If you’re starting a new job search or need to re-energize an existing search — you’re not alone! These moments often bring a mix of anxiety and excitement. The best way to address the anxiety is to make a plan, then best channel that excitement to power your execution. So let’s go!
Identify your target roles – Write down the titles
Start with roles that are directly related to your previous roles — building on your work history will be the more straightforward and successful. But then broaden your search a little — what functions are adjacent and use similar skills sets. What functions have you seen peers move into from a professional background like yours? Should you search for one seniority higher and one lower? Remember that different organizations will title differently, for example, a “Manager” in one company may have similar responsibilities and compensation to a “Supervisor” in another. Try to make a list of 10 roles that could be appropriate, with the most related to your work history at the top. Then list target industry segments and/or companies. If you will be using a company list, make sure its LONG – I suggest 50-100 to start. And get online and do some research to find other related companies you didn’t think of before.
Update your professional profiles
With your target list of roles in mind, update your LinkedIn, resume, and/or portfolios to reflect your objectives and relevant experience. Depending on your target roles it may make sense to make a few different versions — but only do this if they will be substantially different. Don’t agonize over one word or one bullet point. Update your documents to capture your core experience, strengths, values, and achievements — then move on.
Write your pitch, and practice
Write a 2 paragraph message that captures your work experience and what kinds of roles you are looking for. The tone should be professional and written for someone who does not know you. Polish up this message, then practice it verbally out loud many times. Your spoken version can be a little more in-depth, touching on a handful of relevant and recent roles held — taking 4/5 minutes to say.
Sit down and make a list of 20-30 people who like you, who work in your target industry segments and/or companies (or who have connections in them). Think of past colleagues (even if you haven’t talked to them in years), friends, business contacts. If you’re just getting started in your career, think of professors, family friends, and classmates. Once you’ve made the list, do the work needed to find their email and phone.
With the 4 items above complete, you’re ready to get started. My next post “Job Search Step 2: Execute Your Plan” will help you use your preparation to get results!