Creating a 30-60-90-day plan is a fantastic way to stand out from your competition in a hiring process. I’ve seen it help people with less experience (or zero experience) beat out others with substantial experience. I’ve seen it boost the value of job offers for those who bring it. I’ve even seen it help job seekers get offers for bigger titles and more senior roles than what they actually interviewed for. It really is kind of an interview miracle worker.
However (there’s always a catch, right?)…some job seekers have said to me, “I don’t know what you’re talking about…I took a plan and didn’t get the job.”
"How could I possibly know what to put in a plan this early?"
"Don't I need to save that to wow them in my second interview?"
Here's what I say:
It isn't presumptuous...you need to be competitive and stand out.
You have to do some research--but the result is a better, stronger interview.
You may not make it to the second interview if you don't show your best self in the first one.
Jim's story is a great example of this:
I just wanted you to know that yesterday I had a very competitive interview. I completed my 30-60-90 Day Plan and brought it with me.
I was the only candidate who brought a plan
The company typically asks their final candidates to provide their plan AFTER the interviews, to see how quick they can provide them with this data and to see how well organized they are in their approach.
By bringing my plan to the interview, I was the one who received the offer 24 hours later.
Thanks, this was a game changer!
There is no doubt...you MUST bring a 30 60 90 day plan to your first interview.
Have you heard of 30-60-90 Day Plans? Simply put, this kind of plan is an outline of what action steps you plan to take in the first 3 months of your new job. You research and create it before you go to the interview. During the interview, you talk over your plan with the interviewer / hiring manager.
In this post, I’m going to show you 7 reasons you absolutely need to bring your own 30-60-90-day plan to your very next job interview. In fact, my best advice to you is: never go to another interview without one.
When I first mention these plans to job seekers, I say, “Take a plan to your first interview.” You don’t want to take a chance with getting cut from consideration, so bring you’re ‘A’ game from the beginning. The job seeker typically responds with, “How can I make a plan if I don’t know what the job is or if I haven’t worked at that company?”
The answer is, “You have to do some research.” Look up information about the job and the company. Ask your network for help, too. Then put on your critical thinking cap and imagine yourself doing this job. What will you need to do in order to make sure you’re successful?
Let’s look at why this is so important and then how to make it easier.
Here are 7 reasons why this matters so much, and why a 30-60-90-Day Plan will get you hired:
A 30-60-90-Day Plan is the most important tool or document you can bring to an interview (besides your resume). It gives the potential employer a glimpse into the future by outlining how you will approach the most important tasks and action steps of your first 3 months. It lets the hiring manager or interviewer have a ‘test drive’ of what you’d be like in this new job. As a result, it changes the dynamics and scope of your interview in a big, impressive way. It’s the #1 way to improve your interview so you get the offer. I would personally never interview without one.
However—sometimes, people come to me and say, “I brought a plan, but I didn’t get the job.”
My question for them is, “What does your plan look like?”
You can’t just Google ’30 60 90 day plan’ and expect to find a good plan. Not all plans are created equal. I’ve seen plenty of useless (and even damaging) free plans online—some are too short, some are too long, and some don’t focus on the right actions.
In this article, I’m answering the most common questions I get from job seekers about what your 30-60-90-day plan should look like in order to get you the job offer—and I’ll show you where you can get a template that’s proven to be successful in a huge variety of jobs at all levels (entry-level to C-suite).
So…what does a good 30 60 90 day plan look like? How can you write the best plan?
In one minute, I'll give you 9 strong reasons you must have a 30-60-90-day plan for your job interview. (If you're not getting offers, this is what you're missing.) Watch this video:
Warning: You can't just use any old plan and still expect it to deliver these kinds of benefits.
I've had people come to me and say, "Hey, I took a plan and it didn't work." I ask to see their plan and I almost always find that it's super short (ineffective), too long (all about you--not the employer) or some free download they were told was a good plan (it wasn't).
I've seen a lot of free templates that are totally worthless, and I don't want you to be misled into using them.
Have you been a stay at home mom but you're ready to get back into the workforce? Maybe you took time off to be a caregiver for a loved one in ill health.
If it's been a while since you had a full-time job, you've probably been told to brace for a long job search, reset your expectations, and plan on coming back at a lower level than before. Not only do employers assume you're out of touch with current best practices, they're probably discriminating against you because of your age (according to an AARP survey).
This all sounds awful, but the good news is that this doesn't have to be your story. Need proof? Look at what happened to Dereck:
After taking a 5-year career break to look after my children following the death of my wife, I decided...to resume my career...
After having sooooo many job applications ignored or turned down...I finally got invited for an interview. It went dreadfully even though I could have done the job with my eyes closed.
I studied these with interest and did my preparation. Went to the interview with my question list and 306090 day plan, but some of my experience wasn’t broad enough.
Although I was turned down for the job, the interviewing manager recommended me to his directors stating “this was the best prepared candidate I have ever seen and we would be mad to let him go.”
So I was invited back for another interview for a more senior role that didn’t yet exist, and for which they had no other candidates.
This was a unique challenge – but I still did a 306090 day plan for it (based simply on a one-word hint from the recruiting team), extending it to cover tasks in months 4-6 and beyond
Today I was offered this more senior job, on a good salary, with promise of a review after 6 months to increase that further once the role has been properly scoped. I’m defining my own dream job!
And all because your books taught me to be prepared. Thank you so much for all the great advice.
Without a plan, he was totally qualified for the job--but he didn't get it.
WITH a plan, they were so impressed with him that they invited him back to interview for a HIGHER level position they created just for him. It doesn't get any better than that.
What's so special about a plan?
A 30-60-90-day plan is a written outline of your prioritized tasks and goals for the first 3 months on the job. It dramatically illustrates your value and helps you secure the job offer, no matter how long you've been out of the game.
We recognize that creating a plan is harder than it sounds. There are a lot of parts and pieces to it, and you need to know what's really important. You also need to know how to present it most effectively in the interview. For these reasons, we developed plan templates that make it easy for you to create your own customized plan. We included coaching to help you use it to get the job.
Wherever you are in your career, we have a plan for you:
30-60-90-day plans are fantastic for job interviews—no question. I am a big advocate for using these plans to secure job offers. But I do sometimes have job seekers tell me, “Hey, I brought a plan to my interview but I didn’t get the job.”
My first question is always (of course), “Did you use a Career Confidential plan?” Regardless of their response, I ask to see the plan they brought to the interview.
I’ve noticed a few common factors in plans that don’t do well in the interview, and so I wanted to share some key tips to remember when you are writing your plan.
In honor of Veterans Day, I wanted to share this story with you. Many people from the military have trouble transitioning to civilian jobs simply because they don't present or market themselves to private sector employers as well as they need to. In other words, they have the skill sets but they don't effectively communicate them and how they translate.
Michael used a 30-60-90-day plan as a tool to show in the interview how he would tackle the job (in addition to other job search strategies)--and as he said, the result was 'truly magnificent':
Starting a new job can be filled with stress--meeting new people, learning new systems, making sure you're doing the things you need to do in order to be successful.
One of the surest remedies for nerves is preparation. The more prepared you are (for anything), the less stressful it will be. This includes starting a new job and interviewing for it in the first place.
A 30 60 90 day plan is simply an outline of actions and goals that you will take in the first 3 months on that job to be successful.
It can help you get a better job than you might have been able to without that extra effort, and it helps your new employer see you as someone special. Not only does this make you more confident and prepared for interviews, it makes you more confident and prepared for your first day on the job.
I received a great email from Kathy as an example of someone who has put this into practice, and I am excited to share it with you:
We just received this email from Jane. I wanted to share it with you because it goes to show that the most talented and qualified of us can have a lot of trouble landing a new job simply because of how we present ourselves to employers.
Jane had been downsized, was living in an unfamiliar city and 63 years old. She made it to final interviews 6 times and lost every one, which killed her confidence--until she got our 30-60-90-Day Plan and landed a job within 2 weeks:
Pete had a lot of experience and success in his field as a retail store manager. Getting a new job should have been easy—but it wasn’t.
He’d already been to several interviews, so he had his answers down pat. He knew he interviewed well, and he had all that past job success to back him up. He’d get dressed up, drive to find the place, and go in—only to find out that he was competing against 20-30 other people who were just as strong as he was. Not only did he have all that competition, he was a little older, which was working against him. He never got the job.
Maybe you can feel his frustration. Even though companies are hiring, there’s still a lot of competition for the best jobs.
Job search techniques and strategies have changed. Job seekers are more sophisticated about how they prepare for interviews, and they are more mobile than they used to be. Many people are ready to pick up and move for the right position.
Pete knew he had to do something different so that he could get hired, but what? He decided to showcase how he would approach the job by creating a 30-60-90-Day Plan.
I often get asked if 30-60-90-Day Plans work for teachers in a job interview. These plans are famous for sales job interviews and are being used with extreme success in other white-collar jobs and executive roles. They show hiring managers that you are someone who approaches a task or job with strategic planning and smart goal-setting. You are someone who will be successful in the role.
So can this same approach work if you are interviewing to be a teacher? I have to say that they do (I think they help you even more if you are in educational administration). What administrator wouldn’t be impressed with someone who had clearly thought out how they would approach that role and ensure their success in the first 3 months on the job?
Think about it this way. You set up lesson plans for your students so you make sure that what needs to happen will happen, right? Well, you also need to create a plan to make sure you do all the things that will make you a successful professional in your role.
So now here’s the question: what kinds of things belong in a 30 60 90 Day Plan for teachers?