How to Strategize Your Job Search
By Leslie King When you’re hunting for a new job, the biggest challenges are always knowing where to start, how to get organized, and figuring out the most effective way to approach your job...

worried man laptop

By Leslie King

When you’re hunting for a new job, the biggest challenges are always knowing where to start, how to get organized, and figuring out the most effective way to approach your job search. In this article, I share a helpful structure and approach that can maximize your ability to land the right new job.

Identify your job goals—and share them with your network

Start by thinking critically about what you are searching for in your next position, and create a document outlining what is most important to you. Here are the key elements:

  • Outline a list of the job titles, industries, and companies you are targeting.
  • Identify what is important to you in your next role.
  • List your must-haves: are they location, industry, salary, health insurance, flexible PTO?
  • Identify those things you would be willing to forgo, understanding that in such a competitive market, there will likely be things you have to compromise on.

Once this document is complete, share it widely with your network. Send it in an email to close friends, family members, former coworkers, and anyone else who may be willing to help you with your job search. People can’t help you if they don’t have a clear understanding of what you’re looking for. Ask if they know of any companies that match this description and find out if they’re hiring—or, most important, if they can make a referral.

See the resource section at the end of this article for an example of a “Job Search Goals” list, written for an event planning job.

Organizing your job search

The key to an effective job search is building a sustainable schedule in which you balance searching for a job with self-care so you don’t go completely crazy and burn yourself out. Staying organized is essential to this process.

  • Start by creating your own version of this sample Job Search Spreadsheet.
  • Use this document to keep track of roles you’re interested in, if you’ve been referred, whom it is you’re talking to at each place, if you have any pending action items, etc. Being able to quickly see the progress you’ve made for each job in a single spreadsheet is much more efficient than trying to find information buried in many different email messages.
  • Another tool I’ve created is a template for a Job Search Weekly Plan, which includes a balance of searching for jobs in online job boards with different, but equally important job-search tactics such as talking to friends and acquaintances about possible job opportunities, professional networking, etc.
  • Once you’ve got a plan in place, create weekly recurring calendar events at specific times to make sure you’re staying on track—and stick to it! Here is a sample Google Calendar to customize.
job hunt calendar template
  • Make it a weekly goal to have live conversations with people about your job search. Reach out to people in your network and outside of your network for advice as well as to find out where they are connected and how they might be able to help.
  • Prepare for interviews even when you don’t have one scheduled, especially if you have to go through technical interviews. It takes the pressure off if you get an interview scheduled with a quick turnaround. Write out answers to possible interview questions.
  • Conduct mock-interviews, record them, and listen to how you answered so you can figure out where you can improve.

Finding and applying for the jobs you want

The old method of finding jobs online and clicking the “apply” button is often very unsuccessful. Looking at LinkedIn and seeing hundreds of people applying to a single role can be very discouraging. Whenever possible, leverage your own network for referrals.

  • Start by using Google’s job search tool to find the jobs you want to apply for. Google will pull results from all the job boards on the internet. To look up job postings, for example, type in “Events Manager Jobs in San Francisco” and it will curate postings from LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, etc.
  • Once you find a job you want to apply for, this is where the networking comes in. Use LinkedIn to find connections. Look up the company name on LinkedIn, click on “See all X number of employees that work here,” and filter results by your 1st- and 2nd-degree connections. You need LinkedIn Premium to do this, because without it, only the first few people at the company will be shown and you’ll get a message saying, “You need to upgrade to premium to view the rest.”
  • If you have any 1st- or 2nd-degree connections at the company, it’s best to start there. See the next section of this article on how to request introductions.
  • Another great tip for your job search is to leverage groups like Albert’s List on Facebook, both for referrals, but also for helping you get connected to a Job Search Mentor.

Asking for an introduction to a company connection

It is very important to get a warm personal introduction to someone at the company you are interested in. Here are some general guidelines when seeking an introduction:

  • Send an email to your contact requesting an introduction, and always include a link to the job description.
  • Wait until they reply before you send a resume (unless it’s someone you know well and are certain their answer will be yes).
  • If it’s a job you really want, don’t wait! It’s okay to ask more than one person for an introduction and go with whoever answers first.

Of course, it goes without saying, you should always be willing to return the favor in the future.

Sample message if it’s someone you know personally

If you have any 1st-degree connections on LinkedIn, contact them and ask them to refer you to the job. Sample message:

Jim, I’m interested in applying to the [insert job title and link to job posting] role I saw listed at [insert company name]. Would you be willing to refer me for this position? I can send along my resume. I’ve included a brief note about myself and my expertise you can forward along as needed. Thanks!

Sample message if a 2nd-degree connection works at the company

Start by reaching out to YOUR connection for an introduction to their connection, as this is typically more effective. Sample message:

Hey Tina, how well do you know [2nd-degree connection name] over at [company name]? I see a job posting there I am interested in applying to, and I’m wondering if you know her/him well enough that you’d be willing to make an introduction or pass along my resume.

When you have 2nd-degree connections but don’t know your connections well enough, here is what you can say. Sample message:

Hi, Molly. I came across your profile as I was looking at a job posting for [job title and link] at [company name]. I noticed we have many connections to people I attended school with, so I thought I’d reach out and see if you’d be willing to chat about the company and maybe pass along my resume as well. Thanks so much!

Sample message if you don’t have any connections to the company

If you don’t have any connections to the company at all, use LinkedIn to see who works at the company. Click on as many people as possible and read through their biographies and job titles. Aim for folks that are on a similar career level or only slightly more senior. Senior level folks are busy and less likely to answer. If they “view” you back on LinkedIn, it opens up doors to a conversation. Always send a LinkedIn inmail, and don’t request a connection without an explanation. Sample message:

Hi Robert, I came across your profile as I was looking at a job posting for [job title and link] at [company name]. I am particularly interested in [company name] and would love the opportunity to chat with someone who works there and learn more about the product and culture. It seems like it’s a great fit for my skills and background and what I’m looking to do. Any chance you might be willing to chat and perhaps even pass along a resume for me? Hope you are doing well. Appreciate it.

VIDEO: 5 tips from a job search expert

In this video interview conducted by Learn Analytics, I dive a little deeper into these strategies and share the tools I’ve created that job seekers can adapt to help with their own job search.

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Learn these 5 tips from a Job Search Expert

By Leslie King When you’re hunting for a new job, the biggest challenges are always knowing where to start, how to get organized, and figuring out the most effective way to approach your job search. In this article, I share a helpful structure and approach that can maximize your ability to land the


Give your friends, family, and network the tools to help you with your job search by clearly outlining what you are seeking. These are just examples of what the parameters were for me when I was job searching: 

Job titles 

  • Event Manager
  • Community & Events Manager
  • Sr. Events Specialist
  • Event Marketing Manager
  • Field Marketing Manager
  • Corporate Events Manager
  • Event Coordinator


  • Tech/software companies 

Potential target companies

  • Databricks
  • Google
  • Twitter
  • Square
  • Sendoso
  • Salesforce

Company details: 

  • Companies over 100 employees in size
  • Decent amount of funding
  • Diverse executive team (women and people of color in leadership) 

Target needs from job: 

  • Local to San Francisco office
  • Flexibility to work remote sometimes 
  • Reasonable salary expectations
  • Good healthcare and parental leave policies

Create your own version of the Job Search Spreadsheet sample that I’ve created. Use this spreadsheet to track the different jobs and the current stages as well as action items in your interview process. Look at this daily so you can keep track of whom you need to follow up with and what your action items for the day are. This is especially helpful for keeping track of the names of different people in the process—who referred you, who the recruiter is, the name of the hiring manager, etc. 

sample job search spreadsheet


Browsing jobs (60 min. every other day) 

  • Browse jobs using Google’s search function. 
  • Add jobs to your “Job Search Spreadsheet.”
  • Check jobs on Albert’s List on Facebook.
  • Use LinkedIn to look up who you know there, and message those people for an intro. 

Company searching (60 min. every other day) 

  • Make a list of companies your friends work at or have other close connections to.
  • Visit the company website and see what open jobs they have, and add them to your list if you want to apply. 
  • Read about companies and make a list of ones you are most interested in:

Applying for jobs (on demand) 

  • Adjust resume to match positions
  • Write cover letters 
  • Submit applications online (last resort) 

Networking (30 min., 2x per week) 

  • GOAL: Connect with 2 people per week (1 friend + 1 stranger) 
  • Reach out to friends to talk about jobs/their company 30 min. per week. 
  • Reach out to people on LinkedIn that are in your field at companies you are interested in. 

Check in with your accountability buddy (weekly or every other week)

  • Assign someone to help keep you accountable. Check in with a friend once a week for 30 minutes and go over what you’ve done the last few weeks for your job search. 

Interview prep/interviewing (60 min. per week, even when an interview is not scheduled)

  • Have a friend conduct a mock interview. 
  • Prepare answers to all the most commonly asked questions, especially “Tell me about your background,” “What makes you want to work for this company?” and “Tell me about a time when …” 
  • Research the company thoroughly. Review each page of the company’s website (including customer case studies), Glassdoor, LinkedIn company page, and TechCrunch; do a Google search on the company; watch YouTube videos by the company or its CEO; and try to talk to a customer if you can.


Job searching, especially during a pandemic, can be especially discouraging and disheartening, but hopefully by adapting some of these tools and adding strategy to your search, you can feel like you’re making progress. 

Setting small but achievable weekly goals, blocking your time on a calendar to help keep yourself accountable, leveraging your network for introductions and practice interviews, and planning time for personal interests like hobbies or exercise can help you keep the motivation going as you job search and interview. 

Having a solid strategy for your job search is important to maximize your success of finding a new job. With the tools and solutions suggested in this article, you will be better prepared to organize that job search. Best of luck!

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About the Author

Leslie King is a Senior Events Specialist at Databricks, a software, data, and AI company in San Francisco. Databricks helps organizations make their data ready for analytics, empowers data science and data-driven decisions, and rapidly adopts machine learning. Leslie’s experience includes live and virtual events and conferences, advertising, branding, e-commerce, and marketing. In her spare time, she is a mentor to job seekers. She is a graduate of the University of San Francisco with a degree in Advertising. She can be reached on LinkedIn and would be happy to refer to any open roles from the Databricks career page (currently hiring globally across multiple departments). 

The biggest problem founders and small owners have is that they’re experts in their field and novices in what it really takes to effectively run a business. That’s what usually trips them up, sooner or later.

Don’t let that happen to you. Admit that you don’t know what you don’t know about , starting with these 15 tips guaranteed to help keep you and your company out of hot water. Some are straightforward, others are counterintuitive, but they’re all true. And some day they’ll save your butt.

Always make sure there is and will be enough cash in the bank. Period. The most common business-failure mode, hands down, is course out of cash. If you know you’ve got a cash flow or liquidity problem coming up, fix it now. You can’t fire bad employees fast enough. You just can’t. Just make sure you know they’re the problem, not you ( see next tip ).

The problem is probably you. When I was a young manager, my company sent us all to a week of quality training where the most important concept we learned was that 90 percent of all problems are management problems. When things aren’t going well, the first place to look for answers is in the mirror.

Take care of your stars. This goes for every company, big and small. The cost of losing a star employee is enormous, yet business précurseurs rarely take the time to ensure their top performers are properly motivated, challenged, and compensated. Your people are not your kids, your personal assistants, or your shrink. If you use and abuse them that way, you will come to regret it. Capiche ?

Learn to say ' yes ' and ' no ' a lot. The two most important words business owners and founders have at their disposal are “yes” and “no. ” Learn to say them a lot. And that means being decisive. The most important reason to focus – to be clear on what your company does – is to be clear on all the things it doesn’t do.

It boggles my mind how little most fondateurs value their customers when, not only are their feedback and input among the most critical information they will ever learn, but their repeat is the easiest to get. Learn two words : meritocracy and nepotism. The first is how you run an organization – by recognizing, rewarding, and compensating based solely on ability and achievement. The second is how you don’t run an organization – by playing préférés and being biased.

Know when and when not to be transparent. Transparency is as detrimental at some times as it is beneficial at others. There are times to share openly and times to zip it. You need to know when and with whom to do one versus the other. It comes with experience.

Trust your gut. This phrase is often repeated but rarely understood. It means that your own instincts are an extremely valuable decision-making tool. Too often we end up saying in retrospect and with regret, “Damn, I knew that was a bad idea. ” But the key is to know how to access your instincts. Just sit, be quiet, and listen to yourself.

Protect and defend your intellectual property. Most of you don’t know the difference between a copyright, trademark, trade secret, and patent. That’s not acceptable. If you don’t protect and defend your IP, you will lose your only competitive advantage.

Learn to read and write effective agreements. You know the expression “good fences make good neighbors ? ” It’s the same in . The more effective your agreements are, the better your relationships will be.

Far too many fondateurs run their like an extension of their personal finances. Bad idea. Very bad idea. Construct the right business entity and keep it separate from your personal life. Know your finances inside and out. If you don’t know your revenues, expenses, capital requirements, profits ( gross and net ), debt, cash flow, and effective tax rate – among other things – you’re asking for trouble. Big trouble.

You don’t know what you don’t know. Humility is a powerful trait for précurseurs, and that goes for new owners, veteran CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and everyone in between. More times than not, you will come to regret thinking you knew all the answers. Behind every failed company are dysfunctional, delusional, or incompetent business leaders. The irony is, none of them had the slightest idea that was true at the time. Even sadder, most of them still don’t. Don’t end up like one of them.

For every success you have in growing your market share, another business or other businesses will inevitably lose ground. Here are 11 quick and easy tips to gain a competitive advantage over your rivals and insulate yourself from the threat of new entrants in the market.

Of course, we all want to spark business growth and increase revenue. But the way you do this in a sustainable way is to focus instead on the building of a loyal database of avid fans. Content digital, paired with optimized website forms and éclairé courier automation follow-up is critical to business success. This approach builds trust by giving away free value before asking for someone’s hard-earned money. Not an professionnel in creating optimized lead generation pages on a website ? No worries, use a trusted tool like Leadpages to make it happen.

Like it or not, folks out there aren’t searching for your brand, they’re just looking to solve a problem or find a particular type of product ( unless you run Starbucks or Adidas ! ) Don’t list all the benefits your product brings. Focus on the solutions. Explain to the customer in simple, straightforward terms how or why your product can help them or assist in the attainment of their goals. Consider FedEx’s iconic slogan : When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight. This was a clear example of addressing widely-spread anxiety about the reliability of delivery services. Run through some market research to profile your target customer. How does your product or service – and your delivery and and price point – solve other people’s problems and make their lives easier or more pleasurable ?

Dropping prices doesn’t necessarily raise sales, for instance ( though it will definitely squeeze margins ). If you position yourself as a de haute gamme brand, then your customers aren’t necessarily value-driven in the first place, and cutting prices could even tarnish your brand. Consider this case study from Robert Cialdini’s seminal book ‘Influence : The Psychology of Persuasion’ : a jeweller sold out of turquoise jewelry after accidentally doubling, instead of halving, the price. The inflated price tag lent the product an unwarranted cachet ! If you are a premium brand, there are ways to optimize your pricing without lowering prices. For example, offer the quality-conscious customer an ‘exclusive’ benefit that your rivals do not or cannot provide. If you are at the value-driven end of the market, on the other hand, don’t assume slashing prices means incurring a loss. Low pricing can help you rapidly onboard a heap of new customers who may also buy other items in your shop and return again. Context also counts for a lot with pricing. The best way to sell a $5, 000 watch, for instance, could be by putting it next to a $10, 000 watch. Think strategically when it comes to deciding any price point.

Yes, it sounds obvious, but it’s so very important ! Whether consciously or not, people are more likely to buy a product if they like the sales assistant who’s attending to them. While the employee’s personality obviously has no bearing on the price or your product’s ability to serve their needs is irrelevant. Friendly customer-facing équipe will always attract more sales. Be rigorous in hiring people who are genuinely cheerful, friendly and outgoing. Make sure your training program teaches them to adopt a consistently friendly approach that puts customers at ease and feel like a priority.

Say you’re a bricks-and-mortar store and you’re getting a rush of customers as closing time approaches… why not close up an hour later ? While this may cause disgruntlement among équipe, solve this provenant by getting creative with rosters. Monitor customer footfall throughout the day and week to identify your busiest periods, and équipe people accordingly. You can also reduce headcount during quieter periods to offset the higher costs and longer working hours created by your extended opening hours. It’s a win-win !

Even in the digital age, some customers will always prefer to contact you by phone rather than email or Facebook. While many online companies with tight margins eschew manned phone lines altogether, it’s worth giving customers the option of having a voice-to-voice conversation with your brand. By all means, slash the time and cost spent responding to queries by funnelling customers to standardized, pre-existing responses on your webpage ( i. e., FAQs ). But if their query isn’t listed in the drop-down menu of FAQs, then don’t make them click more than once more to find your phone number. Put it front and center on your digitale page, particularly if you’re a retail offering. ‘Live chat’ bots are an inexpensive way of offering real-time communication, too.

Why not give your happy customers a voucher with their purchase to redeem on your products and services ? If they love what you do already, they’re only going to love you more for this. It’s good for you because : It guarantees they will return to your store again. People hate to waste freebies ! When they return to your store to redeem their voucher, they may buy other items, too. If your operates online, then the freebie could be strategically timed to coincide with a special sale. Oh, and guess what ? Chances are customers who have received vouchers or freebies won’t stay quiet about it either, so you could enjoy some positive buzz on social media.

Local businesses can arguably connect with their unique communities with much greater authority than any global chain. A local retailer, hair salon or gardening company can sponsor a kid’s sports team and offer deep discounts for OAPs at the same time. Some cinemas feature special ‘sensory’ screenings where parents can bring kids with autism ( who would normally be overwhelmed by busy, noisy environments ) to enjoy a movie in a relaxed, stress-free atmosphere. This reflects well on them and also guarantees them a loyal customer niche. Whatever you choose to do to support your community, make sure it authentically fits with your brand offering and journey to date.

Social media is a great medium through which to build a solid relationship with customers – just don’t forget what ‘social’ actually means ! Soul-less corporate shop-talk won’t work on Twitter. Try to give your brand some ‘personality’ when you write updates or posts. This can bring its own risks, bien sûr. But if you get it right, the benefits can be immense. Develop a tone of voice that aligns well with your brand identity. Seek to inform, help, entertain or amuse. And most importantly – given the dire PR consequences – don’t patronize, try too hard to be funny, or tweet after a few alcoholic drinks !

Sometimes it’s better to be a master of one discipline than a jack of all trades. Admittedly, multiple revenue streams do spread your risk : if one falters, others can take up the slack. Nevertheless, consumers often associate ‘specialists’ with higher quality products or services than generalists. And with good reason, too : specialists typically invest all their resources into perfecting a single product or service. So what should you specialize in ? tera state the obvious, it should be something in which you excel. You could also pick something with rising or recession-proof demand which is resilient to technological change in which you possess a competitive advantage over your rivals or where there’s an obvious gap in your local market. Own it, whatever you do.

Don’t ever get too satisfied with your business. You can always improve – and improve you must ! Don’t get me wrong : without the odd moment of smug satisfaction, what’s the point ? Do relish in the successful launch of a game-changing product or take pleasure in positive customer feedback. But don’t let your customers hear you banging on about it time after time ! Be alert to the common element that has led to the downfall of countless hitherto thriving brands : complacency. Imaginative, nimble and innovative start-ups often do better than big market précurseurs that just got lazy. You may be the disruptive innovator today, but tomorrow you could be the complacent market leader with a tired model. So try to be humble and always strive to improve. Seek inspiration from other entrepreneurs, from books and from seminars. The moment you think ‘mission accomplished’ is the same moment you become vulnerable to being usurped.

There are lots of ways in which you can improve your , and not all of them are complicated ! Try out the above tips or integrate them with your existing strategies, and let me know how you go in the comments below. Guest Author : Faye Ferris is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Dynamis APAC Pty Ltd offices in Sydney. She develops the DYNAMIS stable of brands and their expansion into the Asia Pacific region as well as BusinessesForSale. com, FranchiseSales. com and PropertySales. com. If you have an interest in partnering up with Faye or advertising on any of these websites in the APAC territories, please do not hesitate to contact her on faye@businessesforsale. com.


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