How to build an effective job search strategy that will land you a job

How to build an effective job search strategy that will land you a job

Picture the scene: you open your laptop and go to LinkedIn, Indeed or any other site where you can search for jobs, you type in a job you think you would like to apply for, and, after scanning the site, you click on the apply button, submit your CV and close the laptop quickly. Phew., another application submitted! But you feel disheartened as you worry you won't hear anything back, again.

Sound familiar?

Let me ask you this: what job strategy hides behind these actions? Well, to be honest, the answer is - none! I know that this sounds a bit harsh, but please know that I want to help, so that’s why it is time for a wake-up call. As Albert Einstein said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Effective job search strategy

First of all, let’s start with the question, “What is an effective job search strategy?”. According to me, it is the one that lands you a job, and the one which has a clearly defined plan behind it. Wouldn’t you agree?

What are you doing wrong?

When I work with clients who have been unsuccessfully looking for a job for some time, the first step we start with is uncovering where it goes wrong. If you want your job search to be successful, you need to know where the problem lies. It could be that you are not getting invited to interviews, or that you are going to interviews, but you do not receive an offer. Once we know what the issue is, we can focus on the next steps.

The way I help my clients to create an effective job search strategy is focused on the following main parts:

Know what you have to offer

Perhaps the most important part of the process is to truly understand what you bring to the table. Here we focus on listing the experience, knowledge, transferable skills, achievements, unique selling points, etc. Understanding that will help you to feel confident when applying and it will help you to craft your CV and LinkedIn profile much more effectively.

Know what you want

Now it is time to focus on the outside world. And it is not only about what type of job you want to do. Start with the country you want to work in, which industry, organisation, role, the commute, whether you would prefer to work remotely, etc. Start creating a list of your top 30 dream companies.

Writing all this down will help you to understand the specific job market you want to operate in. It will help you to deeply understand what is required for the positions you're after. By comparing the two (what you want vs what you have to offer), you will get precious insights into your strengths and weaknesses.

Next steps

Only after having clarified the above, are you ready for the next steps. Why only then? Well, the things such as your CV, LinkedIn profile and interviewing techniques depend on what you will come up with when creating your job search strategy document.

For example, one of the best ways to get a job is via so-called “warm leads” - people you know and who work in the place you are interested in and who can refer you further. But when you open LinkedIn, how do you know which of your 500+ connections to contact? Well, if you have a clear strategy in place, you know which companies you are interested in and checking whom to contact is much easier.

CV that doesn’t land in a trash can

If you get lots of invites for interviews, I would not worry too much about this part. But if you don’t, then it is time to have a closer look at your CV. In my previous article, I have shared a lot of tips on what needs to be improved. Having a clear job search strategy in place will help you to build a great CV.

LinkedIn as a magnet

It could also be the case that although your CV looks great, when people land on your LinkedIn page to check you out - and believe me they do - they get confused. Maybe your photo is not a good one, or you have an old headline, or your summary is vague.

Make sure to follow these tips to improve your LinkedIn profile.

Please be aware that recruiters are also actively using LinkedIn to search for talent. If you have a strong profile, you could be approached by them instead. But first, they need to know what you have to offer. Once you are clear on that and have it documented it is much easier to build a LinkedIn profile that will work like a magnet.


How can an effective job search strategy help you when going to job interviews? If you have written down all the aspects I mentioned above in one document, every time you prepare for an interview, you can pull it out and critically think before the interview: which of the required skills are my strengths, which examples do I have to illustrate that with, which of the required skills are my weaknesses, and how can I manage those?

I also recommend preparing lots of specific examples using the STARR model and writing them down in the same document, this way you build a database that can serve you at any time.

So, now I am curious to hear, do you have a clear job search strategy in place for yourself? What works for you? What doesn't? Share in the comments below, so we can all learn from each other. Good luck in your job search!

Dorota Klop-Sowinska


Dorota Klop-Sowinska

Official Member of Forbes Coaches Council. I specialize in international career and expat coaching. I am the author of the book Career Jump! How to Successfully Change Your Professional Path...

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