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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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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

Physical Signs

Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

Mental Signs

One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

  • The tension in your neck
  • Difficulties with sleeping
  • Unable to concentrate
  • High anxiety
  • Depression

If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

Desire for an Increase of Salary

The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

Overnight Decision

Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

Rejected for a Promotion

I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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Bored at Work

Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

  • How long have you worked in your career?
  • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
  • Do you receive recognition?
  • Can you consider working in a new department?

If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

  • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
  • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
  • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

How to Make a Career Change Successfully

The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

1. Write a Career Plan

A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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You can learn how to set your career plan here.

2. Weigh Your Options

If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

  • Economic factors
  • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
  • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
  • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
  • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

    A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

    4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

    A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

    • What is required to be successful in the role?
    • What certification or educational development is needed?
    • What are the challenges of the role?
    • Is there potential for career advancement?

    A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

    Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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    5. Research Salary

    Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

    It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

    6. Be Realistic

    If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

    For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

    Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

    7. Volunteer First

    A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

    Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

    Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

    8. Prepare Your Career Tools

    I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

    • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
    • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
    • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
    • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

    Bottom Line

    It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

    Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

    More About Career Change

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

    [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
    [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
    [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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