Careers Managing Your Job Search

Finding a job takes time and commitment. To land a job, you must be an active job seeker. Below you'll see how active seekers operate as well as ways you can strategize and manage your job search.

Passive vs. Active Job Seekers

There are two kinds of job seekers: passive and active.

Passive (or hobbyist) job seekers try to cut corners when it comes to their job search. Instead of dedicating time to the search process, passive seekers feel entitled to a job. As a result, they often make excuses like, “There are no jobs out there.” Passive seekers do insufficient research and ultimately sloppy work. You don’t want to be this kind of job seeker.

Active job seekers are committed to finding a job and put in the hard work associated with it. As an active seeker you'll block out time to search for opportunities, research companies and positions, network with influencers, establish a job search tracking system, and follow up with contacts.

Here are practices active seekers put into place:

  1. Building - apps, projects, etc. Ultimately, assembling a portfolio of work samples and continuing to grow as a professional.
  2. Blogging - as a way to document learning or discuss news/events in the industry.
  3. Networking - going to meetups, conferences, and other events.
  4. Contacting people directly - asking for informal/coffee meetings, introductions, etc. from existing and new relationships.

Active job seekers are strategic in their system and outreach — like salespeople.

Treat the Job Search Like a Sales Funnel

When it comes to closing deals, salespeople are strategic. They use tools to track their activity, set goals, and manage their workflow. One tool used for these purposes is called a “funnel”.

Sales funnels start at the top and narrow as they head towards the bottom. They are the widest at the upper part because of the many initial contacts made. At the very bottom, the funnel is the smallest in size — reflecting the number of activities from the first points of contact.

Another term salespeople use is “conversion rate”. In simple terms, it’s the percentage of people who take a desired action. For salespeople, the desired action is a new lead purchasing what they are selling. Conversion rates are often used by salespeople as a benchmark to see if they’re on track with hitting their goals.

As a job seeker, you can also think about conversion rates as a way to measure your progress. When it comes to sending out emails, set a goal for a 25-30% conversion rate. Meaning that if you send out ten emails, you can expect 2 or 3 responses. This is why it’s important to send out a lot of (high quality, engaging, compelling) emails as you’re job hunting. Overall, funnels are a good way to budget how much time and outreach you should do. They also remind us that rejection is normal.

A job search funnel looks something like this:

Sales Funnel

Like a salesperson, you want to start off by making many contacts. Some of these will turn into phone calls and informal meetings. Sometimes, these connections will introduce you to a contact of theirs at a particular company. From these informal meetings, fewer will lead to interviews. That’s okay, that’s how the job search (aka sales) process works! And then all the way at the bottom of the funnel is a job offer — the fewest in number.

To help manage your job search funnel, you can use a job search tracker. Your Career Coach will provide you with an individualized tracker for your use.

An Example Job Search Tracker

Successful salespeople track their work in a database so they know how much activity they must generate to achieve their goals. Think of your job search the same way. And, just like a salesperson, you can measure your progress with a job search tracker.

While there are various ways you can track your search (like with a notebook), one of the best options is in a spreadsheet. When you store information in a spreadsheet, it’s easy to locate at all times...unlike a notebook which is easy to misplace or leave at home. Plus, you can access the information again down the road — like in a future job search.

Spreadsheets allow you to store all your job search related activities in a central location. You can even add filters to quickly sort information based on type (like by contact date).

If you don’t track your progress, it may feel like you’ve done a lot of networking, but in reality only reached out to a handful of people. A job search tracker will show the progress you've made at a given time. With one, it's easy to see if you need to do extra outreach or not.

Here is an example of a job search tracker.

Be Active

As a committed job-seeker you’ll:

  • Dedicate the time required for an effective job search by scheduling specific activities in your daily calendar (e.g. 3 hours practicing your technical skills, 2 hours researching opportunities, and 2 hours sending emails)
  • Build projects, blog, network, and actively outreach to your network
  • Treat the job search process like a salesperson
  • Create a special place to track your progress
  • If you don't commit to the job search in this way and don't track your activities, you're far less likely to get a job offer, and far less likely for an offer to be the one that you want.

What Next?

If you will be working with Career Services, you'll be assigned a Career Coach once you're about ~75% of the way through the curriculum. So if you don't have a coach now, just keep learning and we'll get you set up with one when you're ready to focus on career preparation in addition to technical curriculum. When you start your job search, you'll be expected to keep a job search tracker, which your Career Coach will provide you with.

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