Job Hunting Plan

Looking for work is stressful, full of ups and downs, and challenging even in a good economy. So looking for a job in the current economy requires more than just a positive attitude – it requires a plan.

I\’ve worked with hundreds of job boards and online recruiting sites as a consultant, and what I\’m going to tell you may be a surprise: don\’t rely exclusively on job boards to find your job. Yes, they should be part of your job hunt plan – but not the only part. As a veteran, you know how to execute orders accurately and successfully – and you also understand that success is rarely the result of a single tactic, but instead the outcome of multiple tactics, conducted in parallel. This also holds for your job hunt.

A solid job hunting plan should consist of the following:

a) networking with friends, neighbors, and relatives
b) networking with past and current colleagues
c) job boards
d) social media
e) recruiters
f) knocking on doors and making phone calls

Let\’s take a closer look. “Networking” is really just another word for talking to people that you know – albeit with a specific objective in mind: you\’re letting them know that you\’re actively looking for work, and any help they can offer via companies or people that they know would be welcome. Most jobs are filled via referrals, so it\’s very important to pursue this part of your job hunt strategy diligently. Again, think \’plan\’. A good way to do this is to write down a list of everyone you know, no matter how close or distant they might be. Write down their contact information, too – a phone number, email address, etc. Next, set yourself a schedule to contact everyone. With your network, talking with people directly is almost always best – it\’s personal and it also helps to focus your contact\’s attention, if only for a few minutes. Afterwards, be sure to follow up with a written or emailed \’thank you\’. People like to be thanked!

With job boards, expect to spend 15-25% of your daily time for job hunting. Locate specific job boards for veterans and the professional sectors you\’re interested in via lists such as InternetInc\’s list of 100 niche sites. Set up job alerts on each site so that when jobs are posted, they are emailed to you right away. Also, use the boards to research which companies are hiring in your area of expertise. Job boards are a wealth of information, and many have additional useful links and articles specific to making the transition from military to civilian worklife.

Social media is useful for getting your name out. Set up a profile on LinkedIn – it\’s free and only takes a few minutes. Search Twitter and see if there are jobs or recruiters that are posting the types of jobs you want – if so, track them down via LinkedIn or your job boards or Google. Recruiters can be useful if you\’re seeking work in a high-demand field, such as skilled trades or technology. Again, be choosy – only work with recruiters that specialize in your field of expertise. Don\’t be afraid to ask for referrals!

Finally, it\’s important to actually get on the phone or visit in person occasionally. It\’s often the personal contact that can make a difference. Use the contacts you\’ve made via your network, job boards, and other channels to focus on the companies you really want to work for – and pursue them. Most job seekers are content to sit in front of their computer – if you go beyond that, you\’ll put yourself ahead of the crowd!

-Jeff Dickey-Chasins
Job Board Doctor

Bio of Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Jeff Dickey-Chasins is a veteran of the job board, publishing, and e-learning industries. Jeff was the original marketing director for, growing it from $7 million to $65+ million in three years. He has worked with 100+ job boards and HR-related sites over the past 20 years, in almost every sector, including finance, technology, education, health care, sales and marketing, energy, and specific geographic regions.