As a Certified Professional Resume Writer, I receive Spotlight, the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches newsletter. In July’s issue, I came across a timely article by Jay Block entitled, “Provide your Clients with an Employment GPS”. In it, Block emphasizes the necessity of a “strategic written employment plan” complete with a highly-structured schedule for each day of the week.
The most popular job search strategy consists of throwing a resume together and “winging it.” According to Block, the average job seeker spends less than 11 hours per week “winging it”. While I highly recommend consulting a professional (such as MilitaryResumes.com) to ensure that your military resume adequately markets and conveys the value in your unique military experience, the best resume in the world won’t get you anywhere if you don’t have an effectual plan for its distribution – just as a great plan is wasted on a dismal resume.
Block outlines 10 primary job search strategies appropriate for tough economic times:
- Networking and new contact development
- Target marketing (identifying companies you want to work for)
- Internet searches / postings
- Federal jobs
- Search firms and employment agencies
- Newspaper and trade journal classified advertisements
- Job fairs
- College placement offices and alumni associations
- Workforce system / one stops (Department of Labor)
- Creative self marketing
Customize a plan for yourself that incorporates four to six strategies. If you are still in the military or currently employed elsewhere, committing 10 hours a week to a campaign is not asking too much.
If you are between jobs, you should be dedicating at least 50 hours per week to your job search. For a 50 hour week, you may spend 30% on networking, 30% on federal jobs, 20% on job fairs, 10% on search firms, and 10% on Internet searches and target marketing. These percentages may breakdown as follows:
- 15 hours spent on networking (10 new contacts referred by your network and made on your own, communicating through sites such as LinkedIn, volunteerism, etc.)
- 15 hours spent on federal jobs (determining your special hiring privileges, constructing a federal resume, researching agencies and postings, targeting your resume with the keywords appropriate to each job announcement applied for, following up, etc.)
- 10 hours spent on job fairs (researching companies in attendance and preparing your elevator speech accordingly, copying your resume, traveling, etc. (for instance, see CivilianJobs.com for a schedule of regional, military jobs fairs).
- 5 hours spent on search firms (for instance, see Bradley-Morris, Inc. (BMI)).
- 5 hours spent on Internet searches and target marketing (25 resumes submitted online, 15 unsolicited resumes submitted, follow-up calls/letters from the previous week, etc.)
For maximum results, break each weekly total into a day-by-day action plan. As Block points out, winging it is a strategy – just not an effective one.