28 May, 2020
By Mike Simpson
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
That powerful sentiment – from the mind of Benjamin Franklin – has long been used to extol the virtues of planning. But there’s an issue with quotes like that. While the thought is on target, it isn’t very actionable. Luckily, people stepped in to fill that gap, creating functional approaches like the 30-60-90 day plan.
But, if you’re like many job seekers, you might have heard of the 30-60-90 day approach. But that doesn’t mean your mind isn’t brimming with questions. What exactly is a 30-60-90 day plan? How can you apply it to your job search? Is it worth the effort?
If you want to figure out if you can harness the power of this planning method and use it to find your perfect job, you’re in luck. We are here, and we’re ready to answer all of your questions. So, why wait? Let’s dig in and get you those answers.
What Is a 30-60-90 Day Plan?
Alright, let’s start with the basics. A 30-60-90 day plan is a document that you can use to outline goals and develop a short-term strategy for achieving those objectives. It’s a way for you to organize your thoughts, develop an actionable plan, and monitor your progress.
Usually, the purpose of this kind of strategizing is to streamline your efforts and maximize results. It can also make a complex undertaking feel more manageable. You’re breaking everything down into smaller intervals and bite-sized chunks. As a result, what you’re trying to achieve doesn’t seem so blasted overwhelming, even when it’s a big goal.
When most people think of this method, they focus on the 30-60-90 day plan for managers or for new hires. With the former, they spend more of their time working independently, so it guides their efforts. Additionally, this methodology aligns with specific activities, like onboarding a new hire, so they may use one there as well.
With the latter group, quick growth promotes greater success, so using it can make it easier to reach full productivity by focusing their efforts. They can coordinate their initial days on the job to ensure they concentrate on the right skills or areas, expediting their journey to becoming an asset.
However, that doesn’t mean a 30-60-90 day plan isn’t adaptable to other situations, including a job search. After all, a job search isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon.
Now, this doesn’t mean you’ll be on the market for three months. Pre-pandemic, around nine weeks was pretty common. That comes in closer to the 60-day mark than the 90 day one.
But that doesn’t mean the principle doesn’t work. By using this approach, you are essentially dividing the job search process into three main intervals. You can time your efforts based on the phase, increasing your odds of success.
Plus, you are making it easier to focus. Think of it this way; when you start looking for opportunities, do you just head to a job board and read about every open position? No, you don’t. If you did, you’d be facing thousands and thousands of listing, 99 percent of which wouldn’t be anywhere close to relevant to you.
Instead, you take advantage of the search criteria, limiting the results by location, skillset, pay rate, and more. By doing that, the list is manageable and relevant. That’s what a 30-60-90 day plan can do; make your job search manageable and relevant.
Okay, so how do you harness the power of the 30-60-90 plan? By using it as a guide. So, let’s dig a bit deeper.
Details of a 30-60-90 Day Plan
A 30-60-90 day plan is divided into sections. First, there are the time increments. You’ll separate your objectives based on when they need to occur. So, you’ll have a 0-30 section, 31-60 section, and 61-90 section. But you don’t stop there.
Within each segment, you’ll have a set of elements. Each one has a specific purpose, allowing you to collect your thoughts and make them meaningful.
Here’s a look at those:
On a 30-60-90 day plan, the first item you include in any time increment is your “focus.” In a way, it serves a similar purpose as a professional summary on a resume; it succinctly summarizes what is to come.
The idea behind the focus is to concentrate your efforts on a single thought. All of your actions and objectives need to align with this one idea, keeping you targeted.
For a job search, your first focus might be, “preparation,” for example. That short description encompasses the entire initial phase.
The second segment is your “priorities.” Like your focus, this is supposed to be high-level, but a bit more specific than the focus. In context of a job search, some initial priorities might include “revamp resume” and “reconnect with my network.”
You just want to outline the big journeys that you need to take, not the small steps. That way, you can make sure you’re covering everything and not getting lost in the minutia.
Alright, you know that minutia we just mentioned, now is the time for some of it. With your “goals,” you need to be more specific.
For example, during phase one, your goals might include:
- Incorporate skill-oriented keywords into my resume
- Update my social media profiles for my job search
- Message members of my network to reestablish communication
- Prepare my elevator pitch
This segment is much more step-by-step in nature. You want each entry to be incredibly actionable, outlining precisely what you need to do to complete the phase.
In some cases, a 30-60-90 plan includes metrics. For a job search, certain ones can be beneficial. If a goal is measurable, you can define how you’ll determine success.
However, in some cases, your “metric” is really more of a checkmark. When you complete the task, that’s it; you’re done. If that happens, that’s fine. The core concept is to monitor your progress, so use whichever approach you feel is best based on the goal involved.
How to Write a 30-60-90 Day Plan
Writing a 30-60-90 day plan is a multi-step process. Luckily, it’s fairly simple. The trickiest part is the actual thinking, not the format or approach.
- Create the Document
- Define your Focus and Priorities for Each Interval
- Add Your 30-Day Goals
- Add Your 60-Day Goals
- Add Your 90-Day Goals
- Identify Metrics
- Review for Actionability
Here’s a closer look at each step:
1. Create the Document
Usually, the easiest way to begin is to create the document and set up the plan’s formatting. That way, you can just plug the right details into the proper spaces.
If you want to get this handled quickly, use a 30-60-90 day plan template. It will have all of the spaces you need, allowing you to get moving fast.
2. Define Your Focus and Priorities for Each Interval
By starting with all three focus and priorities sections, you are getting your “big picture” objectives recorded. It will help you organize your efforts, ensuring you list the right goals in the proper areas.
3. Add Your 30-Day Goals
Once all of your focus and priorities sections are complete, start by listing all of the goals that align with your first interval. Usually, this segment is all about preparation. So, chose SMART goals that help you get your ducks in a row, increasing the odds that your job search will run smoothly.
4. Add Your 60-Day Goals
During the 31 to 60 day interval, you’ll actually apply to jobs. Include SMART goals that encompass typical activities for locating and applying to roles, like running searches, reviewing job alerts, targeting resumes, submitting applications, practicing interview questions, tapping your network, and attending industry events.
5. Add Your 90-Day Goals
Technically, this section will overlap a bit with the previous one. You’ll continue to apply to opportunities while moving forward in some hiring processes. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t outline what comes after the application phase.
In this area, outline goals that keep your motivation high and apply to later parts of the hiring process. This includes attending interviews, following up on resumes, sending thank you notes, and similar activities.
6. Identify Metrics
Depending on the nature of your job search, you might be able to find some metrics to include. For example, you might want to reconnect with five members of your network every week, submit at least three applications a day, or something similar.
However, don’t force metrics where they don’t belong. It’s okay if a few goals are check-off-when-complete types. As long as you have a method for determining success, you’re probably good.
7. Review for Actionability
After you record all of those details, reexamine your goals and make sure they are all actionable. You don’t want anything ambiguous or ill-defined, as those won’t help you move forward. So, take a second look, and adjust your lists until each one looks more like a task or to-do.
Once you’ve reviewed for actionability, that’s it. You’re ready to get started with your 30-60-90 day plan. So, don’t delay. The faster you begin, the faster you can land a new job.
30-60-90 Day Plan Template & Example
Okay, you know how we mentioned the benefits of a 30-60-90 day plan template for getting started? Well, you’re in luck! We are going to do you one better.
This 30-60-90 day plan example can be used as a template, but also lets you know what a functional one looks like. Nice, right? We thought so.
Here’s a quick 30-60-90 day plan example that you can use to help you create your own:
My 30-60-90 Day Plan
Days 1 – 30
Focus: Prepare critical documents and connections for my job search
Priorities: Research open roles to identify keywords, update application materials based on today’s standards, reconnect with members of my network who could provide value.
- Review 10 target job position descriptions at leading companies
- Gather 20 keywords that are pertinent to my role and field
- Incorporate keywords into my resume and LinkedIn profile
- Create a cover letter to use as a template
- Update my social media profiles in advance of my job search, ensuring my personal and professional accounts reflect positively on me
- Message relevant members of my network to reestablish communication
- Prepare my elevator pitch, both written and verbal
- Identify 10 employers of choice in my area
- Define my ideal position
- Develop aligned search criteria for locating suitable opportunities
- Sign up for job alerts
- Connect with recruitment agencies
- Reach out to recruiters who focus on my industry and region
Days 31 – 60
Focus: Pursue relevant opportunities and prepare for the next phase
Priorities: Identify relevant opportunities, submit application materials, follow up on leads from members of my network, practice for interviews.
- Conduct manual job searches to locate opportunities
- Review job alerts twice at least twice daily
- Follow-up with members of my network about opportunities
- Target resumes and cover letters to each role
- Track applications on a spreadsheet for easier follow-up
- Attending networking events
- Monitor feedback for insights on how to improve
- Follow-up on resumes one week after positions closing or, if not closing date is listed, one week after submission
- Develop job interview question and answer technique
- Identify common interview questions in my field and rehearse answers
- Choose interview outfits in advance, ensuring they are in good shape and ready to wear
Days 61 – 90
Focus: Maintain momentum while meeting with hiring managers
Priorities: Focus on interviewing while still maintaining job search activities
- Continue applying to positions even while interviewing for other opportunities
- Refine interview technique based on feedback from hiring managers
- Send thank you notes after every interview
- Thank members of my network who referred me to opportunities
- Follow up with hiring managers for next steps post-interview or for updates on my candidacy
- Reevaluate resumes and cover letters to address any noted shortcomings
Putting It All Together
Ultimately, 30-60-90 day plans can be valuable for coordinating a job search, making them ideal for staying organized and focused throughout the process. Use the tips and example above to create your own 30-60-90 plan, ensuring it’s tailored to your needs. That way, you can streamline your job search, guaranteeing you won’t miss any important steps along the way.
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