Do you want a new job but can’t ever quite find the time to actually sink your teeth into looking? That’s a common position to be in.
Setting time aside to complete a job search is important, and yet, we don’t tend to take the job search seriously until we really need to. Purposefully making time to research, learn something new or submit applications is extremely important and not best left for when you are in a hurry.
Instead of using the “I’ll get to it in my spare time” approach, here are some tips you can implement to take charge of your time — ultimately increasing the number of jobs you can apply for and the quality of what you’re submitting.
- Make a list of priorities. Start writing down all the things you’re doing and then rank them by how urgent and important they are to you. Consider how big of a leap you’re trying to make. If the priority you’ve listed is urgent or related to a large leap you plan to make, dedicate more time to accomplish it.
- Pair your social activities with things that are aligned with your job search. Look for networking events that incorporate what you might need to learn, or get together with people who you’ll need to meet to help you land your next position.
- Build in processes and systems. Make it a habit to scan LinkedIn for just a few minutes every morning before getting started on other things. Look for potential connections, interactions and new businesses to follow. Add 20 minutes to each day to catch up on news that is relevant to the type of career you’re interested in.
- Create a clear action plan for your search up front that starts with getting your resume to its maximum potential, as well as your LinkedIn profile. When your resume is at its best, you can focus on the activities that actually lead to interviews like searching, applying and networking. If you find yourself doing a major overhaul of your resume every time you apply, you’re wasting a lot of time. Take this as an indicator that you should spend some extra time optimizing it before submitting another application.
- Track your actions. While this may seem like a waste of time, keeping track of your actions and outcomes can actually help you to stay motivated and give you a better understanding of what is working for you and what isn’t. For instance, in many cases, a person will say to themselves, “I’ll aim for applying to five jobs a month” but actually only think about applying to five jobs and actually apply to fewer. By tracking each step in your process, you can easily see when you should follow up rather than wasting time searching your email to see when and where you applied.
An added bonus: when you put time aside to focus on your job search, you’ll also save money. Typically when we go out to socialize we spend extra money on food, drinks and entertainment. Just opting to stay in can help you put that money into savings. This is a lesson I wish I had learned sooner.
When you’re searching for a job your sense of urgency and anxiety are directly related to how much funding you have to live off of. If you want to stress less and take control over your jobs search taking on a frugal strategy can help.
More on ways to save during the job search another time.
Laura Thorne is an organizational improvement consultant. She specializes in helping business owners and individuals to be more effective. Laura has over 25 years of professional experience and has had opportunities to work with some of the best and worst performing organizations.
I heard a quote once: “The best time to look for a job is before you need one.” I would reinterpret that to say that you must take responsibility for developing marketable job skills. Too many people look to their employer to provide career guidance. This is a mistake. You need to look at the job market and ask yourself, “What kind of talent are companies recruiting?” Also, monitor trends in the job market. And finally, don’t forget that entrepreneurship is a viable option if you are prepared to ride out the startup years.