A career builder job search strategy
Is yours working for you?

What is a career builder job search strategy?

Basically this refers to the plan of action you might be taking in order to progress your career - whether this be to obtain a promotion, change jobs, or get a job if you are presently out of work.

My definition of a 'career builder' is a person who is working progressively on a plan towards achieving a personally satisfying and successful career.

They are unlikely for example to sit around waiting for opportunities to happen. Instead they'd rather be trying, as far as possible, to make things happen in their life and career. They are actively pursuing their career objectives.

Many career builders however experience disappointment because they lack a strategy, a plan of action to help them to get what they want.

Certainly doing some career development planning will help you. But when you've done this you need an action plan to make it all happen.....and then take the necessary action. This is the essence of a career builder job search strategy.

You'd be surprised at how many people that start their job search by bringing their resume up to date.

Next they start visiting some job listing on job search websites and checking out what's available. This is followed by applying for jobs that interest them, or for which they think they might be qualified.

What's wrong with that I hear you ask?

Well.......this approach is a bit like someone taking off on a holiday without knowing either the destination, or how they are going to get there. They just know they need a holiday (or in this case they know they want a new job!).

This is how many people approach their job search - I'm serious when I tell you this. So, what sort of success do these people have you think? The result is very 'hit and miss' to say the least!

Your career builder job search strategy
The essentials

In my experience there are three main requirements for successful job searching. These are:

  • Implementing a targeted job search
  • A job search strategy that includes working both the visible and hidden job market
  • Being convincing and compelling in self marketing

If you don't have these things in your approach to your job search your first step is going to be career development planning.

Now...... take a look at how each of these three areas can drastically improve your success rate.

Career builder job search strategy - Tip No. 1
Target your job search

Do you have a scatter gun approach to your job search?

Do you believe that if you put enough resumes out there in the market place you're bound to eventually get a hit from an interested employer?

If you want to be a successful career builder, it is critical that your job search strategy is laser like, rather than a scatter gun focus on what you want. With a laser like focus you're more likely to hit what you're aiming at, than not.

For a start, your resume which isn't targeted to a specific position is almost certainly going to get dumped into the trash. A generic, 'one size fits all' type resume merely suggests to the employer that any job will do.

This approach hardly fits the profile of someone who wants to be seen as a career builder - yet this is what many career builders mistakenly do.

What does targeting your job search mean?

It means having a clear idea about things like:

  • Your preferred niche..... for example do you want to work in the public, private or not for profit sectors?
  • Related to niche - what sector/s of government or industry interest you, that you'd like to work in?
  • Your employment environment - for example does large and corporate environment appeal, or are you more attracted to small to medium sized workplaces?
  • In terms of your skill and knowledge - which do you most want to use in your future employment. What do you want the focus of your next work role to be? See the related material for how to choose a career.
  • Who are your employers of choice in your chosen niches or sectors - do you have a written list of the organisations that you would most like to work for?
  • Are you prepared to relocate to pursue your career? If so, where are you prepared to go? Where are you not prepared to go?
  • Is self employment appealing? If so, what work will you do? How will you get work?

Taking the time to reflect on, and answer these questions is perhaps the most important of the three steps in a career building job search strategy.

The other two areas......working the job market appropriately, and having compelling marketing material will be informed by the type of employment you've decided to target.

Career builder job search strategy - Tip No. 2
Working the visible and hidden job market

Funnily enough, many people waste so much time in their job search because they don't know where to look for work. Or..... they are looking in the wrong places, including the wrong job search websites.

Knowing where and how to look for work is one area where job search targeting really pays off.

For example..... if you're attracted to working in a small to medium sized work place did you realise that many of these employers won't advertise the position on a job search website or in a newspaper. Instead they are more likely to recruit through word of mouth

Are you aware of the often quoted statistic that 60-80% of the work that is available at any one time is not advertised? Can this be true?

Consider this.....if you are in an established career, how often in the past have you got a job which wasn't advertised? Or, if it was advertised, did a personal contact have some influence over the decision to hire you.

The vast majority of clients I've worked with have had the hidden job market work in their favour. It has certainly been a factor in my career progression.

This is how the hidden jobs market operates...... if you want it to work for you, then you need to work IT. This means you'll need a job search networking strategy.

So.....what's the advice here?

You must balance your job search strategy.

In addition to looking for advertised work, you must be actively job search networking.

A key question here however is.....if you don't have job targets, who will you seek out in order to do your job search networking with?

Your networking, can, and should be targeted, so that you are speaking with people who are in the best position to help you.

Think of it this way. Everyone, but everyone looks at advertised work. You'll probably realise that people who are looking for similar jobs to you will probably be looking at the same job ads as you are. These people are your competition.

Serious career builders will develop the "know how" and the guts to network!

Another benefit of targeting the job AND the type of employer you want to work for is that you'll be looking in the right places for advertised work....a big time saver. Do you know, for example, where your employer of choice likely to advertise?

One final point about working the job market. Maintaining momentum in your job search is important for self confidence.

You can always be active in your job search when you are networking and carrying out informational interviews.

However, if you are solely reliant on waiting for the right job ad to appear, then your job search stops when there are no job ads.

Career builder job search strategy - Tip No. 3
Develop compelling marketing material

One of the best ways to be invited to an interview is to have a targeted resume. This will be packed full of information that is relevant to the needs of the employer who reads it

In addition to having a targeted resume, you will also be able to prepare much more relevant cover letters, including an intriguing cold call cover letter.

This information however needs to be put together in a compelling, interesting way.

So, an important consideration in preparing your career builder job search strategy is to choose from the three commonly used resume layouts and a style of resume that supports your career objectives.

When you have a targeted job search strategy you can also prepare highly relevant answers to common job interview questions, especially questions like "Why have you applied for this job?" and "Why should we hire you?".

Career builder job search strategy - summary

If you are the type of person who wants to make things happen in your career, rather than wait for opportunities to miraculously appear, you will want to carefully consider implementing the approach outlined above.

You will perhaps already know that a successful career builder's job search strategy will involve much more than looking at job search websites

The real secret to successful job search is 'targeting' - knowing, as a result of your career development planning, what it is that you want for your next career move or job. When this is clear to you, the rest of your career builder job search strategy will fall into place.

New! Comments

Has this helped you in your job search? What else would you like to see here about job search? Leave me a comment in the box below.
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