Are you looking for a job? Do you have a plan? When seeking your ideal job it’s important to have a strategic plan. That way, you can maximize your efforts and always ensure you’re presenting yourself as positively as possible. Here’s how to create your job search plan.

Step #1 Know your strengths and skills. Nobody does everything well. Know what you do well, what areas you excel or have expertise in, and focus on those. This will help you both find the right opportunities for your skills but also it will help you show off your strong points.

Step #2 Know what you’re looking for. Before you start applying for jobs, make a list of what you’re looking for. This list may have five items on it; it may have 100 items on it. Make sure what’s most important to you is listed first on the list. Prioritize the items. Now, when you begin searching for a job, you only apply for positions that meet your needs.

Step #3 Begin your search. It’s always recommended to approach a job search from several different angles. Find companies that you know you’d like to work for and visit their website for job opportunities. Call their human resources department or connect with people you know who work there.

Network. Networking is a great way to find a job. Get out and get active both online and off. Join industry associations and local organizations that cater to your industry or chosen profession.

You can also visit employment agencies and have them help you find your ideal job. Employment agencies and staffing firms do not charge you; they charge the company you’re placed at. The company pays a ‘finder’s fee’ so you should never have to pay any money to a staffing firm.

Finally, you can use classified ads and online job postings to aid your job search.

Step #4 Research the company you’re applying at before you apply. A little research can go a long way. Before you type up that resume and cover letter, make sure you know who you’re sending it to and exactly what they’re looking for. It also helps to know why they’re filling that position but that information isn’t always easily available.

Step #5 Before you send out your resume and cover letter, customize it for the position. A one size fits all resume just doesn’t work anymore. You can certainly start with a resume template but take the time to modify it to fit the specific job you’re applying for.

Once you’ve completed these steps you can be sure you’ve done everything you can to put your best foot forward. You can now apply for the position with confidence. To your success!