Over the years, I’ve talked to hundreds, maybe thousands, of people who are looking for a new job. They want growth opportunities or more money. Some of them hate their boss. The common thread is that they all want a change.

As with most things some are more successful than others. The successful ones are the ones who do the work. They don’t spend all day every day in front of the computer browsing job boards. (While that gives you a feeling of accomplishment, it’s not very effective.)

Successful job seekers develop a multipronged job search plan and work it every day.

Here is a basic job search plan that you can adapt to your needs. It’s broken down into job search preparation (PREP) and continuing activities (ONGOING). If you’re actively looking, as in you really want to find a job, follow A activities. If you’re passively looking, you’re open but not in any hurry, P is for you.


PREP – Create a list of 10 or so Target Employers, these are the companies where you would love to work for whatever reason.  Set up Google alerts for each of them so you’ll know when they are in the news.


Monitor the career pages on their company sites. A = 2-3X a week. P = 1X a week.

Contact friends, family, colleagues, etc. to see who they might know who works for one of your target employers (or any employer who’s ad piques your interest). FYI, your alumni association may be able to help with this too.  A = 2-3X hours a week. P= 1 hour a week.


PREP – While job boards are not the most effective way to find a job, they should be part of every job search.


A = 1-2 hours a day. P = 1-2 hours a week.


PREP – Networking is the most effective, yet underutilized, job search tool. Research and develop a list of networking opportunities near you. Industry associations which often have local chapters that meet monthly. Alumni associations generally have events through the year.

Meetups offer a wide variety of ways to meet people. Don’t ignore job seeker groups run by nonprofits and local libraries. They are a great place to trade job leads and learn from area career experts.


A= 1X week. P = 1-2X month.

NOTE: Whether you’re looking or not networking should be a part of your life. You need to build your network before you need it. Be strategic when you attend events.


PREP –  Make sure your LinkedIn profile is recruiter ready. Really anyone ready. Yes, recruiters are on LinkedIn sourcing candidates every day. But, anyone you meet at a networking event or any employer who likes your resume will be looking at it too. So complete your profile, upload a head shot (get it analyzed at photofeeler.com), and upload a background photo. Make sure you include contact information in your Summary as well.

Also, set your profile so that recruiters will know you’re looking. Go to Settings & Privacy => Job Seeking Preferences => Let recruiters know you’re open to new opportunities. While there is no guarantee, LinkedIn says “We take steps not to show you current company that you’re open.”


Status updates which can include industry articles, news items, anything you think would be of interest to your connections. A=2-3X week. P=1X week.

Stay active liking and sharing other people posts. A = 2-3X week. P = 1X week.

If you want to be considered a thought leader, articles are the way to go. Bonus: they give you and other people something to share.


PREP – Start bey creating a list of the most common interview questions: Why do you want to leave or why did you leave your current position? Why do you want to work here? Why should we hire you? Do you have any questions? (No, is not the right answer here.)

Many employers will begin with “tell me about you” this doesn’t mean begin with your 1st job, it means give me a little background that will make me want to hire you. (There are tons of articles on top questions online.)


Write out and practice your answers to these questions. Tell your stories as Beginning => Middle => End based on the format Challenge => Action => Result.

Partner with someone and grade each other. Record your answers and review them. (I use Voice Recorder & Audio Editor, but you can find tons of apps.) Remember your answers should always focus on what you can do for the employer NOT what they can do for you.

Many people say that looking for a job is a full-time job. I’m not sure I wholeheartedly agree with that. But you do need to work smart.

Develop a multipronged job search plan that includes online and in person activities. Evaluate it periodically to see what’s working for you and what’s not. Keep the activities that are getting results, eliminate those that are not, and always stay open to trying new things.

This post originally appeared on career intelligence Resume Writing.