It is often said that a goal without a plan is just a wish. You may know the job you want but if you do not make a plan how will you find that job? In this article we outline how you can plan a job search in order to help you achieve your goals.
Step 1 – Working out your career destination
If you don’t know where you want to go in life then it will be difficult for you to get there. Fortunately, most of us have an idea as to where we would like to go and what we would like to experience and achieve. If you don’t know where you want to go then think about:
(a) your skills and academic qualifications
(b) the industries and jobs available in Zambia
When you have thought about this you should have a better idea as to where you want to go. Now it is time to do some research.
Step 2 – Research
Now you have an idea of the type of job you would like it is time to research this type of job and draw up a list of potential employers. Useful sources of information include:
- Employer websites
- Job advertisements listed on www.gozambiajobs.com
- Newspapers, magazines, directories, websites, social media etc.
- Career fairs and events
- Your family and friends
Gathering and recording this information will help you to learn more about the types of jobs available, the skills and qualifications required and other useful information.
Step 3 – Preparing for success
Success begins with preparation. The more you prepare the better your chances of success. Here is a list of basic things you will need for a successful job search in Zambia:
- A mobile telephone and valid telephone number
- An email address
- Copies of your certificates etc.
- Suitable clothes for attending interviews
- Copies of your CV and Covering Letters
- A 30 second “elevator pitch” or “sales pitch”
Why do you need all these things before you start?
Consider the following example: You meet someone and find out they work for a company where you would like to work. It is an opportunity for you to deliver an elevator or sales pitch as to why they should employ you but you have not developed one yet. They ask you for a copy of your CV and Cover Letter but you have not finished them yet. They ask you for your telephone and email address but you do not have them set up yet. They ask you to attend an interview later that day but you do not have any suitable clothes for the interview yet.
If you are serious about finding a job then a little preparation can dramatically improve your chances of success.
Step 4 – Finding jobs
Relying on just one or two methods of finding jobs could mean that you miss out on potential opportunities. A good job search plan includes numerous different ways to find jobs. These methods should include:
- Job boards (i.e. www.gozambiajobs.com)
- Newspapers and magazines
- Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.)
- Formal networking events
- Informal networking opportunities (social gatherings etc.)
- Speculative job applications
- Career fairs and events
- Voluntary work
Remember to keep a record of every job (job title, organisation, contact information and job description), the date applied and the version of your CV or application submitted. This will help you to review your job search technique (See Step 6) and will help you to prepare for any job interview you are invited to attend. There is little worse than finally getting a call to a job interview then realising you forgot to keep a record of the job advertisement and the version of your CV or application submitted.
Step 5 – Applying and interviewing for jobs
Another vital part of your job search plan is the application and interview stage. Planning this stage will enable you to manage your applications and interviews to ensure that you are adequately prepared in order to increase your chances of success. Key things to prepare at this stage include:
- The number of high quality applications you aim to submit each week
- The system you will use to record and keep track your applications
- The methods you will use to follow up each application
- Potential interview questions and answers
- What to do when offered a job
Step 6 – Reviewing your plan
We recommend reviewing your job plan every few weeks. This is important as it helps you to think about what parts of your job plan are working and what parts made need amending. For example:
- Is a particular approach finding you more jobs?
- Are some styles of CV more successful than others?
- What type of feedback are your applications and/or interviews receiving.
Regularly reviewing your job search plan and records can be crucial in helping you to make improvements that will ultimately help you to succeed in the future.