How to Plan Your Job Search With These 6 Steps

Before you can get to where you are going, you need to know where you are starting from.

We’re not just talking about previous jobs here. Gaining an in-depth understanding of who you are will allow you to target the right roles for you in a much more meaningful way. 

Through this article you’ll learn how to plan your job search by creating a job search action plan and a job search schedule.

Here are the general steps to creating your job search plan:

  1. Determine what your current work style, values, skills and interests
  2. Understand your work style
  3. Identify the most important work values to you
  4. Create your job search action plan
  5. Construct a job search schedule
  6. Iterate and improve

Determine what your current work style, values, skills and interests are:

To inform your job search plan, you’ll want to make a running list of your work style, values, skills and interests.

These are defined as:

  • Work Style: Your personality and behavioral traits
  • Skills: Your natural strengths and acquired abilities
  • Values: Your key drivers that motivate you and define what is most important to you in your work and life
  • Interests: The things you enjoy professionally and personally
Document your work style, values, skills and interests so that way there is a written and referenceable record of what you are going to look for in a new position.

The place where you'll find fulfilling work is at the intersection of your work style, values, skills, and interests.

Understanding your work style

We recommend that you gain an understanding of your specific work style and how that affects your professional life.

If you’ve heard of the Myers Briggs, DISC, Colors, or Enneagram personality tests, you know what we are talking about.

The problem with these assessments is that they put you into a bucket when in reality, one person has many styles depending on the situation.

We’ve partnered with Pamela Cole, who has spent 30 years studying human behavior, to create a workstyles personality assessments  that teaches you how to be more aware of your tendencies and play to your strengths. 

Our work styles assessment helps you dive deep into what types of environments will be energizing as well as draining. 

Here’s a brief example of my work style.

This tells me that my descriptors are direct, competitive, and impatient. When I get stressed, I tend to lean towards being talkative, trusting, and approachable.

You can take the quiz here to understand your work style and how it affects your professional life.

Understanding your values

Another aspect that is important to think about as you are planning your job search is to clarify and prioritize your values

Values are your key drivers that motivate you and define what is most important to you in your work and life.

When people are unhappy in their jobs, many times it is related to their job not being aligned to their values. 

For example: Someone who feels burned out might have “work life balance” as a main value and be working in a job that bleeds into their evening and weekends.

Here is a basic list of values. Take a look at this list and think about what is most important to you.

  • Environment - The context in which you work 
  • Relationship - The interaction you seek at work
  • Identity - How you want to be regarded at work
  • Income - Financial needs or expectations
  • Balance - Priorities outside of work
  • Purpose: The reasons you get out of bed to work

If you’re having trouble identifying which values are the most important to you, we recommend trying a value-card sorting exercise.

How to make a job search plan

When creating your job search action plan, the main things you’ll want to organize are information and your time.

Self-awareness is key here, so revisit your work style to help you understand the best way to approach this.

The first step in planning is to create job search goals and action steps. By planning these out and assigning deadlines, you will hold yourself accountable. 

Answer these questions to build your framework.

  • What is my job search goal?
  • What are three action steps that I can take to accomplish my goal?
  • When are these action steps due?
  • What potential obstacles might I face?
  • What support will I need?

Here’s an example of a job search goal and action plan created from Teal’s job search planning tool.

You’ll notice that the plan includes potential obstacles and support needed. Planning like this, gives you an idea of what will be needed as you progress through your search.

How to make a job search schedule

The next step in your job search plan should include scheduled time dedicated to your job search. This helps you build a job search daily action plan.

Be as specific as possible and break up your action steps into small manageable tasks.  remember to include time to recharge.

In the example below, we’re using Google Calendar to manage our search. Use whichever calendar tool you prefer as long as you’ll stick to it.

If you’re wondering how much time you should spend on your job search, here’s the best practice.

  • If you are currently employed, commit to a few hours per week. 
  • If you are unemployed, treat your job search like a full time job.

Iterate and improve

Job searching is a process that needs a proper plan to be executed effectively and correctly.

By following the steps in this blog post, you’ve gotten yourself a step closer to reaching your career goals.

Your next steps will be to prepare for your job search by creating and gathering all of the necessary information to present your best self.

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Dave Fano

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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