Job Search Planning

Whether you’re looking for your first job, trying to find your next job, or want to change your career direction altogether this section is here to help. It is important that you have a strategic approach to your job search and use your time and resources effectively. Stay organised and be professional at all times to ensure you get the most out of your job search.

Read on for more information about planning your job search, setting yourself a schedule and following up on applications so that you don’t miss out on that golden opportunity!


We know it is tedious but planning your job search will help prevent you from missing out on potential job opportunities. Ideally you should be devoting around 2-3 hours or so a day to your job search. You need to set yourself realistic time frames and milestones as the amount of time you can spend on this in reality will vary based on your circumstances.

A balanced a varied job search will allow you to take advantage of all potential opportunities. For example focusing too much on one aspect, such as job-hunting online, could limit your choice. What about checking out important industry publications, such as the Nautilus Telegraph, Lloyd’s List, and the myriad number of maritime recruitment agencies in the UK and further afield?

As part of your job search process, you might want to consider your industry networks and professional contacts. If you have or could build a good rapport with a respected industry individual, you could try and turn that person into a valuable future lead. You could seek their advice on your job search, on what they think of your CV and how it might be improved, and any other pointers they could give you.

If you haven’t joined LinkedIn yet- why not? THE networking website for professional people, it has a number of shipping-related networking groups, of like-minded shipping people, with various job posts that could help you.

It’s impossible to know exactly how long your job search is going to take, but you certainly don’t want it to last forever, so make your plan for a defined and realistic period of time – say 3 months, and then review how it’s all going.
Here’s a suggested plan to get you started:
Set a target of how many jobs you aim to apply for on a daily/weekly or monthly basis. Then you need to decide how long you will spend researching companies, completing application forms, producing your CV and adapting it as needed for each application, and writing your CV/application cover letter for each job.
Create a job log that will make sure you know what jobs you have applied for, with which companies, when you applied etc. – Example Job Log

  • Company and job applied for
  • Date you applied
  • Method of contact- emial, post, CV or application form
  • Contact name/ phone number/ email address
  • Application close date if provided
  • Follow up date

Set some time to follow up on positions you have applied for. Don’t just wait and worry about whether/when you will hear back from a company. If there is no closing date for the application, wait at least 5-10 days and then follow up.
If there’s not much happening by way of interviews, then widen your search, sign up to agencies, attend industry related networking events. Don’t be idle, you are on a mission to secure yourself a job, it’s down to you and your efforts; job opportunities are unlikely to come knocking at your door.
There are various ways to apply for jobs. It is very important to follow any instructions in a job advert or that an employer provides about how to apply. Some employers will only accept information electronically. Others will only accept completed job application forms that they provide. Some will not accept phone calls about openings. Other employers will want additional material, like evidence of certification or visa details. Don’t put yourself out of the running for a job because you didn’t follow the instructions.

How you follow up your leads and applications depends partly on how you initially contacted the employer as well as your own personal preference. For those who simply hate speaking on the phone, email may be the best method of follow up, but for people who are naturally more confident, the phone may be a good way to showcase your personality.

Following up is very important. Some employers are not going to be in touch as they may have hundreds of other job seekers applying for the same position. But you need to know whether they are going to take your application forwards, and if not, any useful advice they could give you regarding your job search and application.

Follow-up general

  • Use your job log and your record of all of your contacts and job search details to keep a track of which applications you have/haven’t heard back from.
  • Record all telephone and email contacts with dates, numbers, times and outcomes so you can track your efforts and organise any follow-up.
  • If you apply online for a position, you may want to consider following up the online application with a cover letter and CV to the hiring manager via the post. Not many applicants will send a hard copy of their application, so this could widen your chances of standing out.

Follow-up by phone

  • If you are nervous, consider creating a short script about what you want to say, for example how you think you will fit within the role, your knowledge of the company or any additional training you have undertaken that might be of specific value to the job and the company.
  • Keep a copy of your CV nearby in case you need to refer back to anything.
  • Make the phone call from a place where you can talk and not have distractions.
  • Keep your follow up brief, to the point and professional.
  • Be prepared – an employer may decide to use the opportunity for a short screening phone interview.

Follow-up by email

  • Always address your email to the person you sent the application/CV to. If you don’t know their name, address it to ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘To whom it may concern’.
  • Keep your email short and to the point. Simply state your interest in the job and your key qualifications/certification.
  • Be sure to spell check and proof read your email before sending it.
  • As there is no guarantee your email will be read, as part of your research try and get a telephone number so you can follow up with a phone call.
  • Remember to check your emails on a regular basis.

Importance of follow up

Don’t be disheartened. Your follow-up contacts could make you feel discouraged or disappointed if you find out you haven’t been short-listed for an interview. But don’t be, knowing sooner rather than later is better for moving forward with your job search, and a rejection may be what helps you secure a job in the long run! By asking for feedback this might improve your chances for future employment. For example, the person doing the recruiting may say that your application didn’t show enough of the skills they were looking for, or there were stronger applicants. Take this on board and look at ways to better match your skills to the job on offer for next time.


Throughout your job search, however long it takes, remember the three P’s

  • Professional
  • Polite
  • Positive