The first step to a successful executive job search is often the most overlooked step. It’s establishing a solid job search strategy—and it’s imperative to inviting leadership-level opportunities your way.
Setting up an executive job search strategy is simple. And while it may take little time, it will have a significant impact on your job hunt.
With that said, here’s why you need a job search strategy.
What is a job search strategy?
A job search strategy can be boiled down to an outline of your plan of attack. A breakdown. A layout. Some semblance of structure.
While so many job hunters dive right into filling out and filing applications, the submission process can be daunting. A search strategy should alleviate some of those overwhelming feelings. Even though it’s an extra step in the process, this one step simplifies all of the rest of them.
While all job search strategies are different, depending on the job hunter and their field, all successful strategies have some core aspects. An exhaustive job search strategy should include the following:
- An understanding of your overall career goals
- An assessment of your applicable skills and experiences
- A compilation of organizations (not openings!) in which you’re interested
- A list of platforms you’ll use to search for openings for those organizations and similar ones
- A list of ways to contact and network with each organization
- A review of your application materials (i.e., your resume and portfolio)
- A list of core interests and hard passes (i.e., remote positions or no jobs under a specific suggested salary)
- A timeline to make moves with milestone markers and incremental deadlines
Here’s why you need one.
Five reasons to have a job search strategy
While there are endless reasons to create a job search strategy, here are the top five ways it can help you.
A job search strategy can help you break down bigger-picture goals into smaller ones.
Landing your dream job can feel like a moonshot. Sure, they say that if you’re shooting for the moon, you’ll at least land amongst the stars—but you can also shoot for the stars that are some lightyears closer along the way. In other words: setting small goals for yourself to achieve your bigger-picture goal can make the whole job search process feel both more manageable and motivating. It could start as simple as updating your LinkedIn and resume.
Setting a strategy streamlines the process.
When you better understand your why—why you’re applying for a new job, and what you want it to do for your career—you can also get a greater grasp on the applicable skills and experiences you can hone to land that dream job. And once you crystalize those details, you can think about the types of organizations you’d like to work with and start considering the ways you’ll reach them and when.
Taking the time to strategize creates space for looking inward.
When you take the time to think about what you want and how you plan to get it, you create the space to reflect on your “why.” When you know your purpose, finding fulfillment in your career becomes easier. Plus, reflecting on your “why” can help you nail not only your job applications but also your job interviews. After all, you’ll be better able to talk about what you’re seeking from a new job, how you think you can provide value to the companies you’re applying to, and where you see synergy.
A job search strategy can be a reference point.
When a job hunt starts to feel chaotic, having a reference point to which you can turn will help you feel on top of it all. A job search strategy can serve as a space to store all of your contacts, make note of opportunities of interest, and keep tabs on the status of applications. It turns the messiness of mass-applying to new jobs into organized chaos.
A strategy can help hold you accountable.
When you write down your goals, you’re more likely to bring them to fruition. Seriously, it’s basic neuroscience. Writing down the steps you need to take to reach your goals helps you remember what you need to do and holds you accountable. This is especially true if you set hard deadlines for yourself to keep you chugging along en route to success.
Curious about job search strategies to get the ball rolling? Check out these tried-and-true job search plans, proven to work for professionals like you. After setting your strategy, follow along on Ivy Exec for more job-hunting tips and techniques (and antiquated advice to avoid).