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Develop a Job Search Action Plan

Organise your job search with an action plan and get to work sooner.  Looking for work can be a daunting task if you don't have a job search action plan with clearly defined goals.

Goals turn wishes into reality.


Before you start your employment market research and job search it is advisable to develop a job search action plan,


There are many types of action plans. Some are comprehensive and look at doing a SWOT analysis, anticipating any obstacles you may come up with and how to overcome them. This type of action plan is not necessary. Ideally, of course, it should be comprehensive. This may be ok if you are already employed. If you are unemployed you need to get on with your job search and write a simplistic plan to get back to work faster.  Some people like to work with flow charts and boxes and other people may prefer lists. 


Why use and action plan?

  • It will assist you to decide how to go about your job search.

  • Can cut your job search time in half.

  • An action plan will also help you decide what is important and what isn't and will assist you to decide where to put your energy. 

You need to decide how much time are you going to spend on learning job search skills and calculate how much time you will spend actually looking for work in the most effective way, and write you plan accordingly. If you are unemployed this should be at least 30 hours a week. If you are looking for a new job you need to use your time  effectively and an action plan can assist you to work out a timetable.


If you develop a job search action plan it will make it much easier to see where you are going and keep you focused.


"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there"

Source: How to Manage and Market yourself, McInnes, Johnson and Marsh


How to develop an action plan


Research is absolutely necessary no matter what job search method you use, so allow time in your action plan. This is where job seekers come unstuck. They do not plan and then make critical mistakes and sabotage the contact, whether it be a job application letter or a phone call, because they have not had time to do research or background reading on how to write an effective job application.  All these things need to be considered when writing a job search action plan.


Will you use cold calling or networking methods? - Do you even know what they are?  Both very effective. If so, you need to do some research on the company you identify as being one where there may be jobs or where to find a career path.



Goal Setting - Goals turn wishes into reality


Goal setting is the most important part of writing your action plan.

If you do not set goals and write them down in an action plan they merely become a wish.   For example, if you want to buy a particular car and don't plan how you are going to get it, it just becomes a dream or a wish.  On the other hand, if you decide you are going to get this car in 18 months you need to do an action plan. You would work out how much it cost and maybe divide this price into monthly payments. You know that you have to save that amount every month.  You may need to prioritise your spending and take into account any emergencies etc.  This is an action plan. Your dream is now achievable.


efining your goals is the most important part of your action plan. Setting goals will assist you to focus your energy on job opportunities.


Start with a primary goal. What is your primary goal? for example it may be "to get a job within three weeks". You sub goals are how you are going to achieve them


If your primary goal. "to get a job within three weeks". this is your goal you need to:-

  • Decide how much time per week are you going to spend on you job search

  • Divide this time into the primary areas where you are going to spend your time.

  • Set a sub goal for each primary goal.


If you only have 20 hours per week and 60 hours in total, you will assess how much time you have to spend on research, and to gather job information  For example, you will probably want to know the following:-

  • The latest labour market statistics to find out where the jobs are.

  • Potential employers and sources of vacancies.

  • How many methods of contacting employers and decide which is best for you.

  • The latest job search techniques that work.

  • contact employers by any one of the many methods shown on this site.

Now set sub goals for each of these areas, "i.e.  find 10 employers to cold call by (date). Always set a date or time to achieve each goal.


The "to do list"

Once you have developed your action plan you then need to allocate time to each activity.  Do a daily "to do list".  Prioritise the tasks you hope to achieve each day, from most important to least important. Be realistic.


If you find you are carrying over the same tasks to the next day  they are probably not important, so scrap them.


Conduct research

Although it was stated at the beginning research is critical. However, it is very easy to get bogged down at this stage, so you do need to develop a research plan as part of your overall action plan to keep you on the right track and to stay focused. If you develop a research plan you within your action plan you will make faster progress and move on to actually taking action by targeting employers.


Utilise this site to look for comprehensive resources and career and job opportunities.  For labour market information, potential employers and sources of vacancies go to Employment Opportunities.  For recruitment methods and developing a job search strategy go to How to Look For Work and Recruitment Methods On this site there are 17 sections on job search tips, techniques and resources.  These sections will give you an idea on where you need to focus your job search. See Index


Take what you need for your job search or career planning and move on.

Comprehensively covered in Employment and Career Opportunities


Good record keeping

I cannot stress how important good record keeping is to job search in general.


Contact sheets

You need to capture all the information you have collected.  When you get to the stage of contacting employers you will need a contact sheet.  Spend some time making one.  You can use a spreadsheet or just an A4 notebook. If you don’t make  notes  after each contact  you could find yourself in an embarrassing position if you speak to the same person twice.  You think you will remember, however when you are making a lot of calls you do forget.  Ensure you use codes or you will run out of space. Make up a set of codes and stick to them.


For example

On holidays until August 1st.  In follow up section use code   hol. 14/8 = may mean the person is on holidays and you should contact him/her a week or two after he returns.


R/B  = Ring back unavailable at that time.  You may put a date  R/B 30/8

am = morning


NA, m = You have phoned once today and he is not available until Monday.  Cross it out when you ring again.


Methods of contacting employers you may use in your action plan.



Prioritise your lists, i.e. colleagues first.  Use most probable to least probable.  Now you need to find their addresses and transfer onto a contact sheet.  Decide on how you will contact them and write it down. 


Then find out where they can be contacted and write this information onto the record. (See Networking)


Cold Calling

You have looked at all the information given in the previous pages and decide on the most probable to the least probable.  (See Cold Calling Tips) Note that cold calling is spam unless you make it specific to a person within the company and specific to the organisation. Even then it is unlikely to be read. A letter by post is now a "novel idea" and it will more than likely be read as very little mail comes over the desk now. See how to cold call by phone and cold calling letter in Sample Letters


Firstly, prioritise the types of companies you want to  target from the largest to the smallest Then categorise into regions or suburbs if you have a lot of companies to contact.  Find out the contact persons name.  However, don’t approach this person yet.


Secondly, make a contact sheet for each category.


Thirdly, make out a list of people or companies you will contact.

You should now have a good idea which industries will have jobs in your area.  The next step is to work out a plan of who to contact first and how. If you have done your research correctly you will have identified the most likely contacts.


Try a combination of contacts

The best approach is to test about a dozen contacts in each of the categories and find out which ones are giving you the most leads and best contacts.  Don’t waste time on areas where you are not getting results.


Lastly, target the area where you are getting the best results


You will also find some very useful information in the Newsletter archives




© Copyright Pro-Active Human Resource Management 

On this page

Why use an action plan

How to develop an action plan

Goals turn wishes into reality

Define your goals

The to do list

Write your goal down

Conduct research

Good record keeping

Try a combination of contacts



Examples of Resumes
• Your LinkedIn Profile
• Career Support Services
• Career Development Resources
• Career Development Articles
• Career Information Sites


• Job Search Assistance Services
• Employment and Career Opportunities in Australia
• Where To Find A Job
• Recruitment Methods
• Develop an Action Plan
• How To Write Selection Criteria
• Find a Job Through Networking
• Develop and Implement a Career Network Plan
• Cold Calling Tips
• Job Interview : Tips
• Interview Process : Questions and Answers
• Job Search Resource
• Job Search Articles
• Job Application Letters
• Job Application Letter - Using Marketing Techniques
• How to Write a Business Letter
• Application Letter- Advertised Job
• Sample Job Applications
• References/Referee reports
• Small Business Services
• Tender Preparation
• Small Business Profile or Capability Statement
• Small Business Resources
• Business Information Sites


© Copyright Pro-Active Human Resource Management