Workplace Trends

Job Search Benchmarks and Productivity Tips That Lead to Faster Landings

By James Greenway on July 11, 2012

According to the latest U.S. BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, released on Tuesday, July 10, there were 3.6 million job openings on the last business day of May 2012, up slightly from 3.4 million in April 2012.  The number of hires in May was 4.4 million.  The number of job openings in May increased over the year for total nonfarm, total private, and government.

While the recovery has produced weak job growth, openings continue to rise.  Are you having success uncovering new opportunities or is your job search stuck in low gear? Without structure, goals and benchmarks, it’s easy to get derailed.  Maybe it’s time to set some benchmarks for your search progress. In her Forbes article, “Job Search Depressing You? Try A Little Harder,” Susan Adams cites a recent study that examined the mental health of individuals in search. The study concludes, “Looking for a job is an unfolding task that is highly autonomous, self-organized, loosely structured, and ill-defined.”

If you haven’t already done so, consider defining very specific benchmarks against which you can measure your progress, and then hold yourself accountable for achieving your set goals. Our experience shows that these three job search benchmarks are key to faster landings:

  1. Conduct 30 search-related conversations each week
  2. Hold two conversations with hiring managers each week
  3. Follow up with hiring managers every three weeks

Once you’ve defined benchmarks, consider tactics to help you achieve objectives. Here are a few productivity pointers to help you attain your goals and maintain the momentum required for an effective search:

  • Identify targets. Identify the types of positions you’re seeking and list at least 50 potential companies.
  • Create an action plan. Set clear goals for your job search activity (research, composing cover letters, customizing your resume, networking calls/meetings, responding to postings, etc .) and write it down.
  • Track your activity. Create a chart or spreadsheet to track conversations with contacts (hiring managers, networking contact, former colleagues, etc.) and all job-search related activity.
  • Assess weekly. If you’re not devoting the majority of your time to networking and follow up, chances are you’re not getting much traction. Ramping up your networking calls and meetings will yield greater results.

A job search is like any other work project that needs to be monitored and measured against benchmarks for success. How do your activities measure up?

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