When you’re holding a job and looking for a job at the same time, you can feel stretched to your limits. Even if you’re not currently employed, the time you have can quickly disappear, never to be recaptured. That’s where time management comes in. Time management will help job seekers like you focus on your research, resume, and other job search tasks. If you need help with time management to search for a job, these tips will set you on the right path.
Define Your Job Search Goals
A great place to start your job search is by setting goals. Setting goals can make time work in your favor. When do you want or need to get hired? How can you work toward that date? Is your resume and LinkedIn profile current? Are you changing careers? Write down where you want to be hired and how you can get there.
Schedule Time for Tasks
The most effective way to manage your job search is to schedule time for it. Find a time or times that will allow you to focus on the tasks you need to complete. Instead of getting up in the morning and looking at social media, schedule time to research companies and available positions. Not a morning person? Give yourself the morning time as “me time” and schedule your job hunt time for evening, before supper, so life and friends have less chance to interrupt your work.
A good rule of thumb is to schedule a reasonable amount of time each week to work on your resume, apply for jobs, and prepare for interviews. It’s like making the job search your job—plan your time, protect that time, and produce as much as you can in that time. For those who are employed, that may be two or three hours per week. For someone with more time, that could mean devoting four hours a day, every day, to the tasks until you find a job. Set a schedule and do your best to stick to it so you can find a better job fast.
Set a Timer and Sprint!
Got 15 minutes between work and the gym? Set a timer and sprint through something on your to do list. You could be answering emails, researching employers, sending a follow-up to a friend about your job search, or touching base with a recruiter. Maybe you could even focus on improving one section of your resume in that short time frame. Or, make a list of job search tasks as you cool down on the treadmill. You’d be surprised what you can accomplish when you set a timer for yourself! Another quick task to tackle is to review your social media to make sure you look employer friendly.
Hand Off to a Friend
Are you stuck on a certain task, like writing a cover letter or revising your resume? These are tasks you could hand off to a friend for advice and assistance. If you know someone who has a way with words, see if they can help you overcome your writers’ block. Perhaps you would like to enhance your LinkedIn profile. Again, you might ask a friend or colleague who has an impressive profile for suggestions. Take them out to coffee, and they might just jump right into helping you plug in some enticing new details.
Make Time for Rest
Throughout your job search, be sure to get the sleep you need. Lack of sleep can affect your attitude and appearance in ways that potential employers notice. If you’re extra stressed, manage that stress by creating time for yourself away from the job search. Even one minute of mindfulness can help release stress. Finally, do your best to go to bed and get up at regular times so you can better manage all of your time — not just job search time!
Getting organized and maintaining a tracking system can save you a lot of time when you’re looking for a new job. Set up folders for your job application materials, and name them consistently so you can easily find documents, such as cover letters and resumes. Depending on how many applications you are completing, you may want to create a tracking sheet so you can easily see when you applied, sent a follow-up letter, talked to a contact, and received a rejection or offer.
Set yourself up for job search success by planning your time effectively. You’ll be less stressed, more confident in your application materials, and better rested when employers request interviews.
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