Making a hit list for your job search

targetsAnother quote that rings true in your job search is from Jim Key: “You’ll only hit the targets at which you aim.”  If you are applying for EVERYTHING you will probably end up with NOTHING.  This is why a lot of people get frustrated in their job search.  They apply for hundreds of jobs and never hear anything or they get a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” email.

At the beginning of any job search you need to start a list of industries, companies and positions you are targeting.  You will add to this list as you go through your job search.  I recommend using a spreadsheet but it is up to you.  If you use a spreadsheet you can cut, paste, insert, sort and filter your data.  This can also turn into your tracking spreadsheet, which I will discuss in a later post.

Your first four columns should be Industry, Profession, Company and Position.

Job search spreadsheet

Now start listing them.  Each row does not have to have all three columns filled yet but you want to list out what you think are good matches for your background AND what you want to do.  You may find that somethings you CAN do you don’t WANT to do and some things you WANT to do you CAN’T, at least not yet.  To find more information on bridging the gap between what you want to do and what you can do look up Informational Interviews, they are awesome!

For instance, for me, my list would start like this:

Job search spreadsheet 1

If you want to look for more ideas on occupations check out O*NET Online.  You can look up occupations by name or look up occupations by abilities, interests, knowledge, skills and much more.  This step is important because what if you want to get into recruiting but you don’t look up “talent acquisition?”  You could miss a lot.

This step should not stop you from applying for positions or looking for work but it will assist you in focusing your efforts.  In my opinion there is only one thing you should do before applying for any job, have a good resume.  I did not say great or perfect, a good one will do to start.

As you go through your job search you will add to this list and I encourage you to change it into your tracking spread sheet.  Call it a very basic JSM (Job Search Management) tool.


Be sure you positively identify your target before you pull the trigger.
Tom Flynn

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