At this point in the process you have set up your lines of communication, built your contact list, studied yourself, and defined what you are looking for.
Now, it is time to put it all together into a cohesive plan.
If you have any remaining “To Do” items from the first three chapters, now is the time to finish them.
Please do not move forward.

You should stop, go back and finish the remaining items you have not completed.  If you haven’t finished all the tasks to this point, you may have difficulty completing the final two sections and will find yourself going back anyway.  It is not uncommon for job seekers to spring forward with a desire to “get it done” and “get a job.”  Take your time and finish each To Do item before moving forward. 

Although many of the steps we have covered may have seemed basic, they provide the foundation for a system that will now serve you well as you work through the steps it takes to create your plan of action.

About Your Resume
Your resume is an important tool, but probably not as important as you think.

You may obsess about the perfect resume, but please don’t.  Your resume is a simple outline of your work history and career progression.  A good resume is easy to follow, clearly written and demonstrates the value you have brought to your previous employers.

It may be necessary to change the way you think about your resume.  Throughout your job search, you should use your resume as a “leave behind”, rather than a “door opener.”  If you rely on your resume to open doors and get you meetings, you will most likely be disappointed and experience a longer, more difficult job search. 

Helpful Tip:
One version of your resume is enough to land the right job for you.
Resume Presentation Basics
  • It should be well formatted, and include plenty of white-space.
  • The reader should be able to tell what you are looking for in 5-10 seconds.
  • We only recommend a chronological resume that lists your most recent work history first.  It should not be longer than 2 pages.
  • The writing should be clear and concise and the content should support “Your Story”.
  • Your resume should focus on results, achievements, role descriptions, and tasks.
  • No Typos!!!  After you’ve proofed it, have a friend or family member proof read it again!
  • It is not a complete biography.  Detail the last 7-10 years and summarize everything older than 10 years.
Anatomy of a Resume
If you search online, you will find countless resume templates for any job title, but most contain the same information. The basic structure is outlined below:

File Name: First Name Last Name Resume.doc = John Doe Resume.doc

Contact Information: Include your name, address, phone number(s), email address.

Summary: This states who you are to employers.  It is your brand in condensed format.

Work History: Include each professional employment in reverse chronological order.

  • Provide a one sentence description of the company.
  • For each entry include time periods, title, function, employer and details of work.
  • Highlight internal promotions to demonstrate your successes at each organization.
  • Include periods of self-employment or entrepreneurial ventures.
  • If you have more than 20 years of experience, it is OK to consolidate your roles into one item.  Example: Various sales roles within Manufacturing.

Education: For each degree include:

  • The name of the institution
  • The type of degree
  • The year of graduation

Additional Information: This is the catch-all section.  It can include information relating to your professional background, publications, awards, affiliations, certifications, licenses, family status, children, etc.

Use Designations to support your story.  For example: Use SPHR Certification if you are going for an HR position.  Also, you can highlight recent training or associations with which you are affiliated.

Tool Kit Item:
We have provided a resume sample and template to help you create your resume. (Item 9 in the Career Handler Tool Kit.)
To Do:
⬜ Revise your resume using the resume template in support of Your Story. Reference Item 9 in the Tool Kit in the back of the Career Handler© Workbook.
Just remember your resume only tells potential employers the basic facts about your career.

It doesn’t tell them you want the job.  It doesn’t tell them anything about your personality, character, or physical appearance.  It doesn’t tell them if you fit into the corporate culture or whether you will click with the boss.

Your References

Your subheading here

Prior to making a job offer, a prospective employer is likely to ask you to submit a list of references. 

A reference is an individual that can speak about you and the quality of work you can deliver.  Some employers may request a reference list, but never contact the individuals.  Others will conduct a thorough evaluation of your references by calling them and asking a detailed list of questions.  Either way, you want to be prepared to submit your list of references to your future employer. 

In addition to check individual references, it’s not uncommon for an employer to verify past employment.  Many employers will not give out any detailed information other than a starting and ending dates of employment.  Other employers may be willing to discuss your performance, work ethic, attitude and attendance. You really can’t control what people will say about you so it’s important that you choose references who you trust and who can speak knowledgably about your best work.

When you are selecting references, it is far better to go for quality rather than quantity.

Choose at least 3 strong references and try to represent a cross section of previous employers, customers and vendors.  It is unlikely that your future employer will go beyond the list of references you provide.  However, be aware of the information that may become available from the invisible reference.  Invisible references are people in your network that you may not have selected as a reference or recommend.  Sometimes a shrewd HR professional will select a first level contact from your LinkedIn profile and ask them to provide a reference.  Invisible references can also exist in the idol gossip and rumor that surround your industry.

Once again you can’t always control what people say and you certainly can’t control what they think, but you can select at least 3 bullet-proof professional references.

To Do:

Select 3 references you can provide to your future employer.  Use the Reference List Template, Item 10, in the Tool Kit in the back of the Career Handler© Workbook. 

Building Your Target Company List
Now it is time to define your target companies.

This is when your job search starts to get exciting.  A target company is a company where you are potentially interested in working.  Remember, you need to research each company to determine if it is the place for you.  You begin to define your target companies based on your background, experience, and interests.

Target Company Considerations
Making some decisions to define your target company criteria can help streamline your search.

Take time to consider what you are really looking for in your next job.  Consider your past experiences and take into consideration what you liked and didn’t like in your previous role and company.  Think about your career goals and objectives.  Consider the personal factors that relate to lifestyle and family considerations.

The list below represents some general categories to consider as you define your targets.

Geographic Location

  • Local, national, or international –decide whether or not you are open to relocation
  • Your personal commute preferences

Industry Segmentation

  • Healthcare, Financial Services, Information Technology, etc. – you are better off if you can stay in the same industry

Type of Organization

  • Technology start-up
  • Manufacturing
  • Non-Profit

Company Size

  • Revenue and # of employees
  • Single location or multiples locations
“Searching is half the fun: Life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party.”
~ Jimmy Buffet
Methods to Develop Your Target Company List
1. Discover Your Public Library

There are many hidden benefits to becoming a member of your local public library. 

One of them is access to cost effective job search resources.  Go to your library and ask the librarian about resources that list companies in your area.  Most public libraries subscribe to Reference USA, which provides a comprehensive database of companies. Libraries also subscribe to local and regional business publications that can help you conduct research on target companies.

Helpful Tip:
Every company has a SIC and NAICS code. These are standard classification codes and can help you identify multiple companies in the same industry.
2. Drive Around

A great way to find hidden companies is to simply get out there and explore your own neighborhood.  We call this the Drive-by method.  Whenever I talk about this technique, people always smirk, but this is a really helpful technique, especially if geographical preference is high on your list of considerations.

If your last job involved a long commute and long hours you may have lost touch with the development that has occurred in your own community.  You may be surprised at what you find.  It is also a great way to get out of the house and clear your head.  Here is how it is done:

  • Mark a 5-10 mile radius around your home
  • Go for a drive and get lost
  • Discover office parks and high rise buildings
  • Get out of your car and check the building directories
  • List the companies of interest
3. Utilize Your Network

Once you have established your criteria, look through your contact list and review the companies where your contacts work for potential target companies.  Your list of target companies is a component of your marketing plan.  You will continue to grow your target company list over time and asking your COI for recommendations can be very effective.


4. Review Your Association List

In Chapter 3, we identified three professional associations to target for networking.  Go to these organization’s websites and search for people, companies, and sponsors that are active participants of the associations.  Research these companies and filter them by the criteria you have created.  Chances are that you may find several potential target companies that are affiliated with your associations of choice.


5. Online Research

Conduct online research.  There are many online resources that can help you build your target company list.  Free is good, so take full advantage of free resources such as internet search engines.

Free business search tools:

Yahoo! -

If you want to search for companies by industry, consider using Yahoo! Finance.

LinkedIn -

LinkedIn Companies allow you to search companies in a variety of ways.  It is the best way to connect with the companies where people in your network are employed.

Your local Chamber of Commerce -

Most local Chamber of Commerce sites post their list of member businesses.  If you live in a major metropolitan area there may be several to choose from including your city and its surrounding counties.  Their lists can be searched by category, industry, and keyword.

Subscription based business search tools:

Reference USA -

This is a paid service, but it can be accessed for free at most public libraries.

Hoovers -

This is also a paid service, but they often run specials for job seekers.  The job seeker rate at the time of this writing was $50 per month.

Jigsaw -

This is a free online sales tool that provides the ability to conduct detailed searches for companies and individuals.  Sign up using this website to get free points -

Helpful Tip:

Your target company list is just a starting point.  Once you have identified a list of 10-15 target companies, continue your research and find their competitors.  This can help you grow your list exponentially.

As you progress in your search you will discover new companies to add to the list.

To Do:

Develop a list of 30-50 companies to target.  Pull the companies together from your personal and business contact list, your networking associations, and research.

Create a Marketing Plan
Creating a Marketing Plan provides you with great clarity in your search and it helps others see how they can help you.

A marketing plan is a one page document that outlines your job search strategy. 

It is one of the most powerful tools that you can create in your job search arsenal.  A marketing plan helps you stand out from the pack in networking meetings and demonstrates to others that you have a plan for your search.  Most people do not have a plan, but now with your marketing plan, you have charted a clear path for your job search.

Your Marketing Plan serves many purposes.
  • It can be used as a cheat sheet or script for phone interviews
  • You can use it as a talking point in networking meetings and informational interviews
  • It shows your network that you are serious, methodical, and have focus in your search
  • It creates a positive impression and conversation starter for your networking meetings

Your resume may seem redundant and serve little value in meetings with people that already know you.  However, sending them your Marketing Plan communicates exactly what you are looking for and the value you can add to an organization.  It makes a strong impression, helps you get the most out of meetings, and it puts the people you meet with in a better position to help you.

If you have followed along with the Career Handler Process to this point and executed the action items in the system, you will find that your Marketing Plan practically writes itself.  It is assembled from key points in your story, resume, target company criteria, skills, and values.  We have provided a template and example in the Tool Kit.

Tool Kit Item:

More information to help you create your marketing plan is available in the Marketing Plan Template and Sample.  Reference Item 11 in the Career Handler© Tool Kit.

Your Marketing Plan should include the following information:

Professional Objective:

The professional objective is a statement about the type of discipline/industry you are pursuing.  One or two sentences should capture the essence of who you are and what you are looking for.

Target Positions/Preferred Functions and Industries

  • 3 to 5 bullet points that provide further detail and support your professional objective
  • Include a sampling of position titles
  • Include the major value add for your disciple (Example: exceeds sales quotas, product engineering and design)
  • Highlight particular industries of interest

Positioning Statement:

Your positioning statement adds further detail to who you are and the value you provide.  Use this space to communicate what makes you unique and the value you can provide to your next employer.  It is OK to repeat yourself and get specific about your direction and what you are seeking.

Key Competencies

Key competencies are the value added skills that you have performed in past roles.  Select four major key competencies.  Support each competency with three to four bullet points that support that competency.

Target Market with Sample Target Companies:

  • Geographic location: Mention your preference and be specific
  • Types of industries: List one or several
  • Size of organization: Use employee size, revenue or locations
  • List of target companies
Helpful Tip:

As you schedule meetings with your contacts, send a confirmation email the day before the meeting and attach your Marketing Plan.  Tell them that you are using this document to help position yourself in the market and are interested in getting their opinion.

To Do:
⬜ Create your Marketing Plan. Use the Marketing Plan Template, Item 11, in the Career Handler© Tool Kit to help you.
Prioritize Your List of Contacts
Return to your Contact Tracking Log and review it based on the job search planning that you have completed.

Look at your list and determine which individuals to contact first, second, third, etc. 

Prioritize the first 20 contacts by placing a “1” under the “Priority” column for the first person on the row that contains their information, a “2” next to the second person, a “3” next to the third person, etc.

To Do:
⬜ Identify on your Contact Tracking Log the first 20 people you will contact.
Set up Trial Run Meetings
Now it is time to get out there and start talking to people.

We want you to start off easy and build your confidence and momentum.  A great way to do this is by setting up a couple of one-on-one meetings with trusted people from your network.  We call these initial meetings - Trial Run Meetings.  Use these meetings to practice your delivery, gain feedback on your strategy and to generally work the kinks out of your presentation and message.

Set up Trial Run Meetings with people whose opinions you value. 

Make sure to choose people who will be honest with you and give you productive feedback.  They should be people with whom you already have a good relationship.  These contacts may include:

  • Family members or close friends
  • Business mentors, former bosses, trusted business peers

In these meetings, share your marketing plan, job search plan, and the work you have done in your previous role(s).

What are the goals of these meetings?
  • Practice sharing your story and gain confidence
  • Receive feedback on your strategy
  • Obtain leads, ask for 3-5 leads and follow up
  • Create an instant advocate, get recommended
To Do:
⬜ Set up 2 Trial Run meetings. Use the Trial Run Meeting Script to help prepare for the calls. Reference item 12 in the Career Handler© Tool Kit.
Important Point To Remember:

Send your Trial Meeting participants a confirmation email before the meeting and attach your Marketing Plan to give them time to review the document.  Also, bring a copy to the meeting.

Identify the Decision Makers

Once you begin your networking with the Trial Run Meetings, continue setting up appointments with the remaining 18 people on your list that you have already placed as a priority. 

Concurrent to this activity, it is also time to do some detective work to identify the people who would be hiring you within your targeted organizations.  We identified these individuals as “Decision Makers” in Chapter 1. 

There are many variables that impact your ability to identify decision makers.  One important consideration is the actual size of the company.  The larger the company size, the more management layers and greater difficulty you may have finding the correct decision maker.  Here are some methods you should use to help you locate Decision Makers.

Use Your Network

Your most valuable asset in your job search is your network of contacts.  Consistently reach out to your friends and associates in your immediate network that might have connections to the Target Companies.  Think about it…if you have just 100 people in your network and they each know 100 people, that could potentially give you access to 10,000 individuals.  Leverage this multiplier effect in your search.

Online Research

Company Website

Most often companies highlight some of their key executives on the company website.  Be sure to check it out.  You may be surprised at how much information you can find.

LinkedIn is an online networking tool that can be highly effective for conducting decision maker research.LinkedIn and Jigsaw

Using Advanced Search

You can use the advanced search function in LinkedIn and Jigsaw to narrow your search by company and title.  For example if you are searching for a person in the IT department of Coca-Cola, you can use Vice President, Coca-Cola, and Information Technology in your search criteria.

Check to see if your results show connections to people in your extended network.  If so, you have now identified potential Sources or Insiders that can help you make that connection.  When you start networking, approach your mutual connections (Sources/Insiders) first, to gain intelligence and to help you establish contact with the decision maker as a referral.

Jigsaw is an online user generated directory of companies and contacts.  Members can conduct searches by company, job title, and other helpful classifications.  At last check, it is one of the world’s largest databases of up-to-date, downloadable contact and company information, providing access to over 25 million business contacts in over 4 million companies.

Joining Jigsaw is free and it operates on a points based system.  Members share their contacts to earn points that act as currency to pay for searches.  Points can also be purchased, but you should not have to do that since you have already developed an extensive network on your contact tracking log.

If you haven’t already joined Jigsaw, you can do so by going to the following website -

Call the Company and Ask

Yes, that’s right. 

Pick-up the phone and call the company.  Call the main number and ask to be directed to a specific department.  For example, if your new boss could be the Vice President of Marketing, ask to be sent to the Marketing Department.  If the company is small (less than 250 employees), then you may be able to ask the operator or secretary directly.  You may want to do some online research prior to your call.  Therefore, your call may only be to confirm that the contact information and address you have for the individual is correct. 

You never know, they may be located at a different location than the one listed on the website.

Tool Kit Item:
We have created a Decision Maker Inquiry Script to help you make calls to identify decision makers at your target companies. Reference Item 13 in the Career Handler© Tool Kit.
To Do:
⬜ Identify Decision Makers at all of the companies you have targeted. You will complete this To Do item as you proactively approach each target company.
The Benchmark of a Good Week
We told you at the beginning of this process that we wanted you to embrace the concept of employing yourself.

When you are employed by an organization your performance is tracked based on tangible metrics and milestones that are designed to help you and the organization meet and exceed goals and objectives.  Why should your job search be any different?

So what should a good week’s work look like and what should it yield?  We have created targets that represent the benchmarks of a good week.  This is the level of activity that delivers real results.

Are You Tracking Your Success?

Hours worked: These are the scheduled job search activities that you have blocked off on the calendar.

Meetings and events: These represent group network meetings and one-on-one in person meetings with contacts from your network.  Be sure to have a good mix of different types of meetings.

Phone or personal interviews: This is the result of your networking activities.

New Decision Maker contacts: Add 1-2 new decision makers to your network every week.  How you connect with them may vary, but what’s important is that new decision makers are becoming aware of who you are every week.

Tracking Your Progress
Even the best of us need accountability.

As we have stressed from the beginning, job searching is complex and it is easy to get lost in the shuffle and lose track of what you are accomplishing.  Keeping track of your progress allows you to make adjustments and ensure that you get the results you are seeking.

We have created a simple way to track your progress so that you can make sure you are building momentum in your search.  

“That which gets measured gets done.”
~ Tom Peters
You Are Encouraged To Keep Track Of The Following:
  • The hours you are working on your search
  • The number of meetings you are having
    • One-on-one meetings
    • Group meetings
  • The number of contacts with whom you are connecting
    • General contacts
    • Insiders and Sources
    • Decision Makers
  • The number of interviews you are attending
    • Phone interviews
    • Personal interviews
  • The number of job offers you are receiving
    • You only need one!
The Status Report
Keeping a status report helps you track your progress, make adjustments, and stay on target. This may seem like overkill, but it is a discipline that serves you well when you commit to the practice.

The Status Report Template is designed to capture your activities on a daily and monthly basis.  Therefore, the numbers at the top of the document represent the days of the month.  Here is a brief description of each item.


Hours Worked:  This represents the number of hours worked in a particular day according to your calendar.

# of Networking Meetings:  This represents the actual number of meetings you attended in a particular day.  Keep track of both one-on-one and group meetings.  For example, if you had one group meeting it would be represented on the report with a hash mark “|”.  If you had two meetings “||”, four meetings “||||”, etc.

New Contacts Added:  This represents how many contacts you added to your job search networking process.  If you are using the Contact Tracking Log, this is easy to manage.  Once you pull a name from the Contact Tracking Log and establish a Contact Sheet for that person, you will count them as a new contact added to your job search.  This is a very important number as it represents exactly how many people know that you are in a job search.

# of Phone Interviews:  This represents the number of phone interviews that are conducted that represent an open position for a potential employer.

# of Personal Interviews:  This represent the number of personal interviews that are conducted that represent an open position for a potential employer.

# of Offers:  This represents the number of job offers you have received.  This is without a doubt the most exciting box to fill in!

Tool Kit Item:
We have created a Status Report that you can easily fill out to keep track of your results. Reference Item 14 in the Career Handler© Tool Kit.
Helpful Tip:
You can always refer to the “Contacted” field in your Contact Tracking Log to determine how many new contacts are added each day.
Your Checklist For This Chapter
Complete this list of action items before moving on to the next section.

Write or revise your resume using the resume template, Item 9, in the Career Handler Workbook.

Select 3 references you can provide to your future employer. 

Develop a list of 30-50 companies that you want to target.

Create your Marketing Plan. Use The Marketing Plan Template, Item 11, in the Career Handler Tool Kit.

Identify on your Contact Tracking Log the first 20 people you will contact.

Set up 2 Trial Run meetings.

Identify Decision Makers at all of the companies you have targeted.  You will complete this To Do item as you proactively approach each target company.

Begin tracking your job search progress using the Status Report.

Congratulations, you have completed chapter 4.
Make sure you have completed your To Do list before moving forward.
Advance To Chapter 5