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Creating a job search plan

Posted on November 16, 2016
Image of Kim Neubauer

Recently, many of the blog posts have focused on some aspect of the job search process. Getting a job is a lengthy process and it requires a well-thought-out plan. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Kim Neubauer who is a Senior Career Counselor at Lee Hecht Harrison and a Resume Coach here at Drexel in the LeBow College of Business. Ultimately, she likes to think of herself as a Learning and Development Consultant. We talked in depth about the job search process. She recommends a three-pronged plan: 1) Envision what you want to do and where you want to do it, 2) Brand yourself, and 3) Be discriminant with your applications.

In envisioning what and where you want to do, Ms. Neubauer suggests you ask yourself two questions: 1) How far are you willing to commute? 2) In what kind of organization are you most likely to thrive? These questions will allow you to “explore the economic landscape as it pertains to your profession, experience, and geographical area.” She recommends that you be focused, but also flexible, which she says, “allows you to consider roles you haven’t thought of, or that didn’t exist at the time of your last career move.” However, she warns that too much flexibility can “lead to a chaotic job search.” On the contrary, if one is too focused, “it can lead to rigidity and loss of opportunities.”

We all know branding is important, thus it should be no surprise when Ms. Neubauer advises her clients to “Make sure your resume and online presence, especially LinkedIn, support your desired career move and that they show the best of what you have to offer future employers.” She adds, “Almost all recruiters will check you out on social media. Everything they see should be consistent with your brand and not raise any red flags.” Facebook can be particularly problematic for potential job candidates, she suggests, “Use privacy settings if your Facebook content is too personal.”

I have seen people be so highly focused in their job search process that they set up spread sheets and mail merges to send out a resume to virtually every open position. It often fails. “Employers can sense when you apply indiscriminately to postings,” said Neubauer. She added, “Use your cover letter to convey your interest and enthusiasm for that specific job in that specific company. Passion is compelling, and is a big factor in who gets chosen.” It is imperative to do the required research, not just to know if you qualify for a position or what the company does, what its mission is or the clients it serves, but also to know if it would be a good fit for you. “They will also be assessing whether you are likely to thrive in that organizational culture and with the individuals you'll be working with.” While the employer is assessing you and your strengths, the interview is also a time for you to assess the interviewer as a potential employer. Neubauer stated, “If your gut or your head give you a signal, pay attention. Take note of any interview questions that may be telling you something about the manager's style or the challenges of the position you're being considered for. Both you and the interviewer should be screening for good fit.”

Her final piece of advice, “If job-seekers are equipped with good communication tools and job search strategies, they’ll be more likely to rise above the competition.”


Anne Converse Willkomm
Director, Graduate Studies
Goodwin College
Drexel University
Posted in professional-development-career-tips