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7 Productive Ways to Organize Your Job Search Activities Daily

7 Productive Ways to Organize Your Job Search Activities Daily

Have you ever dreamed something like this? You come to the end of your job search commitment for the day. You look back on your planned tasks, you accomplished them, and tracked them. You focused on your goals, and your efforts paid off. If so, then please believe, this dream can become your reality with an organizational system in place. First, you must realize the importance of self-management.

Self-management skills assist you in making the best use of your time while job hunting. David Allen, author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, provides a description of self-management:

“The savvy know self-management is really an issue of what we do with ourselves during the time we have. Self-management needs to encompass managing our thoughts and emotions, and dealing effectively with our work, family and community relationships. It’s about gaining dynamic balance of control and perspective to achieve more successful outcomes and feel more relaxed along the way.”

You must manage yourself to manage a lengthy job search. So, if you’re interested in improving your habits to organize your job search, then consider the 7 tips below.

1. Plan and Determine Your Day’s Objectives

The primary goal in your job search is to land a suitable job as quickly as possible. For this to happen, you must dedicate time to every part of an effective job search process: finding jobs, applying for jobs, preparing for interviews, following up, and moving on, whether you get a job offer or not.

The activities involve everything from looking for targeted companies and their available positions to preparing and submitting your resumes and cover letters.

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To avoid getting overwhelmed, break down these activities into manageable daily tasks. Focus on what you can do today and determine your objectives. When you organize your job search, sample daily goals might include:

  • Identifying 3 Companies of Interest
  • Researching and Studying These Companies for Insight
  • Searching for Suitable Positions

2. Keep a Job Search Reminder List and Track Accomplishments

It’s helpful to determine your objectives for the day, as discussed previously. Once you’ve done this, you can use a reminder list to aid you in concentrating on what you need to do. A to-do list (or reminder list for memory purposes) involves identifying concrete things you want to complete by the end of today’s job search. You can do this through hand writing or streamlining with digital apps.

What matters most; however, is simplification. You shouldn’t over commit. Start with 3-5 items and prioritize each item by urgency and importance. From there, you can focus on tackling the urgent item first, thereby eliminating distractions. By checking off the tasks you complete daily, you track your accomplishments and progress.

3. Build a Schedule around Your ‘Peak’ Time

Taking action moves your job search forward. Meanwhile, a schedule helps you accomplish your daily objectives. Don’t hesitate to decide on which part of your day you’ll commit to job searching (mornings or evenings, for instance). However, before committing, you might find it helpful to know your ‘peak’ time, or the part of the day you’ll have the most energy to engage in your job search activities.

Daniel Gold suggests several strategies for figuring out your most productive time, which includes evaluating your feelings. He says:

“Write down how you spent your minutes and keep notes on how you felt. Be honest. Sometimes you can identify that you feel ‘on a roll,’ which is a good sign that you’re figuring out something about your productivity.”

You should test different scheduling systems to see which one works for you. Additionally, you should schedule with flexibility. Things don’t always happen as planned, for various reasons, so it’s helpful to prepare for them.

4. Store Your Information Together for Accessibility

If, at some point, you received a call to interview but didn’t remember the company or position you applied for, then you’ll enjoy the benefit of tracking and storing this type of information.

Rich DeMatteo, founder of Corn On The Cob, suggests a spreadsheet tracking the following job information:

  • Company and Contact Name
  • Submittal Date
  • Skills Required for the Job
  • Any and All Words on the Job Description That Match Your Wish List
  • Steps Reached in Hiring Process (Waiting, Never Heard Back, Phone Screen Completed or Scheduled, Interview Completed or Scheduled, and Rejected)

I’d also add tracking your company log-in information. 75% of larger companies use Applicant Tracking Systems. These software application systems require signing up with usernames and passwords. For this reason, I advise you to store them for accessibility as well.

If you prefer, there are a few alternatives to a spreadsheet, like a designated notebook, a Google document, or a digital tool. It’s your choice. Your tracking tool of choice; however, must be available to you for updates and reviews as you continue your job search.

5. Watch Out for (Fear-Related) Procrastination

While embarking on a lengthy job search, you’ll likely experience procrastination. This affects your ability to accomplish the tasks you need to complete in order to move ahead. You know you’re scheduled to do these things, but you find yourself doing something else instead. In most cases, fear comes in and leads to procrastination.

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It’s important to push through procrastination and get things done. Overcoming procrastination isn’t easy, especially when your fears result from constant job search disappointments.

However, if you’re interested in taking action, you should consider the following tips:

  • Identify Your Fears. You won’t become a victim of your fears when you recognize them.
  • Plan Your Daily Tasks. Planning your tasks (as discussed above) helps you fight against procrastination.
  • Take Action. You don’t want to plan so much that you never take action. It’s important to just get started. For starters, commit to 10 minutes of activity, without distraction, and see how much you get done.

6. Withdraw From Your Tasks for Refreshment

You want to get back into the workforce as quickly as possible. There’s no way you can withdraw from your tasks for refreshment, right?

This was my thought upon joining the ranks of the unemployed. However, the truth is: while it’s seems counterproductive, taking well-planned breaks are beneficial for your health and well-being.

Finding a job is work, and breaks are just as important for job seekers as they are for those in the working world. They prevent burnout, frustration, and stress. You can work for 52 minutes or 90 minutes, before breaking for 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes. You’ll know how much time you need for unplugging.

Upon determining your break periods, you can use them for:

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  • Eating
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Exercising
  • Napping
  • Reflecting
  • Socializing

Whatever you do, stay away from job hunting during your breaks, so you can recharge. The point of breaking is to focus on something different from the task at hand.

7. Establish and Maintain Boundaries

You shouldn’t hesitate to establish and maintain boundaries when organizing your job search. Your job search will consume you when you don’t set limits. Don’t forget: there’s more to your life than looking for a job. You must know how much is enough. You must know when to shut your job hunt down every day, so you don’t work from a place of overload.

Why? Because the process of finding a job drains your energy quickly. There’s only so much time you can work efficiently, before becoming exhausted. This is why establishing boundaries is important. They help to maintain a healthy balance between job search and life. They also free you for engagement in other productive activities, such as skill-building.

Will You Organize Your Job Search Activities Daily?

Hopefully, at the end of this article, you can see the benefits of organizing your job search. This process involves many activities and tasks, so organization is vital. It helps you plan, schedule, and complete your objectives. It also helps you store your information and balance everything daily.

Analyze these tips and see whether or not they’ll work for you. If not, then make it a priority to find an organizational system useful for you – and stick with it.

Featured photo credit: Alejandro Escamilla via unsplash.com

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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