7 steps to Success: How to Plan the Perfect Job Search

Would you ever walk into a busy airport, amble up to the counter and say, “I want to go on vacation. Could I have a ticket, please?” Of course not. You’d get nothing but a baffled look from the ticket agent (not to mention a body search from Homeland Security).

Finding your ideal job is like taking a dream vacation. You can get there from here and have the time of your life. But first you need to know where you’re going, then plan how to get there.

To find the shortest route to your next job, you need to create a plan that is detailed in every way. The ideal plan will be solution oriented, results driven, marketing based, inexpensive to execute, realistic and specific.

Here are some ideas for incorporating those elements into your job-search plan.

Solution Oriented

News flash: Rarely is it the most qualified candidate who gets hired. (If you’ve ever had a nincompoop for a manager, you know exactly what I mean.)

In the real world, jobs often go to those who best position themselves as the solution to a problem. Now here’s the catch: Employers often don’t realize they have a problem until someone points it out to them. So, if you can identify employers’ problems – and offer yourself as the best solution – you’ll increase your chances of getting hired. Immediately. Every time.

Results Driven

Like a runner training for a marathon, you must measure your progress. Doing so tells you how close you are to your goal. It also keeps you motivated and committed to your plan.

Measuring results requires you to track certain details. Here are a few of the dozens of proven tactics from my book, Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters, that you can track:

Marketing Based

In business, the companies with the best marketing usually win. Winning the War for Talent is similar. It requires you to become proficient at marketing yourself better than other candidates.

Looking for a job is a sales and marketing activity – and you are the product.


In 1997, Tom Peters introduced the concept of “The Brand Called You.” At the time, personal branding was a sort of luxury, reserved for high-flying techies and senior executives who wanted to maximize the financial returns of their biggest asset – their career.

Today personal branding is no luxury – it’s a requirement for career survival. For more on how to brand yourself for free, visit GuerrillaJobHunting.com, and click on the appropriate topic.


Knowing what you want to do is good. Combining it with what you are ‘qualified’ to do is even better. You may be pleasantly surprised at how your current skill set can transfer to other industries.

For a clear picture of what’s possible with your skills, visit America’s Career InfoNet (acinet.org). If you’re not qualified for what you want to do, get moving and determine how to get qualified.

In my 20+ years of executive recruiting, the biggest problem I’ve run into is that people aren’t realistic – especially unemployed people. You’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you apply for jobs you’re not qualified to do. Sometimes you may have to take a temporary step backward to move forward in a new career. BUT . . . the sooner you take that step, the sooner you’ll arrive at your goal.


Knowing the exact title and function of the job you seek gives you a clear, specific goal, with no possibility for error. If you have a clear target and don’t hit it, you’ll know for sure. So, get clear and get specific. The more, the better.

For example, I’ll wager that Vicki Vlachakis knew exactly what she wanted to do and who she wanted to work for before she started her job search. When the opportunity came along to design the new two-seater convertibles for Saturn and Chrysler, she recognized her chance to hit not one, but two home runs in her career.

Nothing is more important to your success than a clear ‘picture’ of your goal. (Please read that sentence again. I’ll wait 🙂

If you can envision your dream job AND you’re qualified to do it, then you can find it. With a specific goal in mind, you can organize your job search and networking efforts with a laser-like focus.

Yes, some people are lucky and fall into great jobs, but luck (as Tom Peters says) is terribly unpredictable. The dramatic changes in today’s world of work mean that tried-and-true methods of job hunting will soon be outmoded.

The one constant in all successful job searches, however, is clarity of purpose. It will give you the goal you seek and the fuel to reach it. So, get specific, get clear, get busy . . . and get hired!

David E. Perry is the author of Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters and the Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters Blog. Kevin Donlin, creator of GetHiredNow.TV also contributed to this article.

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. You are a very capable person!

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.