17th century author, John Milton, once wrote “Luck is the residue of design.”  This aphorism is certainly applicable to career transitions, including job searches.  Many believe that finding a good career or job is out of their control, and is solely due to chance.  However, this belief is inaccurate, and the reality is that those who are successful in their career transitions typically were guided by diligent planning. Thus, here are 3 tips for planning a productive job search or career transition.

1) Create a plan – Many job seekers are not clear about their goals and their ideal job.  Rather they do random searches for jobs which sound “alright.”  Either due to a sense of desperation or a lack of knowledge about appropriate job search strategies, some people will settle for the first job option presented to them. Instead of settling for just any job, construct a realistic wish list which includes salary range, job duties, work environment, and any other essential elements for your job satisfaction (e.g. geographic location, etc.). Also, the wish list should match your educational qualifications as well.  In addition, the plan should include a timeline. The typical job search lasts between 3-6 months, and thus, you should plan accordingly in terms of building financial and emotional reserves for this often frustrating and exhausting journey.

2) Network and discuss your plan with trusted sources – People tend to follow a plan when they publicize it and feel that they will be held accountable by others. This can be difficult especially when you are feeling vulnerable to criticism or expectations. So, choose your support committee wisely.  Share your plan with thoughtful and supportive friends, family members, and colleagues.  It will allow selected others to provide constructive feedback and to think about how best to help you.

3) Stay optimistic and revise your plan if necessary – Evaluate your plan after 3 months, it may be time to modify it, or to seek further assistance from a career professional if it’s not going in the way in which you had hoped.  Since the process can indeed be challenging, it is critical to maintain a healthy optimism throughout the process.  Seek support and take time to indulge in stress reducing activities to re-energize you and allow you to continue your ultimately successful process.