Job Search Plan

Preparation and Organization are Key

How do you stress the importance of preparation and organization during a job search? It may be hard for some customers to realize their job search is basically a job in itself.  The ultimate goal is to get a job that matches their skills and interests and provides enough income for a comfortable lifestyle.  As a partner, you know this does not "just happen".  To maximize the results of their job search, it takes:

  • Critical thinking skills,
  • Research skills,
  • Communication (written and verbal) skills,
  • Organization skills, and more.

That is a lot to explain and to understand!  Illinois workNet has the tools to help your customers work through this process​​ and maximize their job search results.  Although customers may have very different skill sets, employment histories, and career interests, the basic process is the same.

  1. Be able to communicate (written and verbal) your technical, transferrable, and workplace skills though your experiences.
  2. Locate job openings and research the positions.
  3. Customize the way you communicate your skills based on the job requirements.
  4. Organize your job search by tracking your applications, follow-up activities, and interviews.
  5. Evaluate your progress and modify your approach as needed.

Illinois workNet has:

  1. Tools and resources that every customer can use for these basic steps.
  2. Articles that dive into the details and provide more guidance based on a customer's specific situation.  Articles will continue to be added over time. 
    • NOTE:  If you have a suggestion for an article or you would like to contribute an article (your original work), send the information to
  3. Videos for those who prefer or learn better by watching videos.
  4. Related Resources for online resources and tools (in addition to Illinois workNet tools) that have been reviewed and vetted.


Take a look at the recommended tools and approaches below.​

Getting Prepared

Man at a computerThe Employment 101 Guide is a self-guided online approach that includes recommended steps, job search preparation tools, articles, videos, and a job search organizer / plan that can be updated along with the job search and interview process. This guide and saved results are accessed through your My Dashboard.

Recommended Tools and Approach for Your Customer:

  1. Organize your information. This information can be entered into the Resume Builder Tool (login required) for easy access when developing your resume. The personal information worksheet is another option that is available.
  2. Take a look at the Job Skills Guide and Digital Literacy Guide. As you go through these guides, determine whether you have those skills or if you need to work on them. Use your past experiences, training, or earned credentials as evidence that you have those skills.  You can use the Skills Assessment that is available in the Resume Builder Tool (login required) to document your skills.  Using this tool can help you store the information in one place.  Then it is easy to access when you are ready to create or update your resume that is customized for a specific job opening.
  3. Learn about the different types of resumes using the Prepare a Resume page and Marketing Your Skills articles.  Determine the best style of resume for your situation.
  4. Customize your resume and portfolio for each job using the Resume Builder Tool.
  5. Be able to communicate your technical, transferable, and workplace skills though your experiences. You will need to be able to do this through your resume, while networking with others, and during your interview(s).
  6. Before you get to the interview process, learn more about preparing for an interview using the Employment and Hiring Planning articles
    1. Make sure that you research the job requirements and the company.
    2. Prepare for an interview by preparing your 30 second elevator speech, listing answers to potential interview questions, and putting together questions that you could ask during an interview.
    3. Practice the interview with another person. Dress the part, greet them, and shake hands. Answer your practice interview questions.
    4. Be prepared to get the interviewer's name and contact information. This way, you can follow up with a thoughtful "thank you" email or card immediately after the interview.​​

Finding Job Openings

Young woman at a computer jobPrep App - Mobile app to find job openings, find networking events, read articles and tips, participate in the Illinois workNet Virtual Job Club, and bookmark all of your favorites!

​​Recommended Tools and Approach for Your Customer:
  1. Locate job openings using the Illinois workNet JobFinder, Illinois JobLink, and Featured Employer tools.  
  2. Research positions and companies. Learn about the qualifications for the job, the products or services offered by the company, and its competition. 
  3. Think about the skills and experience that you have that can benefit the company.
  4. Customize your resume and cover letter based on job requirements and your research.
  5. Apply for the position.
  6. Organize your job search by tracking your applications, follow-up activities, and interviews.  You can use the Employment 101 Guide Job Search Plan or Job Search Record Worksheet.
  7. Evaluate your progress and modify your approach as needed. Learn more by reading the Employment and Hiring Planning articles.
    1. If you are not getting interviews, there may be a problem with your resume or you may be applying for jobs for which you are not qualified. 
    2. If you are getting interviews but you are not getting offers, you may need to get some feedback from your interviewer(s) and make an adjustment.


Partner Resources:

  • ​Employment 101 - Job Search Plan Instructor Guide (PPT)
  • Illinois workNet Resume Builder and Customer Support Center (PDF)

Handouts/Tools for Customers:

  • Employment 101 Flyer (PDF)
  • Quick Start Guide (PDF)
  • Resume Builder Guide (PDF)
  • Resume Checklist (Word)
  • Resume Guide - Chronological (PDF)
  • Resume Guide - Combination (PDF)
  • Resume Guide - Functional (PDF)
  • Job Search Record (PDF)
  • Personal Information Sheet (PDF)

More Resources in Download & Print Filter results by subject.

  • Qualify - For resume and skill guides.
  • Jobs - For job search and interview resources.