   Related: More > Professional Development Career Transition

Problem

"Overwhelming".

If you ask the average job seeker to describe their job search, or how they feel during their job search, this is one of the most common words you hear in response. "Frustrating" is another very common response. Both of these feelings can subside if you take 10-15+ minutes to outline all of the tasks you should be completing as an organized job seeker, and then turning those tasks into a weekly or monthly "Job Seeker To-Do List".

Solution

Having a plan, with realistic and relevant tasks that will contribute to the success of your goal, is one of the best things to do for yourself during any job search!

When should you start this exercise? We recommend starting this process at least 6-8 weeks before you want to start a new job, for those who are nearing a contract ending, individuals who will be graduating and entering the job market, and others who know the timeline for when they’ll want to transition and initiate a job search. 

Step 1:

A first step is to think through and write down all of the different tasks you need to complete. Here’s a list of the most common job seeker activities.

  1. Write or update resume
  2. Solicit feedback on resume from 2+ sources, and make changes to your resume
  3. Update/enhance LinkedIn profile
  4. Audit and update any other public-facing profiles or sites, which could include: Twitter handle, Meetup profile, GitHub site, Stack Overflow, Instagram, Facebook, etc.
  5. Sign up for job alerts
  6. Do research to identify other channels/platforms that could produce job leads
  7. Create an "Application Tracker" to keep record of all the jobs you’re applying to, and at which companies
  8. Apply for jobs
  9. Follow up on jobs/applications
  10. Identify and reach out to Recruiters (RESOURCE: if you've never worked with a Recruiter before, we recommend you check out our "Find a Recruiter" tip!)
  11. Reach out through career services, or other outlets, if you're part of a coding school, University, STEM program, etc.
  12. Identify, join, and attend relevant Meetup or User Groups
  13. Actively market yourself via social platforms, such as sharing via Twitter, LinkedIn and/or Facebook that you're actively in the job market, and communicate the type of role/s you’re looking for  
  14. Identify "hiring trends" or "skills in demand" for your current or target role
  15. Engage in learning/training around the skills or technologies you identify are common in the list of "Requirements" or "Preferred Qualifications" of job postings
  16. Collect quality recommendations or reference letters
  17. Complete skills tests, via providers like Indeed, LinkedIn, Kenexa, etc.
  18. Work on relevant pet projects that you could provide during your applications and/or interviews, whether that be a writing sample or a code snippet
  19. Interview preparation
  20. Post-interview follow up, including writing any thank you emails for interviews within the last 24 hours

Step 2:

Now that you've outlined your own list of tasks to perform around your job search, divvy up those tasks over the next two to four+ weeks, resulting in an organized "Job Seeker Agenda"!

Here is an example of a plan we recently recommended to a graduate of a local STEM program:

  • Monday Action Items:
    • Review a quality resume resource and update accordingly. We recommend our "Resume Cookbook", but also good to spend 15+ minutes searching reputable sites like LiveCareer, JobScan, The Muse, or Work It Daily.
    • Update LinkedIn profile
      • Build out skills summary
      • Get and upload a new picture and background image
      • Request 2+ recommendations
      • Add skills
    • Take one technical assessment through Indeed and/or LinkedIn
    • Sign up for 2 job boards, such as Indeed, Dice, CareerBuilder, Monster, ZipRecruiter, etc.
    • Sign up for job alerts via LinkedIn, and download the LinkedIn job seeker app
  • Tuesday Action Items:
    • Create Meetup profile and download the Meetup app
    • Identify 2-3 local Meetups that align with interests and sign up to attend 1+
    • Identify common interview questions for a technical support role and practice 5 questions
    • Research the topics/questions missed from taking yesterday’s technical assessment
    • Create a Tracker, via Excel or another tool, for keeping record of where you are applying and the status
      • Columns to Include via "Job Applications Tracker": Role/Title, Company, Was it through a Staffing Firm (YES or NO), Name of Staffing Firm, Name of Recruiter at Staffing Firm, Email of Recruiter, Status, Additional Notes
    • Apply for 3+ jobs, and add to tracker
  • Wednesday Action Items:
    • Apply for 3+ jobs
    • Practice 5 more common interview questions
    • Identify and call 2 local Recruiters (REMINDER: here are several tips around finding and working effectively with Recruiters/staffing firms!)
    • Search for local career fairs and sign up
    • Do 1+ hour of training on one of the ‘In-Demand Skills/Technologies’ that companies are asking for.
      • Bonus Tip: As you take training courses, add to your resume real time. Add a section for ‘Training Courses’ and then put the course title, the provider, and the month completed.
  • Thursday Action Items:
    • Apply for 3+ jobs
    • Take another technical assessment
    • Outline and practice "Professional Elevator Pitch", i.e. the 15-30 second answer when a Recruiter or Manager asks you to "Tell me about yourself".
    • Ask yourself "Who in my network has been through a job search in the last year?" Make a list of those individuals, and then reach out to one person a day to solicit advice around how they landed their new job. Here are some specific questions to ask:
      • Did they have success on a specific job board, or like one more than others?
      • Did they work with any Recruiters they'd recommend?
      • What's their biggest tip for interview advice?
  • Friday Action Items:
    • Apply for 3+ jobs
    • Practice 5 more common interview questions
    • Not hearing back on applications? Identify one more job board and sign up.
    • Did you complete everything on your list? Treat yourself to something, such as a nice dinner or a movie! It’s important to celebrate any of the “small wins” during your job search, such as making a list of Action Items and then completing them all, and simply surviving your first week as a job seeker!

BONUS TIP: As you find jobs online that you are interested in, we highly recommend that you do the following additional best practices!

  1. Optimize your resume. In our Resume Cookbook for Technology Job Seekers, we outline how to do this under Step #5.
  2. If the job is with a staffing firm, find the phone number for the local office and call in. While we don’t recommend this practice with companies outside of the recruiting industry, we can't stress the importance of taking the extra step of identifying the phone number of local office of a staffing firm who has a position posted, and simply calling in to say who you are, your status or situation in the job market, and reference the position you saw.

EXAMPLE SCRIPT (for #2 above):

“Hi, my name is John Smith, and I’m looking for a new job. I’m a SQL DBA, and I was just recently laid off. I saw you have a position for a SQL Administrator, the Job # is 12345. Can you transfer me to the Recruiter who is supporting that job?”

Next Steps

The bottom line is to have a strategy around your job search. This helps make things less overwhelming and frustrating, and helps ensure you are focusing your time on the right tasks to produce quality and relevant job prospects, initiate and build relationships with Recruiters who can help you, prepare effectively so you do well on any interviews, and market yourself effectively throughout!

As you launch your job search, take 10-15 minutes to make a comprehensive list of all of the tasks you should be doing. If you have someone helping you in your job search, like a Mentor, Co-Worker, Recruiter, Manager, etc., get their input on what else should be on your list. Then, take an additional 10-15 minutes to divvy up those tasks into a daily, weekly or monthly "Job Seeker To-Do List".



Last Updated: 2020-04-29


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About the author
MSSQLTips author Erica Woods Erica Woods has nearly a decade in the IT staffing world, an MBA, and is a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches.

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