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.
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.
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:
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