Finding work can be difficult. Sometimes it can take several months to achieve it, and this can test our motivation. That is why it is important to put aside the elements that are beyond our control and focus on the things that are in our hands.
In this sense, having a job search plan helps a lot. Not only because it makes it more likely to find a job, but also to remind us that we are doing everything possible and thus not get discouraged.
Where to start a job search plan?
Just as when planning a project, the first step in writing a job search plan is to analyze the general situation, our profile and establish objectives. The next steps will be given by the actions we take to reach those objectives.
Analyze the situation of the labor market.
There are many ways to gauge the pulse of the labor market, for example:
Be aware of job portals . By periodically reviewing the offers published on these portals we can find out what the most frequent training and experience requirements are in our sector of interest.
Set alerts on Google that inform us when content is published that contains the keywords that interest us. These keywords can include the name of the desired position.
You can also have reports from temporary employment agencies as a reference. These reports usually include which job sectors have the most activity.
Analyze our professional profile.
Once the situation of the sector has been analyzed, the next step is to analyze ourselves and identify our strengths and weaknesses, for example with a SWOT analysis (Weaknesses, threats, strengths and opportunities):
- D To know what we have to improve
- A What external factor hinders our job search.
- F What we stand out for, what differentiates us from the rest.
- OR What external situation we could take advantage of.
Knowing our main strengths and weaknesses is especially important in the job search. In fact, we are often asked about them during interviews . That is why it is important to have analyzed them beforehand and have prepared a short list of the two or three that you want to highlight.
Strengths are the skeleton of the personal brand . As for weaknesses, they help convey that we know ourselves and have a spirit of improvement.
Objectives, strategy and action plan in the job search:
Continuing with the classic structure of project planning, the next steps would be to define our objectives and plan how to achieve them. To be useful, objectives must be specific and achievable in a specific period of time.
Some objectives could be for example:
- Take advantage of an opportunity to overcome a weakness at least once a year.
- Participate in at least one selection test per month.
- Have a conversation with someone in the sector at least once a week.
Once the objectives have been defined, the ideal is to establish a series of strategies on which the actions to be carried out are based, providing coherence and coordination between them to achieve these objectives.
We recommend these 5 Strategies to make your job search effective:
1. Participate in a career orientation program.
Several organizations such as the SEPE offer job orientation programs . In these programs an appointment is made, and a specialist studies our specific case, explaining the aid to which we are entitled or the employability programs that are having the most success. At the very least, it is a good way to find your way when you don’t know where to start your job search. In these programs they can help us research companies in the sector that interests us most and send personalized requests to their HR
Many careers have professional associations that bring together members of the sector. While the Sepe and university orientation programs offer general information, schools are better informed about job offers in the sector and geographical area in which they operate. Sometimes being members even gives us access to exclusive job boards.
Although to be registered in a professional association it is necessary to pay a fee, this is usually lower for members who are unemployed. Therefore, the advantages in the job search far outweigh this disadvantage.
3. Have a wide network of contacts.
“It’s not what you know but who you know.” Having a wide network of friends and acquaintances who know that we are looking for work can be a great help in finding out about job offers. Additionally, these contacts can help us as a cover letter in the selection processes.
In any case, when you are unemployed it is important to talk to people and train our social skills. Companies are increasingly giving more importance to social skills and teamwork. Therefore, becoming more comfortable speaking with others can be of great help in overcoming group dynamics and personal interviews.
Nowadays, being in contact with the most relevant people in our sector is easier than ever thanks to social networks . That is why it is so important to take care of our Facebook, Twitter and especially LinkedIn profiles during the job search. Expand your network of contacts, following people of interest and commenting on their posts.
4. Attend events and job fairs.
Through our network of contacts or Google alerts we will often find out about events related to our sector. For example job fairs, talks or conferences.
The companies and professionals that participate in these events usually announce it on their social networks. Another reason to use the networks to focus on our sector and follow the most relevant figures. It is good to confirm attendance at these events, both through networks and with the organization that organizes them. Especially if places are limited.
Once at the event it is usually useful to bring material to write down the tips and data that interest us most. It doesn’t hurt to bring business cards either, however printed CVs will be less useful since attendees tend not to accept them in hand, which is logical given how cumbersome it would be. Instead, it is more important to make a good impression by actively participating and exchanging contact addresses to which you can send a cover letter with the attached CV.
5. Recycle and acquire transversal skills.
If we do not obtain results in the job search, it may be because we are looking for a position that is too specific or because that specific sector has little renewal at that time. Some professional sectors may even be replaced entirely as technologies advance.
To face this situation it is always useful to increase our training. There are many alternatives to complement it : University master’s courses, vocational training, or employment training are some examples. The organization of these training activities is very variable, there are many options and very flexible, in schedules and delivery modalities, conscientiously look for the one that best suits you.
Regarding the issue of the costs of this training, there is also a lot of variety. One of the most affordable options is free courses for the unemployed . An effective and simple way to help us in the job search.
After defining the general strategies, the details of the action plan are finalized, for example by preparing a calendar. It is good to set a schedule when searching for work. It is easier to get used to tasks that require effort if they are part of a routine.
This routine does not have to be presented in a monotonous way. It is important to vary your activity so as not to get tired. For example, you can distribute different tasks throughout the week, dedicating at least one day to rest. An unrealistic workload is not sustainable in the long term and can undermine our motivation.
That said, our leisure time can also be useful when searching for work. Again, in job interviews we can be asked about our hobbies. It would be good to be able to give an answer that highlights some of our skills.
- If you are creative you can participate in drawing or photography contests .
- If you are organized you can belong to the board of directors of an association.
- If you are good at working in a group you can practice or coach team sports.
These activities help us get to know ourselves, increase our network of contacts, and give us experience and achievements to talk about in job interviews.
We must remember that finding a job can be a longer process than we initially thought. But the time it takes us to find a job will only be wasted time if we don’t do anything with it. Everything we learn, all the people we meet, and all the achievements we make can help us later.