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If we know where we are going, we are more likely to get there. A job search is the same. If one has a written goal, a direction, the possibility of achieving that goal is greatly enhanced.

Your first assignment is to define your goal. Make sure that it is achievable based on your personal abilities, your education, experience, and skill set. Once you have defined your achievable goal, you start on the road to attainment.

Your second assignment is to put your map together. Now that you know your destination, design your map to achieve your objective. This will be your onboard guidance system as you proceed through your job search.

What should be included in your plan of action? You should include those techniques that are most effective as you proceed through your job search. Networking is the most effective job search method. It should be at the top of your Plan of Action.

Networking should include those individuals that you know personally: friends, associates, colleagues, and co-workers, present and past. It may also include networking online, through Linkedin for example. If you are interested in a career or industry change, you may wish to include targeted networking. That is, you may wish to schedule meetings with individuals doing the type of work you wish to do, or who work in the industry in which you are primarily interested.

Another excellent method for networking is to become active in an organization or association that best fits the type of work you wish to do. Since most organizations and professional associations include volunteers, you will find it relatively easy to develop networking contacts. Volunteer to become active in the organization. Develop contacts. Network.

Your plan of action should also include published openings. This would include internet job sites, as well as company web sites. With company websites, you may actually find an opening before it gets to the internet job sites. If an opening is on a company website, chances are that you will have less competition.

Develop a self-marketing campaign. Write an article for the newsletter of the organization or association that you join. If you are an expert, volunteer to give a presentation. Be a greeter at the door to meet other association members, maybe introduce a speaker so that everyone in the room will see you.

Consider other job search techniques, such as direct mail, attending trade shows or conventions, even job fairs. Contact recruiters that specialize in your area of expertise or that specialize in your industry.

If you are not presently working, your job is finding a job. 40 hours a week.

Designing a plan to achieve your goal is your first step toward the achievement of your objective. You have nothing to lose but unemployment, or perhaps underemployment.

Richard M. Knappen is president of Chessmen Career Movers, an outplacement, career management, and consulting firm that is one of the oldest and largest locally-owned companies of its type in Southern California.

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