How to Create a Job Search Strategy

Creating a Winning Job Search Strategy: Tips and Tricks

There is more to landing a new job than simply searching online and applying. In fact, leveraging only that approach may find you endlessly seeking. Finding a new job should be approached with as much forethought and strategic planning as any project you would tackle at work, or in your personal life.

How to Create a Job Search Strategy

You need to create an individualized job search strategy to ensure you get the most out of the time you are putting into the search, and converting opportunities into offers.

Identify Your Skillset

It is easy for us to identify skills that are directly within the scope of our role, but you need to think broader and start correlating your experience to skills outside of your position. Think about experience and expertise that you have beyond the job description – what do you really bring to the table?

Target Position Keywords

Doing a job search based on job titles alone will not get you very far. Different companies call the same positions, different things. Instead of focusing on your next title, focus on the keywords of what you want to do. For example, instead of searching for a marketing manager, change your search to social media planning, marketing campaigns, consumer reach, and so on.

Focus Your Job Boards

More isn’t always better – so streamline the places you go to, to search for opportunities. There are several aggregate job boards that will find positions from other job boards and companies – delivering a large reach. But relying only on aggregates can leave some hidden gems out of reach.

Strategically plan a few job boards that will deliver the biggest reach for what you are seeking, and stick to those. Stop wasting time on a dozen job boards, only to weed through the exact same opportunities.

Know Your Culture Fit

You are not a good “fit” for every company. No matter how much you are open to any job, you need to narrow down the type of company and culture you want to work at – and then target your search around that. This is an easy step to overlook, especially as the job hunt lingers on, but being true to who you are and the type of environments you thrive in will help you achieve long-term success at any company.

Keep Track of Where You Are Applying

Being organized can save you critical time when you get a callback. Keeping track of the opportunities that you pursue will help you gauge your true effectiveness, tell you when it’s time to expand your strategy, and be prepared when you get a phone interview.

Take note of the position title, company, the job description and key highlights, where you found it, when you applied, and how you followed up. I use a simple spreadsheet, but this has saved me a time or two – I knew exactly what was important for the recruiter, even after a job description was no longer listed.

Applying Isn’t Enough

I know, I know – we keep telling you to follow-up and network. As much as some of us loathe these steps, they are key components in your job search strategy. Create a follow-up strategy that works for you, and stick to it. After you apply, commit to following up in specific ways to get the most out of each application and increase your chances.

Above all else, strategize before you start applying. Taking a day or two to plan out your steps to success for your job search, will save you time and energy in the long-run, not to mention, increase your chances of landing an interview.

What’s your job search strategy?

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Melissa Anzman

Melissa Anzman is the chief career officer at Loosen Your White Collar where she helps people get clarity, get ahead, and love their job. She is the author of two books: How to Land a Job and Stop Hating Your Job. Follow her @MellyMelAnz.


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