A client recently asked me, “how do I plan my days so that I’m more productive and more motivated with my job search?” Sound familiar? This can be especially challenging if you have a lot of available time. I suggested the following seven strategies to help structure her week and to move forward with her career goals.
Try time blocking.
A seasoned manager suggested this method, and I’ve been using it ever since. You schedule or “block” time on your calendar for specific activities, which holds you accountable to doing these activities. As a business owner, I might block time for networking, preparing for a client meeting, or administrative tasks. For the job searcher, this might include working on your resume, submitting applications, or making follow-up calls. Whatever the activity, the time is protected on your calendar, and you can schedule other events around these blocks.
Set measurable goals.
If your goal is to get a job in three months, what steps do you need take to reach that goal? You need to get interviews first (and offers), so break that sub-goal into smaller steps. For example, you could set a daily goal for making five new connections to expand your network. This is easy to do on LinkedIn, but you can also reach to contacts via phone, e-mail, or other forms of social media. Another daily goal might be researching or applying to three new, targeted jobs that would be a good fit. It helps to measure your job search activities, so that you can track their effectiveness.
Find an organization system that works for you.
There are many details with the job search, and you don’t want to miss opportunities. I have an Excel spreadsheet that I share with clients which includes columns for company, contact, date applied, date followed-up, etc… Another option is to use an app like Huntr for tracking and organizing job prospects. It’s like a CRM for your job search and gives you access to millions of jobs sourced directly from employer websites. Whatever system you choose, make sure you use it daily to stay on top of tasks and communications with employers.
Create a separate e-mail address.
A client missed a job opportunity that he was really excited about because some e-mail messages went to his spam folder. A job search best practice is to create a separate e-mail to avoid something like this happening. You don’t want to sift through all of your friend, family, and merchant e-mails to find when your next interview is scheduled! Another benefit is that you can incorporate your personal brand into your new e-mail address and signature allowing you to stand out from other applicants. Make sure to setup notifications and mobile access for this new e-mail account.
Register to attend virtual and in person events… and webinars.
Seeing these events on your calendar will help you stay motivated while building your network and developing new skills. Attend professional association events. Depending on the group and your comfort level, some are being offered virtual while some have returned to in person. You’ll meet new contacts, learn more about your industry, and become involved. You can also fill your calendar by registering for free webinars that improve your job search skills. There’s free content available online on anything from LinkedIn tips, to resume writing, to interviewing, and more.
Designate a dedicated space and create boundaries.
Whether it is a desk in your living room or a home office, make sure that you have a dedicated space to work on your job search activities. Likewise, if you live with others, create boundaries so that you can be efficient when you are working on your search. Looking for a job is a job, and your roommates or family members need to respect that. Whether that means hanging a sign on the door or scheduling phone calls and meetings when no one is home, minimize distractions so that you can stay focused on your goals.
Join a job search support group or find an accountability partner.
Look for a job support or career transition group that meets locally or virtually. These ministry oriented groups are often affiliated with a church, so research your local community to find them. There are also social media groups that you can join for support and advice. Do you have a friend or colleague also going through the job search? Agree to meet weekly to check-in on job search activities and to keep each other motivated. Clients often enlist the help of my services because they need someone to hold them accountable to achieving their career goals.
If you’re interested in learning more about how a career coach can help you with accountability, schedule a free discovery call with me. Best wishes for a productive and healthy holiday season and new year filled with many opportunities!