The Process Simplified
I'm a big believer in shortcuts and visual devices to illustrate the process of job search. This exercise can easily be translated to a spreadsheet and, in fact, it should. For now, take a blank sheet of paper (8.5 by 11) and fold it in thirds.
At the top of the left fold, write the word "Options," and at the top of the right fold, write "Qualifications."
Options represent all the targets we have identified and could potentially pursue. As we will discuss in-depth in the chapter on assessment, they will be organized by priority and interest. Each of these sheets of paper gets only one option. Beneath that option, list all the skills, responsibilities, talents, and other prerequisites for successful candidates for this particular job. All of this information is readily available on job posting sites. If a job exists somewhere in the world, so does a great detailed description.
Beneath qualifications, match up yours line by line against the items listed in the left column. Where do you match up perfectly, and where are the gaps? For the matches, you will need to make sure this information is highlighted in your resume. For the gaps, are they real, and if so, how big are they? The decision then will be how to either address directly or minimize.
Next, in the middle section, write the word "Action Plan" at the top. Below it, list four roman numerals, as follows:
Target and Definition
This is the target you plan to pursue and its description.
These are the skills, experience, areas of expertise, and talents that you bring to this specific target.
This is the universe of companies where you can network and potentially present yourself as a candidate.
These are the mechanics of job search, getting out there and into the market. This includes the basics—how you actually conduct your job search: through ads and postings, networking, recruiters, and direct and targeted mail.
This is your starting point. It's where the rubber hits the road when you begin to job search. In later chapters, we'll cover various topics to support the execution of your strategy, such as resumes, your pitch, questions, and follow-up. For now, have fun folding paper.