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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 14, 2019

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

Regardless of whether you hold an entry-level administration role or regularly travel to the ends of the Earth as a hot-shot senior executive, you can still find yourself harboring an emptiness… a feeling that something is missing. A popular assumption that experiencing job satisfaction and a successful career should be underpinned by a well-rounded suite of tangible benefits, no longer holds true for many of us.

We’d never deny health care benefits, appropriate and fair remuneration, bonuses and travel perks in a job package. However, even if served to us on a silver platter, those features can only satiate us to a certain point.

You might wonder what governs entrepreneurs and start-up business owners to quit their lucrative jobs, essentially look the gift horse in the mouth and kiss such benefits goodbye! There can be an irresistible pull to mastermind a business with products and/or services that serve the greater good of community wider than that constituting their daily existence.

Even with research showing entrepreneurship to pose greater threats to their mental and physical health, this unique breed of individuals choose to go against the grain in chasing their dreams of being their own boss. Why? Why would anyone risk this type of career suicide?

Whether you’re an employee, have recently taken the leap to being a business owner or been in business for a while, the commonality is a congenital condition we all share as human beings; to feel a sense of purpose, value and contribution to our community. Despite it being harder to find this for ourselves in today’s world, these approaches will help you achieve ultimate satisfaction through the twists, turns and joyrides that are essential features of shaping a successful career.

1. Search for Opportunities That Feed Your Passion, Not Temporary Excitement

Even though well-intended, the ‘feel good now’ compass that career coaches and consultants often recommend you use to create career satisfaction can actually do you more harm than good. Excitement is transient. It doesn’t last. Passion is the compass you need.

Passion and excitement are two different things. The resounding career legacy that still draws you to turn up on the job regardless of the sunshine or storm that awaits you…that’s passion. It’s like a mental and/or emotional itch you can’t shrug off. Staying attuned to that calling will breed success for you sooner or later. Patience is key.

You’re also likely to have more than one key passion. Beware of getting caught in the notion you have to find your one true purpose. In fact, run immediately from any coach who tells you there is only one. There isn’t.

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Your passion is a journey that can take multiple forms so forget thinking there is the single dream job out there that will give you satisfaction in every way you can imagine. It simply doesn’t exist.

Consider embracing different roles and projects to help you fuel your passion or fuel your pursuits in finding it. Job satisfaction and your career success will be all the more sweeter from a wider range of enriching experiences.

2. Don’t Position Job and Career Satisfaction Assessments as Pivotal Guides to Your Success

Despite their popular use for vocational guidance, assessment tools such as Gallup’s Clifton Strengths and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator have come under fire[1] as being limited to the amount of true value and direction they can offer partakers.[2] These and many other guidance assessment tools (e.g. VIA Character Strengths , DISC ) are self-report questionnaires that don’t have normative population data against which to compare your results.

Simply remember these tools help you develop a stronger sense of what you identify as strengths and weaknesses within yourself, not in comparison with other people. They will still add insight around what sorts of career opportunities, tasks and projects are going to light your fire, what ones are going to extinguish it and what will prod and keep the coals steadily smoldering.

3. Be Clear on Your Personal Values, Ethics and Principles and Choose Relationships That Support You Honoring Them

Teamwork, collaboration, open communication and trust are commonplace for any flourishing work environment. However, whether or not your personal values can be honored in your work can make or break your job satisfaction.

How committed do you want to be to an organization that expects an average of 10 unpaid overtime hours every week under the guise of ‘reasonable overtime’? Are you willing to accept their construing this expectation as ‘strong commitment’ at the expense of your partner and children waiting at home for you? What are your boundaries concerning when you clock on to their time and when you clock off to yours?

Being very in tune with what your personal values, principles and ethics are will bid you well in the job satisfaction stakes. Spending time to reflect on experiences and working relationships you’ve had – the good, the bad and the ugly – will help you make well-informed searches and grounded decisions that will propel your career success.

Finding and nurturing relationships with associates and colleagues who share similar values doesn’t just make your day-to-day pursuits more enjoyable. You become fortunate to work with like-minded people who will support, understand and appreciate you like a second family.

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Being able to honor your personal values in your work means you will still be able to sleep at night when you have to tread where others fear to, and make extremely difficult decisions others would never ever dream of having to make as you forge success in your career.

4. Be Clear on Your Own Definition of What Having a Successful Career Means for You

It’s tempting to get caught up in the ideals and projections of success expressed by those we love, admire and respect. Underneath, we all want on some level to belong to a successful club of some sort.

With research reporting how much money we feel we need to be truly happy,[3] many of us try to subscribe to the notion that having the car of our dreams or taking a European holiday annually will not bring us happiness. The truth, however, for many of us is these tangible rewards are congratulatory reminders of our persistent efforts to chase our career pursuits.

If those are things you aspire to, don’t let anyone steal your desire and want to feel deserving of these things, that those are some parameters by which you define your career success.

Despite consistently being the top revenue earner for two years running, you may not wish to become the sales manager. You may not wish to step out into running your own business even though you consistently excel as an employee, delighting clients and repeatedly receiving glowing testimonials.

Your definition of career success might be enjoying the predictability of a regular workplace routine. You get to leave – without feeling guilty – at the same time each day, love the people you work with and get to spend a good, uninterrupted amount of work-stress free quality time with your family. That picture is also blissful job satisfaction and complete career success.

5. Identify the Sorts of Challenges and Problems You Want to Learn to Overcome

Standard advice you might receive from a career coach might be to look for opportunities where you get to capitalize on exercising your strengths and career-related activities you enjoy.

However, to become a success at anything involves improvement. To excel at anything often involves stepping outside boundaries and comfort zones where others wouldn’t. This means dedicating focus and attention to things you’re not so good at and things you don’t like.

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Here’s where working with a coach can be particularly helpful. Map out the experiences that were unsavory in your working history. Were there challenges you opted out of, projects you failed at or toxic relationships that blasted your sense of purpose and self-worth into oblivion? It’s within these experiences that you might just find the most valuable lessons and guiding lights for your trajectory to achieve greater job satisfaction.

If your natural leadership style is to be a collaborator, finding opportunities that require you to apply a more dictatorial style might be needed. Discussing a secondment or short-term project where you get to develop and test your skills can be a step further in earning contention to lead a larger project down the track.

With several of the company’s boldest personality types penciled to roll out the operation, you’ll not only develop skills that earn your right to throw your hat in the ring; those key players have an opportunity to see your competence. You can then work on building relationships with those stakeholders before you need to hit the ground running should you win the lead.

Greater job satisfaction comes with planning and choosing the lessons and opportunities you want to learn, not desperately flailing, floundering and hoping for the best.

6. Keep Reviewing Your Goal Posts and Be Amenable to Change

The word ‘career’ is indicative of a longer-term pathway of change, growth and development. The journey is dynamic.

You will accumulate new skills and let those you no longer need, become rusty. Your intrigue will be stimulated by new experiences, knowledge and people you meet. Your thinking will continue to expand, not shrink. As a result, your goalposts are likely to change.

A major part of enjoying a successful career is not just setting goals effectively, but regularly reviewing and readjusting them where necessary. However, moving the posts or the target still needs to take place by applying the same processes by which you originally created them. The strength of your emotional connection to those revised goals needs to be the same, if not stronger.

By asking yourself the following questions, you can assure your developmental and growth trajectory is still on course:

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  • Would working toward these goals still allow me to honor my personal values, principles and ethics at the same capacity if not greater?
  • Do the activities I need to undertake to meet these goals honor my highest priorities?
  • Does this feel right for me and those who are nearest and dearest to me?
  • Is this aligned with my passion?
  • Is chasing this goal a right step for me to take now or is this a detour or distraction which could delay my greater plan?

Each of your career goals should have different review periods. Whatever you do, stick to the review schedule you set. It will not only keep you focused but help you see your progress (or lack thereof) and allow you to timely re-chart your course before you get too far down the track. You don’t want to waste time haphazardly heading in the wrong direction.

7. Be Prepared to Let Go

It can be unfathomable to us as to why others risk leaping into the unknown when everything truly appears fine and dandy in the career realm. The company provided stability, recognition, financial success, interesting projects and the promise of a promotion…what was wrong? Why now jump sideways to run a café or train in another field altogether?

Nothing may have been wrong at all. It was all going right. It was just the end of a chapter. Perhaps the yearning for the next step is actually taking a different trajectory entirely. You may want to simply experience a different rhythm. Perhaps it’s time to pursue a different passion.

If you have leaped from employee-land to freelancing or have made the reverse-jump (or you know someone who has), you will have quickly grown a different appreciation for pros and cons each work lifestyle brings. Working for yourself can bring the greater realization of your creativity, whether or not it can be monetized to earn you a living.

When your customers are buying you or a product you designed and fashioned, there is a direct level of appreciation and gratitude that can elevate your confidence in the way you have never experienced as an employee, regardless of your rank.

Similarly, there are times where we need to recognize our business ventures were adventures, not long-term life-changing empires. There are times we need to recognize that time is what provides the clearest limitation of how long we persist for in such pursuits.

We have to recognize the absence of enough financial, mental, emotional and physical breadcrumbs that tells us we’re no longer meant to push in that direction. At least, not for the present time.

The Bottom Line

Above all, keep the momentum. As long as you remain committed to pursuing work opportunities that allow you to honor your highest priorities, the truth of who you are and what you stand for, achieving ultimate job satisfaction and a successful career will never be too far away.

More Resources to Help Advance Your Career

Featured photo credit: Csaba Balazs via unsplash.com

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