You May Be Surprised About Where to Begin Your Job Search

Almost everyone who contacts me for career coaching begins in the same place:

Can you rewrite my resume?

What they don’t realize is that a resume isn’t the starting point for a successful job search. It’s certainly an important tool, but it comes later in the process than most people expect.

A Personal Marketing Plan is the linchpin and the beginning point of a well designed and systematic job search. It’ll take you from a reactive, job board troll to a proactive, intentional strategist in a matter of hours.A personal marketing plan is like a compass, helping you navigate your job search.

What is it? It’s a document that outlines exactly what you want in your next job. It’s a road map to get you from where you are now to where you want to be. In short, it’s the magic wand of a job search.

Here are the building blocks of a personal marketing plan:

  • Target job level (entry-level, VP, director)
  • Target job function (broad categories such as Social Media, IT Support)
  • Scope and skills (imagine yourself writing your own job description here)
  • Target geographic location
  • Target company attributes (such as company culture, benefits you might seek like educational reimbursement)
  • Target companies (aim for 30-45 companies)

Once you outline all of these parameters, you’ve got a GPS for your job search. No more late nights on Indeed.com aimlessly wandering through postings, hoping for something that’ll bail you out of where you are now.

Instead, you plan your month, your week, and your day using your Personal Marketing Plan. Who can connect you with someone in one of your target companies? What events can you attend that will put you the radar of people you want to meet and companies on your list? How can you leverage LinkedIn to reach out to specific people and groups where you’re likely to encounter people who work (or have worked for) your target companies?

You’ll set up Google News Alerts for your target companies, subscribe to their newsletters, and follow them on social media. You’ll track your connections and loop back to people who may be able to make vital connections for you. You’ll monitor the job boards for these specific companies.

Finally, when there are openings at your target companies, you’ll be positioned to craft your resume and cover letter to weave in the intel that you’ve already gathered on the positions you’re seeking. You’re no longer at the bottom of a list of hundreds of applicants in a massive Applicant Tracking System. Instead, you’re at the top of the pool, on the phone screen list, and on your way in the door, all because you stepped back and got a big picture view of your job search, made some strategic moves, and refined your marketing materials later in the process.

I’m happy to supply you with a sample Personal Marketing Plan and blank template if you contact me.

I learned about Personal Marketing Plans when I worked in outplacement. When I was trained for my job as a career consultant, my boss opened up the job search book (it was as thick as the phone books of my youth) and turned to the page where the Personal Marketing Plan was displayed. “When clients complete this page, and they use it to drive their job search, they land much faster than the ones who don’t. If you teach them only one tool, teach them this,” she said.

Have you ever heard of a Personal Marketing Plan? Have you used one? I’d love to hear about your experiences with this amazing tool.

5 thoughts on “You May Be Surprised About Where to Begin Your Job Search”

  1. Sounds like a great tool, the Personal Marketing Plan. I have not heard of this term before but I have used a similar strategy to find a job back when I was not yet self-employed. It’s like with everything else in our lives, if we have a vision, a strategy and a plan and we become a doer instead of a consumer, if we are active instead of passive, we are more likely to succeed.

  2. Thanks for explaining the process. I hadn’t heard of a personal marketing plan, but it makes sense that it would help you land the right job for you!

  3. Jennifer

    Nothing like getting as specific as you can about what would really make you happy–and putting it all down on paper (actual or electronic!). Makes it tangible and also feel a lot more doable. And more fun, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Val

    Great and informative post! It makes so much sense. I can’t believe all these years I have spent all my time working on my resume and not creating a strategy!

  5. I never had it spelled out so clearly before. I know that when I’ve been strategic about looking for a job … done my research on the company, compared the job posting to my skills and experience and prepared descriptions of how I met their bullets … I’ve had better results than when I just “winged it.”

    The personal marketing plan is a much clearer framework and it makes sense (even from a Marketing standpoint), why is would work. You are getting to know your market, your personal selling proposition, and where in existing industries you would like to work. It makes a lot more sense than just e-blasting your resume!

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