Looking for a job? Do you have a communications plan?

Most people spend a lot of time fussing with their resume. I myself never met a resume I didn’t want to rewrite – even the one I rewrote myself last week.

All this is good: your resume provides an invaluable structure for you to craft your story, putting together your successes and experience highlights, incorporating your insights about the hirer’s needs and expressing all this in a way that will move her to call you.

But don’t spend all your available time on this.  You should commit a significant portion of time to developing yourself a communications plan.  Getting your story into the right ears is not just about a few sporadic phone calls or emails.  It needs a full on, 360-degree strategic plan for reaching the people you will identify as your target hirers.

Here is an outline of how you can get started:

1)    Goal – identify what you want to be doing in three to five years time and what new jobs, skills and experiences can help you towards that goal

2)    Targets – who do you need to reach

i)    that can hire you at a company and for a job that will move you in the right direction
ii)    that can network you to that person

3)    Research – in which you learn all you can possibly learn about

i)    Companies and jobs that you like the look of
ii)    Industries and niches that can expand your experience
iii)    What the thought leaders in your business are talking about

4)    Message – this is what your resume creation process has identified: it states explicitly or implicitly the problem you solve and clearly lays out your unique value to a hirer.

5)    Channels to reach your targets: decide which ones are appropriate and in what combinations.  Here a few to get you started:

i)    Email
ii)    Phone calls
iii)    Drive to your website or portfolio site
iv)    LinkedIn
v)    Other social media: Twitter, Facebook, blog etc
vi)    Attending networking events, conferences and seminars
vii)    Most importantly: working your very own personal network of connections – and by extension, theirs.

6)    Action

i)    Finalize your materials – portfolio, website, LinkedIn, resume
ii)    Make sure they are all consistent with your story
iii)    Prioritize your contacts and start reaching out
iv)    Record the outcome of each connection you make and plot your next steps

As with all such advice, take it in and make it work for you in your own style and with knowledge of your own resources.  But don’t ignore it.  These are important considerations.  An effective job search is not for the lazy or fainthearted!