Norman Vincent Peale is credited with coining the often used expression "Plan your work and then work your plan". Countless other success minded authors and speakers have use this phrase and others like it to emphasis a fundamental point of success: That planning and preparation are the underpinnings of success. With out a plan, you can't possibly get to your destination with any efficiency or much less get there at all.
This principal is especially appropriate to Marketing Yourself. Whether you are marketing your own business, your company's service or the most important product of all-YOU, you have to have a plan that guides you towards your objective. The application of this point to executives in transition (looking for another job) is extremely on point. I have engaged in hundreds of discussions with individuals looking for a new job and a surprising number of them did not map out a plan as to how to get that next great position. Sure, they networked. Yes, they beefed up their LinkedIn profile. Of course they contacted recruiters. Documenting written "Go To Market" plan for any endeavor is critical but especially if you are looking for a new position. It isn't rocket science-just a discipline but without it, you will delay achieving your ultimate goal. What is required is a SMART plan:
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Rewarding, Trackable
Specific: Create a 1-2 page detailed description of what you want. Get really specific. Scope of responsibility, title, compensation plan--everything that is important to you in your next position.
Measurable: Set daily and weekly job search metrics. The number of calls, emails, referrals from your network, meetings interviews, etc. You should manage your job search just like you manage building up your sales pipeline or previous customer base. Activity is driven by metrics.
Achievable: Your goals must be achievable. Set them too high and you will spiral into frustration. Too low and you won't get traction. Don't go after positions that are long shots. In this market, companies are hiring for exactly what they need. Be realistic.
Rewarding: Reinforce your progress with a reward system. Set your daily goal and if you hit that objective, reward yourself with a tangible benefit. The job search process is tough enough. You might as well give back to yourself along the way.
Trackable: Monitor your progress each week. Determine where you gained ground and where you need to improve. I know one person that used Salesforce.com as their career search CRM. He was able to track his progress based on the measurement system he created.
The smartest move you can make is to create a SMART plan that will help you achieve your objective with far more efficiency and far less frustration.