There are three important tenant to an effort, generally speaking. The Idea, The Marketing, and Management. Perhaps you’ve already crafted a good idea or vision of what you want in an internship or career. If you haven’t, the Career Center is available to help you create one. The idea is essential, as it gives you direction and something to aim toward. How do you implement “the idea“, though?

Marketing is making people aware of what your intentions are. This includes the resume, cover letter, and networking. When you meet with people, have a clear pitch of what you are looking to do. That doesn’t need to be pursuing a job or internship, by the way. Some people network to discover career paths, learn more, partner with someone on a venture, or countless other reasons. Consider that when crafting your pitch. Having an articulate vision of your needs and wants will help the people in your network help you in the most efficient way possible.

So, you’ve got a pitch. The resume is perfect. You can draft up a targeted, poignant cover letter with ease. How do you connect to the opportunities?

Management is how ideas become reality. You need to manage your job search tightly. Be aware of deadlines. Know that deadlines are not due dates – you should apply early and often to things you qualify for. You need to keep track of who you are sending what. Track conversations you have. Plan follow ups. You need to think of your network as client base, your job search as a product, and you as the salesperson. The salesperson’s job is to connect a product to consumer. In your case, connect your qualifications and interests to the job opportunity.

Sacrifice one of these and your career search takes a big hit. You can have a sleek looking resume, but with no idea of what you want to do how can you target the right opportunities? You can be on top of all the deadlines, manage your outreach, have a clear vision of your goals, but without well crafted “marketing” you’ll never get discovered. And of course, when you sync up your idea and marketing, you’ll never keep up with your network and make the deadlines without careful management.

Given the nature of recruiting cycles, you might be waiting for more opportunities to be posted. Late fall can be pretty quiet with opportunities in government, non-profit, research, etc. which tend to post in February or March. So, now is the time to work on “The Idea” and “The Marketing” part of your product. If you are in the thick of finance and consulting, which have most of their deadlines in the fall, you likely have the idea and marketing ready. Make sure you are managing the process efficiently.

The bottom line is there is always something you can be doing for your career search, even when things seem slow.