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Mastering the Job Hunt: How to Create a Job Search Plan and Why You Need One

Looking for a job can be long and stressful, almost like having a full-time job itself. To stay motivated and focused, it’s important to have a solid strategy. Although it might feel like an extra step, making a detailed job search plan is very helpful. A plan will let you track your progress, give you something to refer to, and make applying for jobs easier. Writing down your plan helps keep you accountable and makes it more likely that you’ll complete each step.

Let’s break down how to create a job search plan:

1.    Figuring out your career goals

Just saying “I want a job” is too broad.  Take this chance to think about what kind of job is really right for you. Look back on your past jobs. What did you and didn’t you like? Did you enjoy working outside or dealing with customers? What management style helped you do your best? Which employer values best fit with your own?

Online resources can help you identify your career goals.  For example, WorkBC offers quizzes to narrow down your career objectives based on your skills, preferences, and interests (WorkBC Career Discovery Quizzes).

Looking at job descriptions can give insights into previously unknown occupations.  Review job banks to see what catches your eye, and ask your friends about their jobs.

Remember, career goals can be short-term or long-term. Maybe you want a seasonal job before starting college, or to join a company where you can advance over time. Knowing what you want will help you plan your job search more effectively.

2.    Take a personal inventory

Make sure you have the right skills and training for the career you want. Start by listing your hard skills, such as education and training. Some jobs need specific qualifications, while others are more flexible. More and more employers are offering training and professional growth opportunities. If you don’t have all the qualifications for your dream job, you might still be able to get an entry-level position at a company that provides training and promotes from within. Alternatively, consider making it a long-term goal to get the necessary training.

Next, look at your soft skills or transferable skills.  These are personal qualities that are harder to measure, but still very important. They can be easily transferred from one career to another and are highly valued by employers.

Some examples of soft skills include being adaptable, organized, good at solving problems, creative, and able to communicate well. Do your soft skills match your career goals? Even though it might be tougher to improve these skills, it’s definitely possible.

Think about ways to boost your soft skills by practicing, getting training, and asking for feedback from mentors or friends. Building these skills is a lifelong process, but it can really help your career and lead to greater success.

3.    Do your research

It’s just as important for a company to be a good fit for you as it is for you to be a good fit for the company.  Make a list of companies whose values match your own, even if they aren’t currently hiring. You can learn a lot about a company online, including their mission and vision, core values, and opportunities for growth. Websites like Glassdoor and Indeed also have useful information.  

This information will help you figure out what characteristics you want in a future employer. Think about whether you value diversity, chances for career growth, or great medical benefits. Decide if you like a relaxed and fun work environment or if you thrive in a competitive and goal-oriented setting.

Remember, the job search is a two-way street. While companies are evaluating your fit within their team, you should also be assessing whether the company’s environment, culture, and growth opportunities align with your career aspirations and personal values.

4.    Get organized

Now that you’ve decided what type of job you want and what you are looking for in a company, it’s time to plan out your job search strategy. Breaking down your main goal into smaller, manageable tasks can help keep you motivated and on track. Having a to-do list can reduce job search stress by simplifying the process.

Some tasks you might include are attending networking events, preparing and practicing for interviews, customizing your resume and cover letter, and applying for a certain number of jobs each week. Make sure these tasks are specific and achievable.

Set deadlines for each task and create a schedule to stay productive. You might also want to set up a dedicated workspace, whether it’s a desk at home or a spot in a local coffee shop. Treat your job search like a real job by setting aside regular time for it. To keep yourself motivated, set milestones and reward yourself when you reach them. Rewards can be simple, like enjoying your favourite meal or having a fun outing with friends.

5.    Find supports

Looking for a job can feel lonely and discouraging, but remember, you’re not going through this alone. Look for organizations, like WorkBC, that support jobseekers in their search – they are there to help. Also, don’t be afraid to talk to your friends and family; they can give you support and might know about job openings.

Stay positive and persistent, as the right opportunity is out there for you. Each application is a step closer to finding a job that matches your skills and aspirations. Keep pushing forward, and believe in your ability to succeed.

To help you with job readiness, resumes, and job readiness skills, contact your local WorkBC Centre.


Teal, “How to Create a Strategic Job Search Plan in 2024”, December 2, 2023.

TopResume, “How to Create an Effective Job-Search Plan”, December 16, 2021.