There are no shortcuts and no compromises on using the right techniques at every step of the process. Although the list below may look like a list of choices, it is not. You MUST do them all. You can’t do some and miss on others. At least not if securing your next job faster is a priority.
1. Goal setting: Write down your job goal “script.” Be clear and specific about your desired job title and roles/responsibilities.
2. Tracking: Build a spreadsheet or other useful tool so you track every piece of data you collect during your job search.
3. Sourcing: Based on your goal in the first item above, list the resources you will use to find your next job. Don’t just rely on one. There are many.
4. Social media groundwork: Learn how to maximize social media by taking tutorials specific to job search techniques on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
5. Obsessive research: Spend hours – not minutes– on every job opportunity prior to applying. Use the Web to research the people, company, division and function for the position for which you are applying.
6. Networking precision: Prepare to make your face-to-face and online networking most effective by writing out your networking plan. Then practice asking for support during your job search.
7. Application preparation: Find one job within your goal description and prepare a practice cover letter and résumé. Proof it and ask someone for feedback.
8. Interview prep: (Do this far in advance, not the night before!) Prepare your best interview attire and fill your briefcase with document copies. Be ready with two alarm clocks. A couple of days before your interview, drive to the location to find parking and the exact entrance. On interview day, if you’re not in the lobby 30 minutes early, you’re late!
9. Phone interview excellence: Print hard copies of your notes and the job description, then organize them within arm’s reach. Don’t forget to write three bullet points for all of the most common interview questions. Choose a quiet place to take the call and be ready 30 minutes early.
10. Follow up after every interaction: This is the single sloppiest part of almost all job searches. Without a tracking tool and calendar reminders, most followup is terrible. Every contact you make requires impeccable follow up as a short-term courtesy and for long-term networking.