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How effective is your job search strategy? Here’s how to improve it

03 Apr

When it comes to taking your next career step, there should be more to it than simply looking for a new job and taking the first thing that comes along. Your next position should be approached with careful consideration, planning, and above all, a clear strategy.

For instinctive people or those who thrive on seeing things happen immediately, the thought of long-term planning can be daunting. But a job search is a long-term game, especially one that signifies a big change rather than a gradual step. That makes strategic planning incredibly important – but how do you know if your strategy is effective? We’ve broken down some of the most important elements of any job search strategy to help you achieve your career goals.

Plot out your plan

A strategy can be defined as “A plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim”. One of the key elements here lies in the words ‘plan’ and ‘designed’. This refers to a strategy that has been put on paper, which you can regularly check back on to measure your success. Firstly, consider what you’re really looking to achieve from your next role. This might be moving up the career ladder, taking a vertical step to learn new skills, moving to a higher salary band or achieving a better work-life balance. Whatever your motivation, make sure you’re clear on exactly what you want from a new role so you’re not just interviewing aimlessly.

As you gain new leads, make industry connections and discover new roles you might be interested in, add these to your job strategy document so you have all your information in one place.

Market yourself

Never underestimate the important of selling your key skills and what you have to offer when job searching. Start by looking at your social media profiles. According to a 2015 OI Global Partners survey, 65% of recruitment consultants recommend developing comprehensive social media profile with searchable keywords. As 92% of recruiters use social media as part of their candidate attraction process, your profiles could provide the key to your career success. Start with LinkedIn, the most commonly used social site in recruitment, then make sure what you’re showing on other platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, are fit for public consumption. Your LinkedIn profile should include buzzwords and skills sought after in your field, along with a comprehensive review of your relevant employment history and references from past colleagues.

Set targets

Looking for a job can be disheartening at times, but by setting yourself achievable targets and goals to hit along the way, you can help make the process as positive as possible. For example, you could commit to contacting you five dream companies to see if they have any roles that might suit you, or send away three carefully considered, tailored job applications every week. Align your targets to what you’re looking for in a new job. A sample goal could be as follows:

“I’m going to research the 10 largest companies within a 30 minute commute of my house and email prospective applications to the head of the Finance department at each one with a view to securing at least three interviews. The aim is to secure a new role that allows me to drastically cut down the time I currently spend travelling to and from work.”

Ask for help

There’s a huge array of resources available to help you in your job search, and plenty of professionals who can do everything from review your CV and tailor your cover letters to provide guidance and training for interviews. If you know your cover letters let you down, consult with a professional employment copywriter to create a compelling personal statement, cover letter and list of achievements for you to include on applications. Practice interviewing with someone who is experienced in this area and ask them to pick out your strengths and weaknesses. After all, you never know how you are perceived by others.

Follow the above steps to help boost your job search strategy and you might find your dream position sooner than you think. If you are searching for your next career step, click here to see IFDS’ latest jobs.
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