Initiating Your Job Search Project

How to begin your job search

January 20, 2016

(Part 2 in a series of 3 posts on how to project manage your job search. Read Part 1 here.)

beginningOnce you have decided to treat your job search as a project, you have begun “Project Initiation.” The things you need to get started are: a description of the real reasons you are undertaking a job search project, your short and long-term career goals, and the benefits you hope to achieve. You may not achieve all your career goals in one job move, but if your steps are in the right direction, eventually you will get there.

Project Initiation Steps

  • Evaluate Alternatives:  (for example, whether to transfer, relocate, take a “less-than-ideal” job to avoid relocating, etc.)
  • Business Case Outline: (what you are trying to achieve and why; the pros and cons of changing jobs)
  • Commit the Organization to Proceed: (think of yourself as the “head” of your own job search organization)
  • Develop a Project Charter: (write it up, refine, discuss with stakeholders, approve and proceed with a plan)

Just as any CEO should have a company strategy and a personal executive strategy, so should you have an updated career strategy

Project Management Tip: Project initiation prepares you to start planning your job search

You already have a lot in your favor in this job search. Review what you know; a professional takes on work that is within his or her means to deliver, with room to grow. Your search should aim at a job that makes financial sense, aligns with your long-range goals, and is consistent with your knowledge, skills, talents, and capabilities.

You are not in this job search alone; there are other stakeholders, such as your family, dependents, and friends. Usually, they will be supportive. But sometimes a job change is not welcome (for example, it might impact your spouse’s career, or mean that a teenager must move away from friends). It is your job to manage the effect of change on them, too.

High-level Project Planning

When you are done with project initiation, and have staked out the boundaries of what you will and will not do, you are ready to block out a high-level plan. Here is the information you need in order to begin:

  • Planning 
    • time estimate
    • cost estimate
    • resources, contacts, and networking
  • Inputs
    • time available
    • resources available
    • problem/issue definition
    • “‘charter information” (who, what, where, why, when—and how much?)

by Helen S. Cooke

Next: Managing Change and the Job Search


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