Job Search Blueprint


I am a member of  the Career Collective, a group of  resume writers and career coaches. Each month, all members discuss a topic. This month, in collaboration with Quint Careers, we are  participating in Job Action Day!
This month we are discussing helping job seekers in a changing economy. Please feel free to visit the links below to read other members’ posts as well!     +++++


Two years ago, if I’d told you what I’m about to tell you now on how to conduct a job search, you’d look dumbfounded and frustrated. You’d say that conducting a job search like this, while strategic, is not practical and very risky.

Most job seekers turn to want ads in newspapers and online websites as the crux of their job searches. Here are the facts: an online search is akin to going to a bar to find a mate. Most people will be forgotten amid other suitors wearing similar scents and attire.

I’ll tell you right now: ditch the newspapers and job search websites. The current job search is about being cutting-edge and taking risks.

Say no to tradition

I’m telling you to ignore the old advice of going to newspaper and online websites first. They’re for the desperate, the uncreative and the people stuck in the 20th century. They can be useful, but not as a primary place to search for jobs. Most of those jobs often get filled internally or by someone who knows someone either before they are posted or soon after the jobs gets posted. These jobs are better choices for someone who is desperate and needs to apply to as many jobs as soon as possible or they’ll be in financial peril.

With the average job search at a three decade high of over 9 months, save the online and want ads after you’ve worked the blueprint.

The cutting-edge job search blueprint

  1. Scout- The first step is not to search for available jobs, but to search for companies. Pick the most appealing companies to you. These should be the companies you want to work for.
  2. Sort- Sort your list of companies by letter grade from A to F after you’ve weighed the pros and cons, checked for unlisted openings and scaled the jobs for desirability.
  3. Focus-At this stage, we’ll ignore anything that gets lower than a C on your scale. Focus on the jobs you want. These are the jobs where you should invest the most time, resources and creativity. Start with your A companies and then go to B companies after following the other steps.
  4. Research- You’ve already scouted the companies, now is the time for the research. Learn about the areas they need to improve and where they’ve had success. This insider information will set you apart in your job search.
  5. Adapt- With the information in hand, adapt your skills and message to how you can help them. Make sure your message shows that you’ve done your homework.
  6. Impress- These companies may or may not be hiring. Either way, your goal is to impress. You’ve spent time on these specific companies for a reason. Treat this like a first date. Start with a phone call then send your package. Wait and deliver a friendly call back. During these calls, establish a rapport so you can call back in a few weeks to keep inquiring about openings and keep your name in the game.

Rather than send out dozens of resumes, you’ve put your best forward with a few jobs. This cutting-edge job search blueprint will first separate you from the mob of online job applicants. The blueprint then puts you in a position to take advantage of opportunities you want. There is no worse feeling than having rushed to take an average job when you could have had your dream job, but you thought they weren’t hiring or limited your job search to only what you and everyone else saw.


Enjoy these other posts by the Career Collective members in support of Job Action Day.


Meg Montford:  Job Action Day: Finding Your “MOJO” After Layoff

Debra Wheatman: Plan B from outer space; or what do you have in case your first plan doesn’t work out?

Heather Mundell: Green Jobs – What They Are and How to Find Them,

Grace Kutney: Securing Your Career While Navigating the Winds of Change

Hannah Morgan: Career Sherpa– Why Our Job Search Advice is the Same but Different

Gayle Howard: The Enlightened Jobseeker

Laurie Berenson: Making lemonade out of lemons: Turn unemployment into entrepreneurship

Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter: You Can Thrive In, Not Just Survive, an Economic Slogging

Rosalind Joffe: Preparedness: It’s Not Just for Boyscouts

Rosa E. Vargas: Are You Evolving Into The On-Demand Professional of Tomorrow?

Dawn Bugni: Your network IS your net worth

Miriam Salpeter: Optimize your job hunt for today’s economy

Barbara Safani: Where the Jobs Are: 2009 and Beyond

GL Hoffman: The Life of An Entrepreneur: Is It for You?

Katharine Hansen: Job Action Day 09: His Resume Savvy Helped New Career Rise from Layoff Ashes

Martin Buckland: Job Search–The Key to Securing Your Future Career

Chandlee Bryan: Where the Green Jobs Are:

J.T. O’Donnell: Actions that got people jobs in this recession

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Written by Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW - Visit the website to hire executive resume writer Erin Kennedy, CERW, CPRW

Erin is an internationally renowned certified resume writer specializing in professional and executive level resumes and career services.


44 Responses to “Job Search Blueprint”
  1. I will be graduating from college in May with a bachelors in accounting. I have began applying for jobs but I do not know what job titles to search for jobs other than accounting ones. I am not restricting my job search only to accounting jobs but what should I search for other business jobs?
    .-= puerto vallarta´s last blog ..Puerto Vallarta- paradise for vacationers =-.

  2. What else are you interested in? Other accounting type jobs? Business Management? That is a very broad question because it depends on what you are interested in, what you have experience in, what you are trained/educated in, and what you would be good at. You could write all four of those down on paper and fill in the columns. Perhaps seeing it on paper will help you narrow down what it is you would like to apply for. Hope this helps.

    P.S. LOVED Puerto Vallerta. Had a great birthday there a long time ago…

  3. Gayle Howard says:

    Terrific post Erin. How true it is that a strategy for job search has changed. I can remember about ten years ago, I had a client who created his own job search strategy. He listed about how he could write his own resume but would hire a professional to do the job properly, how he needed a good set of responses and questions to ask at interview, where (geographically) he was looking, what sort of jobs he was looking for, what sort of role he would be reporting to and so on. He confided to me that people who had seen his written strategy thought he was ridiculously analytical and he should just “check the papers, send a resume and wait”. How things have changed! Turns out my client was ahead of the times as now I help clients with job search blueprints daily. It’s all about moving with the times to leverage the best result!

  4. GL Hoffman says:

    Nice article, Erin, as always. I especially like your “scout” idea. It is more convenient now than ever to find out so much about a potential company, through online resources. Our own for example, is one resource that allows the job seeker to find jobs that are posted ONLY on a career portal on the company’s own website. As you know, most jobs (70%) are never advertised other than on these company portals. These portals are a rich resource also for the candidate to research the company before the interview. Nothing works better than a candidate who understands the business and knows how he or she might fit in or help.
    Again, thanks for a great article.
    .-= GL Hoffman´s last blog ..The Life of an Entrepreneur: Is it for You? =-.

  5. Erin: You have such a wonderful way of organizing your thoughts and the activities job seekers should be engaged in.
    Once a job seeker has followed your recommended steps, they can’t lose. It is all about being pro-active. More importantly, as you stated…it is about taking risks and being cutting edge, hell with tradition, right! Great post!

  6. Erin,

    I really like your point about researching companies. And showing the list of companies you are interested in to your network is a great way to get possible introductions to decision makers at those organizations. Nice post!

  7. Meg Montford says:

    I really like your “blueprint” for job search, Erin. So many job seekers struggle to create a “plan” to find a new job. You’ve set it up so all they have to do is customize the plan for their own situation and then work the plan. This will simplify their process. Thanks!
    .-= Meg Montford´s last blog ..FINDING YOUR "MOJO" AFTER A LAYOFF =-.

  8. Dan Eustace says:

    Communication skills shown in this Job search plan are astute. Each step is nicely done.
    Variations on this theme might include: network to increase the number of places to scout and getting input for the sorting exercise, and many other places for input.

    More than one plan could be started at the beginning and as time progresses.

    Nicely done.

  9. You nailed it when you said that looking for a job/developing a career isn’t what it once was – even as recently as 2 years ago. You’ve taken the strategic thinking steps and broken them down into easy to manage bites. Love it!

  10. Excellent post Erin. I think the blueprint is especially important and will prove very useful. For those that follow your advice, they cannot miss.

  11. Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter says:

    NICELY done, Erin!

    Scouting – a great word that most people ‘get.’ Scouting is active, saying you’re outwardly looking and seeking a someone, something or someplace to land (not just passively hoping you’ll be found!)

    Sorting – now that’s an action that many, I fear, are short-changing; by sorting through findings, before taking next step actions, job seekers can refine their search and their ‘focus’ – which is another action step you so wisely advise!

    Fast-forwarding to ‘Impress’ – LOVE this, and it’s so true. Job search is about promoting and marketing one’s value to companies and people they wish to attract, and this truly is a courting process (like dating!). By keeping that constantly front of mind, job seekers concerned about ‘bragging’ can assuage that concern with the fact that advertising their talents and traits, indeed, is a needed aspect of successful job search.

    GREAT work and words, with your always lively, optimistic spirit, Erin!


  12. I love this advice to scout the companies who have the jobs you want. It’s all about being an ACTIVE seeker rather than a PASSIVE one. The job search rules are changing (recession or no recession), and this post describes so well just how they are.
    .-= Heather Mundell´s last blog ..Green Jobs – What They Are and How to Find Them =-.

  13. Very interesting advice, though I have a question about one part of what you said: “Start with a phone call then send your package.” Well, what if you call them and they tell you that they are not hiring? Should you send your package anyway? And when you say “package” you are referring to a resume – or is there more that you should send to them? As far as research and adapt, I think that is great advice and something that people should be doing regardless of how they’re going about their job search. You want to look like you know a lot about the company, not just rapid-firing your resume to every possible employer. -Jason

  14. Dawn Bugni says:

    Outstanding advice Erin. Scouting, research, courting, all words you’d seldom associated with job searches of the past, but integral now. A great breakdown of how to make connections outside traditional methods. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Rosa Vargas says:


    How astute of you to map out a strategy for job seekers to tap into the hidden market. You are so right! Job seekers need to take the road less travelled and procure ways to create job opportunities by utilizing cutting-edge strategies and channels. Out with old, people! In with what’s latest and effective! Love the blueprint approach. Excellent post!
    .-= Rosa Vargas´s last blog ..Are You Evolving Into The In-Demand Professional of Tomorrow? =-.

  16. Valencia says:

    Yes , I’m really agree with the publisher cause the active life position is реу very important thing in the modern society!
    Right he is!

  17. What more will I say, you have said it all, great advice, this is an implicit description of where Job search is going, what some people will refer to as social recruiting. Indeed Job search has completely evolved

  18. Great article. I agree, it’s best to avoid the big black hole and avoid applying to advertised positions. The goal is to work the hidden job market and try to uncover suitable opportunities in advance or have a position created for you based off of your strengths.
    .-= Kenrick Chatman´s last blog ..How to Differentiate Yourself and Rise to the Top of Your Profession =-.

  19. You said Job Search Blueprint. And for almost a century blueprint was the only low cost process available for copying drawings. Once invented, no technical development was required; the process was put to widespread use immediately, notably in shipbuilding and the manufacture of railway locomotives and rolling stock.

  20. One of the reasons this job search blueprint is so successful is that it keeps you out of the competition. When you’re not beating you brains out trying to figure how to get ahead of the next person, you can devote you energies and attention to powerful job search strategies that allow you to bypass all your competitors
    .-= Used cash registers´s last blog ..Refurbished cash registers =-.

  21. Good point about the research topic. I learned that one the hard way at my 2nd job interview when they asked me to “tell them something about this company”. Oh well… now I know and glad to see you have that point in your blueprint.

  22. So many job seekers struggle to create a “plan” to find a new job. You’ve set it up so all they have to do is customize the plan for their own situation and then work the plan.

  23. Andy Forex says:

    Excellent post Erin. Thought this post has become old, yet the tips you gave are still useful great!
    .-= Andy Forex´s last blog ..Forex Invincible System – Forex Invincible system reviews =-.

  24. writing job says:

    […] Job Search Blueprint | Professional Resume Services3 hours ago The Career Collective is participating in Job Action Day! Members write posts that provide job seekers information, cutting-edge ideas and steps to secure their. – […]

  25. essay topics says:

    I totally agree. Actually it takes a lot less time than mass mailing all those resume and waiting for the phone to ring. With this new blueprint you have a workable strategy that you can repeat until you find a job that’s right for you instead just trying to fit into someone else’s idea of a job. Great work Erin!

  26. Thanks for the share! This blueprint idea makes sense. I think it’s much more useful than just sending your resume and hoping it will be read someday.

  27. No says:

    Erin Kennedy: Cutting Edge Job Search Blueprint

  28. sometimes it is better not to plan out your life. just do the best that you can do, trust HIM and he will directly guide you.

  29. Very interesting..A blueprint is always a smart idea.

  30. I would also consider adding a 7th bullet point about follow-through/persistence. Sometimes you have to keep bugging the company about when you can expect to hear back from them, as well as continue to sell your self.

  31. Most people stop looking for a job because they feel that they should look for one in another place where the economy is not bad. What these people do not understand is that by finding a job in that very same place, the economy gets better as a result.

  32. jobs says:

    The ways/strategies we should use in searching for jobs evolve at rapid interval.
    We need to just put our hears to the ground.

    Thanks for sharing this article.


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