Planning for a job search is a multi-step process. Since you are busy, you need to ensure you set yourself up for success by identifying the job skills you need, assessing your qualifications, creating marketing materials and networking.
Once you’ve begun to check those items off of your list, take these additional steps to set yourself up for job search success:
Determine how you will communicate what you are worth. Once you know what you offer, you’re on the right track, but the real trick is being able to convince other people that you have what it takes. Being great isn’t enough—you need to be able to communicate your value to employers. The best way to do this is via a consistent stream of information from your social media profiles. By showcasing your expertise online, you are able to help convince people who follow you online that you really are an expert in your field. Your resume and online portfolios (including your LinkedIn, Twitter, and any other profiles, for example), are equally important, so don’t neglect one in favor of the other. When you can communicate your value, it’s much easier to successfully interview for a job.
Apply for the right jobs. Stop applying for jobs you’re not qualified to do. Do not apply for every opening at an organization, and never blanket applications without ensuring you are a good fit for the positions. It will not help you to apply for positions if you don’t have the necessary skills, so don’t waste your time.
Target and identify specific organizations where you want to work. “Focus” and “targeted” should be your buzzwords when you job search. Select organizations where you’d like to work, and make a point to learn everything you can about those companies. Can you hone in on any specific problems they have that you can help solve? Do you know people who work in the places where you’d like to work? Should you set up an informational meeting with one of those people? Who would be most likely to be willing to make an introduction for you?
Identify allies for your job search. Avoid appearing desperate. Instead, be the professional you are, explain what you’re looking for, and be specific when you meet new contacts who have the capacity to make a useful introduction for you. You cannot focus on your job search when you talk to people about your goals; if you do, you become just another desperate job seeker. Instead, focus on what you have to offer: ideas, suggestions, and expertise relevant to your field. Offer it in exchange for an introduction to someone at one of your target organizations, and you’ll be on your way.
Eliminate information from your resume that confuses possible employers or causes them to say, “hmmm.” Once you follow all of these steps, you need to seal the deal with application materials that don’t confuse the recipient. Don’t include jargon or acronyms on your resume that don’t relate to the job you’re applying for and don’t incorporate details on your resume that don’t specifically identify why you are a good fit for that job. The last thing you want to do is confuse someone who receives your resume. If you are careful enough to pass the initial computerized resume review, don’t squander your opportunity by mucking up the works with a lot of extra, unimportant information in your materials.
Step by step, you’ll be well on your way to landing a job on your targeted list.