When you hear the question, “How is your job search going?” you’re likely to answer with a grumbling, “Well, I don’t have a job yet.” But at GetFive, we would never encourage you to answer the question like that. You may not have a job yet, but that doesn’t mean your search isn’t going well.

You are on the road to finding the right job. Along the way, there are milestones. There is a progression taking place in the form of stages. Here’s what the stages of your job search should look like:

Stage 1: Networking with whom you want to keep in touch

List the number of people you currently contact on an ongoing basis who are in a position to hire or recommend you. If you are seriously job hunting, you should have a goal of six to ten meetings per week if employed and one to two meetings if you are employed at this stage. Although you are unlikely to get an offer at this stage, this is the time to gather information and find out how your target industry works. Become an insider.

Stage 2: Finding the right people

The nature of your six to ten contacts should shift to become six to ten potential opportunities. Instead of finding contacts to get your search off the ground, you’re meeting people who are closer to your desired job. Ask the question, “If you had an opening, would you consider hiring someone like me?” Then find out why or why not. This feedback is invaluable.

Stage 3: Moving along actual career opportunities

In stage three, you’ll move those six to ten opportunities further into six to ten possible jobs. These job possibilities could come from both your target areas and serendipitous leads. To get more leads, notice which targets are working and which are not. Make additional contacts in areas that seem to be working well. In the end, you should aim for three offers. When choosing between offers, select the job that positions you best for the long term.

Don’t base the success of your search on whether or not you have an offer. Have patience. Take your time to develop contacts and nurture relationships at each stage before discovering and winning that dream job offer.

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