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How to Create a Job Search Plan for 2023

Searching for a new job can often feel like, well, a full-time job. If the thought of job searching feels vague and stressful to you, or if you're feeling stuck—like you're not making much progress with your search—you're not alone: most job seekers dread at least some part of the process.

So how can you stay motivated and feel confident as you search for your next position? Enter a job search plan—a clear outline of your job search goals, potential employers of interest, a target list of folks to network with, and a way to ensure you're staying organized throughout the process. Having a strategic plan in place before you start your job search is one of the most important parts. In this guide, we'll walk through how to create a clear plan of action to set yourself up for success in 2023 and beyond.

Why should job seekers have a job search plan?

Without a clear job search plan, a job hunt is like throwing a dart at a board without aiming for a target. You're simply hoping it goes in the right direction. Sure, you may luck out and strike a bullseye, but the throw itself lacks intention and focus.

Here are three core reasons every job seeker should have a job search plan in place:

It helps you set clear goals.

Having a job search plan empowers you to approach your job search with confidence and clarity so you're better set up for success in the long run. By identifying your strengths, interests, skills, and values, you'll have a better sense of what jobs are worth your time applying to, and which you can skip. Instead of submitting applications to every job that seems to remotely match your LinkedIn profile, you can run a more targeted search, setting up informational interviews with people at the companies and in the industries you're most interested in.

It keeps you on schedule.

Setting goals and breaking those goals down into manageable chunks is key.

Saying, "I need to find a new job"—while relatable—is vague and doesn't help you work toward your ultimate goal.

Saying, "I'm going to reach out to two former classmates at Acme Company this week and see if they're open to a coffee chat," is a tangible, proactive step you can take toward your career change.

Review your progress weekly to ensure you're moving in the right direction and meeting the job search goals you've set for yourself; if you're not, you can adjust as you go.

It enables you to track your job search activities

Another benefit of creating a job search plan: doing so allows you to track and manage all your job search activities in one place, staying organized through every step of the job search process. With free resources like Teal, you can track:

  • All of the jobs you're interested in (saved from all the job boards you use: LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, and 40+ more job boards).
  • The job description for each job posting, with keywords highlighted to identify the most important hard and soft skills to include on your resume.
  • All of your professional achievements, accomplishments, professional summaries, and target titles, right in one main "Work History" section. By keeping track of your career milestones in one place, you can quickly and easily tailor your resume to the specific job you're interested in.
  • Multiple versions of your resume, named and organized based on the jobs you're applying for.
  • Any company you're interested in learning more about.
  • People you'd like to network with, talk to informally, or schedule an informational interview with.
  • Follow-up reminders for each step of the job search process, from checking in on the status of an application to reaching out to the hiring manager to thank them for an interview.
  • Notes from each job interview, including research about the company and hiring manager and any work you've done to prepare answers to the most common interview questions ahead of time.
Bookmark jobs to your Teal Job Tracker to stay organized as you create a job search plan
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Get clear and focused on your job search goals

Not sure how to find your career passion? That's ok. You can do some prep work to help get clarity around what a dream job may look like. Scroll to the right and click "Copy Tool" to make a copy of our free Job Search Plan workbook below to get started.

Spend some time soul-searching and thinking through the why of your job search. Are you looking to move up within your current industry? Make a career change and pursue a different professional path entirely? Stay in your same job but at a different company?

For helpful resources to guide your introspection, check out the following free workbooks:

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How to create a job search plan

Step 1: Identify job title options

First, list out five roles, job titles, and/or functions you're interested in, along with five industries you’re interested in pursuing.

Maybe it looks something like this:

Examples of roles, functions, and industries of interest

Bonus: You can set a target title in your Teal dashboard to help stay motivated.

Step 2: Identify companies that are of interest to you

Brainstorm a list of 20 companies you might want to work for or companies that sound interesting to you. Take into consideration things like their size, industry, location, remote-work policies, and company culture. Jot down the company name list in your Job Search Planner workbook.

Here's an example of what that may look like:

Example list of target companies

Next, see if you can spot any common themes:

  • Do they align with your personal interests?
  • Do they have a robust careers page on their website with information about benefits, company culture, open job postings, and who the point person is to reach out to when you submit your application?

We recommend saving these 20 companies to your Teal Company Tracker so they're saved in one place.

Add new companies to the Company Tracker within your Teal Job Tracker

Step 3: Set a realistic timeline for your job search goals

Let's work backwards here. Finding a new job takes time—often up to 5 months—but having a concrete target start date in mind can help you stay motivated.

You can set a target date in your Teal dashboard, as well as in your Job Search Plan worksheet. Now decide how much time you want to spend each week (on average) applying for jobs.

For example, if your target start date is April 2023 and you want to spend approximately 10 hours per week on your job search, this is our recommendation for how many applications should be in each stage of your job search process. While there's no hard and fast rule about how many jobs you should apply to, having a to-do list of sorts can help lend structure to an often structureless process.

Set a target date in your Teal dashboard
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Final thoughts on creating a strategic plan for your job search

Planning for your job hunt is hard work—no doubt about it. But taking the time to identify and write down your job search goals, do some soul-searching, and break down the job search process into more manageable chunks will help speed up the process and help you land a job you love faster.

Create an account here to track your job search using Teal's free resources and tools.

Here's to landing a job you love in 2023! 

Lia Zneimer

Lia Zneimer

A career pivoter who started out as an actor, Lia is now the Head of Brand & Content Marketing at Teal. Prior to that, she ran the social media team at WeWork and started The MarketHer, a newsletter to help women find roles in marketing.

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