Like it or not, job hunting in the 21st Century is very much a full-time job. And like any job, it involves proper planning and organisation of time and resources.
You need to make sure your efforts are being mirrored in the results you see, which means having a system in place to allow you to understand what’s working and what isn’t. Here are our top 10 tips for a systematic, successful search:
1. Take some time out
Start by giving yourself 24 hours off from your search to create some space in your head to start organising yourself. A small time investment now could save you hours in the long-run.
2. Create a workspace
Having cleared some space in the temporal sense, set aside a room or desk that’s clear and clutter-free. Doing this will automatically make you feel more focused.
3. Clarify your goals
Draw up a list of your main goals: what kind of position do you want, when do you want it by and what salary are you willing to accept? Then have an alternative plan in place for each of the above.
4. Have a set schedule
It’s been said that the difference between a dream and a goal is a deadline. Commit a certain period of each day to working on your applications and stick rigidly to this.
5. Sharpen your search materials
You need to be ready to roll with your application at short notice. This means maintaining an up-to-date CV and cover letter template as well as keeping your professional profile ticking over on sites such as LinkedIn.
6. Soup-up your inbox
The email account is the jobseeker’s command HQ. Sorting your emails into different categories – jobs applied to; open positions etc. – will help you stay on top of things.
7. Create a system
Alongside this, you’ll need a tracking system that lets you know where you are with each application at quick glance. It needn’t be an elaborate spreadsheet, but should have all the information you need clearly laid-out.
8. Then use it
The best data management system in the world is no use to you unless you keep it regularly updated. Make sure your version includes a ‘next step’ section to encourage you to follow up on any developments.
9. Map your networking
Monitoring your informal job enquiries is no less important. Stop trails from going cold by keeping a note of any meetings or encounters you have while setting reminders for when to follow up.
10. Review your progress
Taking stock of your search is more important now than ever. Review what’s been working well and what hasn’t. Then decide how you’re going to improve things.
Job hunting can be a relatively painless business or it can be a long, hard slog. While there are usually a number of factors involved, often some simple organisation and forward planning can prove the difference.