How to Get a Job – Your Action Plan

Looking for a new job? It can be hard to know where to begin. We’ve put together a plan to help you land your dream job quickly.

Whether you’re looking to get your foot on the career ladder, or ready to take on your next role, applying for a new job can be as demanding as a full-time job itself! While there are stories of the lucky few that get offered a new job without even applying, the vast majority of job offers are won by sheer determination and grit.

But there is a way to make the process easier:

What is a job action plan and why do I need one?

There’s a lot to balance, from carrying out relevant work experience, tailoring your CV and cover letters, monitoring job alerts and job boards, and preparing for interviews. A job hunting plan encompasses all of these tasks, and is your plan of attack when it comes to getting your next role.

Having a plan in place enables you to resource your efforts effectively, stay organised, save time, keep track of your activity, and reach your targets. If you follow a plan to the letter, you should get your desired job in no time.

What to include in a job action plan?

A plan incorporates multiple steps, from figuring out what you want to do, where you want to work, assessing your skill set, tailoring your CV, and preparing for interviews.

You then need to lay these tasks out chronologically, build it around your everyday schedule, and set yourself some deadlines so that you know exactly what you need to do and when.

While a job action plan looks different for everyone, we’ve put together an example below that’s sure to get you off to a good start.

How to get a job

Image: Adobe Stock

Stage one – Question your career move

Do you really want to move? First things first, make sure you really want to apply for a new job, and you’re not just having a bad week. Changing jobs is a big decision, after all, so if you’re on the fence, have a look at our checklist for whether it’s time to find a new job, here. If you’re considering a career change entirely, take a look at the top questions to ask yourself.

Is it the right time to move? Before you kick off your job action plan, you need to consider whether it’s the right time to move. Are you due a promotion at your current place? Are there things in your personal life, or particular projects taking place in your current role that will affect your job application process? You don’t want to be entering into the process half-heartedly, as if you don’t succeed it may knock your confidence for future applications.

What do you want from your new job? There’s a lot to consider when applying for a job, such as the size of the company, the location, working hours, not to mention the industry within which it operates. Before applying for roles, have a good think about what you’re looking to gain from your next position so that you can find a job that’s a perfect fit.

Stage two – Get the right skill set

What skills do you need? Start looking at the job descriptions for companies that you want to apply for, and have a think about how you match the job description. Do you have enough work experience? Do you have suited qualifications? You can then determine whether you need to gain more on the ground experience, or if you need to adjust your search to a role that’s in line with your current skill set.

Do you need to apply for work experience? If you’ve just graduated, or are considering a career move, it’s a good idea to gain some work experience in the industry you want to work in. This will help you to assess whether it’s really for you, and show prospective employers that you’re more than capable for the role. Read our top tips on how to get an internship here, and how to make the most of it.

Stage three – Application time

Is your CV up to scratch? Now you’ve got the skills you need, it’s time to get them on your CV. Include a bio about yourself, list our your educational qualifications and relevant experience, highlight your key skills and achievements, and a short section on your personal interests. A CV should never exceed two pages – it’s a test of your ability to relay relevant information concisely, they don’t want your life story! Read our top tips for what to include on a CV here.

Have you got a killer cover letter? Before a recruiter even sees your CV, they’re going to read your cover letter first, and you’ve got a 20 second window before they move on to the next one. You therefore need to make sure you tailor each cover letter to the job you’re applying for – this is not a one size fits all scenario. Read our advice to writing a stand-out cover letter here.

Are you on LinkedIn? Once your CV is sorted, update your LinkedIn profile accordingly – recruiters will almost definitely be checking that everything matches up! If you have Twitter, start engaging in content that’s relevant to your industry. Set your Facebook to private, too, and make sure there’s nothing incriminating on there. Read our top tips to updating your social media accounts for your dream job here.

Do you know where to look? Now you’ve got a standout skillset, CV and social accounts in your arsenal, it’s time to start looking for the jobs you want to apply for. Job boards are a great place to start, and they enable you to be super targeted by refining your location and industry. New listings are added 24 hours a day, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye out. Or even better, you can sign up to job alerts, meaning you get tailored job postings straight to your inbox! You can sign up for an account here.

Have you followed up? Patience is key, but if you haven’t heard anything then there’s nothing to stop you from following up on the phone to see if they’ve received your application. It pays to be persistent, but don’t go overboard!

Are you recording your progress? When you’re balancing multiple job applications, it can be hard to keep track of where you’re at with each one. Building a tracker – whether it’s in a spreadsheet, Word document or notebook – can help you stay focused.

Include dates of when you applied, when the deadline is, and when you need to follow up. If your application isn’t successful, ask for feedback and add this to the tracker, so you can incorporate this into your next application.

How to get a job

Image: Adobe Stock

Stage four – Preparing for interviews

Invited to a phone interview? If you’ve been invited to a telephone interview, nice work! Now it’s time to start working on your phone interview skills. Read our top phone interview tips here.

Are you ready for the face to face interview? The face to face interview is similar to the phone interview, albeit a little more nerve racking! Read our top tips on how to succeed in an interview, and how to tell your story effectively.

Is there a group interview? If the first stage involves a group interview or an assessment centre, you’ll need to set some time aside to prepare. Read our top five tips for interview success here.

Do you look the part? If ever there’s a time to invest in your wardrobe, it’s for a job interview! It can be hard to strike the right balance between smart and going overly smart, so read our guide on what to wear to a job interview here.

What’s next? Once the interview has taken place, always follow up with the interviewer to thank them for the opportunity. Then it’s a case of playing the waiting game; you may be invited for a final interview, you might get the job or you may have been unsuccessful. If it’s the latter, at least you’ll still have pending opportunities amongst the other jobs you’ve applied for!

Stage five – Accepting a job offer

Have you got a reference? If you’ve been offered the job, congratulations! Now you’ll need a reference from your current employer. We’ve got everything you need to know about references here.

Now it’s time to hand in your notice; check out our handy reference templates here.

How can you organise your day

When it comes to executing a job search action plan, it’s up to you to determine the timeline. You can have your job applications filed and interviews sorted within a few weeks, or even days if you really want to.

According to David Clift, HR Director of Stepstone UK, it’s all about time management.

“The key is to break your time down into manageable chunks so that you can keep yourself motivated. Utilise your time well; use your lunch breaks, evenings and weekends to search for roles, write your applications and prepare for interviews. Subscribing to job alerts is also a good way to help you keep on track of listings 24/7.”

Never pin all your hopes on one job – you’ll maximise your chances of getting a job quickly if you apply for multiple roles at a time. About four or five is a good number – you want to ensure that you submit quality applications, as you’ll better chances of success than dozens of standard applications.

If you’re about to begin your search, good luck! Click here to find your perfect job today.

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