For a Successful Job Search… Focus First on Strategy

“My daughter sends out 5 applications online every day, and then has a melt-down on Friday about how bad the job market is!”

Does this sound familiar to your job search? If so, let’s talk about the job search strategy. Here’s a couple of things that are really important to know…



1. You Need a Strategy

As much as you might like to sit on line and fill out applications all day, as the gal in the above quote did, it’s not an effective job search strategy. Only 7% to 10% of jobs, according to research, are sourced through on line job sites.

As well, if you think about the massive number of people congregating on search sites ( gets about 1.2 Billion hits per month), you are competing with mass, rather than with strategy. Why hang with the bottom feeders? So, you need:

  • A specific goal
  • A plan that you can execute each day to help you reach that goal
  • Strategic activities to advance your search

Those activities should include online search (about 20% of your effort), off line search, networking, informational interviews, research, cold calling, and more.

2. It’s a Long-term Process

I know recent grads hate to hear this, but the hiring process takes time. And your search will take time. Most jobs are sourced through referrals and relationship connections. Not all, but many. You’ll need time to build those connections, your personal network, and have the conversations that will move you forward.

Also, as a former hiring manager, I can tell you that the hiring process within an organization is often time consuming, subject to numerous approval processes, and often not the most pressing issue in the organization. So it can often take longer than a manager thinks it is going to. So set your expectations, and plan your work accordingly.

3. There Are a Lot of Moving Parts

The job search requires skills you may have never used in college, or in your whole academic life. For example, self-awareness is KEY in your job search. But it’s not key for learning subjects taught in school. Secondly, you have to MARKET yourself. Yes, you are no longer in the “knowledge acquisition business” you are now in the “self-promotion and marketing business.” Those two very different businesses require what might be wholly new skills for you!

Finally, you have to create and present all these marketing materials that offer “the new you” to employers, networking contacts and others you’ll meet on the job search journey. Even if you are the most qualified candidate for the job, a poorly constructed resume or cover letter will have you out of contention.

So give yourself the best chance for success. Focus first on good job search strategy… and worry about execution later.





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Degrees of Transition!



Lea McLeodAbout the Author: Lea McLeod helps recent grads and mid-careerists navigate the job search. And once you have a job, she’ll coach you to the brilliant performance of which you are capable! Her “Developing Patterns of Success” Workshop has been deployed to help thousands of college hires worldwide do just that. Follow her on Twitter and her blog:



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