Recent Graduates and Today’s Job Search – Part 3

How to Track and Plan Your Job Search

Finding a job is a job. It requires time, dedication, research, homework, and an organized plan. So how do you get started?

1.   Prepare your personal inventory.  You are more than just your major. What do you have to offer?

This may be a good time to meet with a career coach who can conduct a career assessment and help you to determine your personal qualities, values, and transferable skills.  These are all important to know when you are looking to find a good career fit.

  • Identify and list all academic and non-academic experiences; college education, related coursework, certifications, training, student organizations, previous employment, and community.
  • List out all of the things that you like to do.
  • List the things you do not like to do.
  • List everything that you are good at.
  • List everything you are not good at.


2.   Determine your job targets, identify a list of potential employers and learn about them.  To quote my friend and colleague Martin Yate, author of the annual Knock ‘Em Dead series of books, “Just because you don’t see an advertisement in the newspaper with your job title on it, it doesn’t mean they’re not looking for you.”

Ninety to ninety-five percent of the jobs that are available will not be found on the job boards. You must do your homework.

  • Identify where you want to work and who you need to contact.
  • Get your resume into employers’ applicant tracking systems so when a job does open up, they can find you.
  • Get assistance from websites such as
  • Work your network. Makes sure your professional LinkedIn profile is complete, and learn how to use it to connect with potential hiring managers.
  • Keep your job search organized!  (I recommend )


3.   Make sure your marketing materials are in order.  I can’t say this enough.  You are the product, and you need to market yourself effectively.

  • Your resume needs to be unique and show the value that you offer a potential employer.
  • Cover letters are not optional.
  • LinkedIn profiles are essential.  If you are not LinkedIn, you do not exist.  It is the #1 tool that employers use to find talent. Make sure yours is developed properly and positioning you to be found.
  • Control your online identity. Employers will Google you and dig for dirt before they ever call you.  Keep it all clean.
  • Have a reference sheet available and make sure the references will be positive if someone calls. Ask your references if you can list them before you do.


4.   Prepare for interviews. If you think you need interview coaching, get it.  Dress appropriately, be on time, come prepared, and walk in as an educated applicant.  (Do your homework on the position, company, and person who may be interviewing you.)

  • Always send a thank you within 24 hours.
  • Follow up.