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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 May 28, 2020

How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

Learning how to succeed in business used to be a case of being really good at one skill or area and milking it for all its value. Today, we are fast becoming a “skills economy”[1], driving trends in employment and even the way we approach entrepreneurship.

To succeed in today’s business landscape, business owners and executives need to possess a mix of skills that enable them to stay ahead and adapt to change.

1. Digital Savviness

As the adage goes: “If you’re not online, you don’t exist.” Today’s entrepreneurs need to take to the internet to increase their presence and to remain relevant in an evolving business landscape.

Companies like Amazon, Netflix, Airbnb and more are a testament to the disruptive impact of technology and the new image of what it means to be a skilled, successful professional. Think about today’s Mark Zuckerberg versus a banker from the 90s.

Being able to quickly adapt to new technology, like cloud applications and collaborating remotely across the internet, is fast becoming the expected norm for executives.

For businesses, discoverability on the web is becoming a quick litmus test for credibility. Potential customers and investors bank on the first page of Google to make up half their minds about making further transactions with a business. GE Capital Retail Bank found that 81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying[2].

How to Develop This Skill

For a start, begin by hosting your website and reserving all of your brand’s handles across social media platforms. While hiring a web developer might sound like the next step, consider first hosting your company’s site on more user and budget-friendly options like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress.

From here, you can start on some simple search engine optimization techniques that will increase your discoverability over time. Through keyword research, organic content creation, and external back-links, your site will, eventually, slowly but surely garner more traffic.

Note, however, that an increase in search traffic does not immediately imply an increase in revenue. But it’s a start for delving into customer conversion rates in the future.

2. Financial Forecasting

Let’s face it, many business owners feel that time could be better spent on developing and running the business instead of planning for it financially. However, a financial forecast serves as a roadmap for shaping any kind of business and is not just reserved for the likes of listed companies providing financial guidance to shareholders.

Largely, forecasting and planning your financial goals will give you a clearer idea of resources required and ways to measure success. It can also provide assurance to investors as a testament to the thorough research and planning you have done when included in business plans.

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However, inaccurate forecasts can lead to livid investors and mismanagement of expenses, which could potentially result in financial teething problems. When creating a detailed financial forecast, a rule of thumb is to always start with your expenses.

How to Develop This Skill

Generally, it is easier to calculate and predict your expenses compared to your revenue, so noting down your expenses is a starting point to benchmark how much you might need to generate in sales to turn a profit. It is a good habit to regularly update and evaluate how adjacent your operations are to what you have forecasted.

Building a precise set of growth forecasting will take time, but, remember, you are an investor in your own business. You must have confidence in the validity of your business concept.

3. Video Production Skills

The rise of visual mediums and the dopamine boosts it gives to users has long been researched and proven as providing an unfair advantage to businesses that leverage it[3].

If you’re a heavy user of social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and even YouTube, you’ll know that it’s pretty hard to stop once you get started on a binge-watching session.

In fact, video marketing is seeing a non-stop rise in popularity and effectiveness when used in conjunction with social media to drive traffic and boost conversions[4]. According to research, by 2019, 80% of global Internet consumption will be video content[5]. With video marketing becoming more ubiquitous, businesses that fail to leverage the power of video are almost certain to lose out.

How to Develop This Skill

Some ways to get started with using videos for your business would be:

  • Creating a series of educational videos that cover useful information for your audiences
  • Live videos interacting with your community at large (these can be shot on your smart phone)
  • Using videos on landing pages to boost your customer conversions

4. Benchmarking Personal Goals to Business Performance

As far as you get into achieving endeavours on your business bucket list, it’s important to remember that being an entrepreneur is just one facet of your identity. Don’t forget why you started in the first place.

Ambition usually stems from some lifestyle goals you’ve always wanted for yourself and the people you might be providing for today or in the future. Working 24/7 is a surefire route to burnout and may manifest in an unhealthy interaction between partners and employees as well.

How to Develop This Skill

Money can’t be your only motivation, but look into the positives of how having more financial freedom and time can impact your life. In the short term, involving your interests in your businesses can make everyday tasks feel less like mundane errands. In the long run, your business may also bring you fruitful rewards, including personal fulfilment.

Set realistic income goals to manage expectations for your performance and your company’s revenue, especially during its earlier stages. See how projected growth can align with your personal goals and make adjustments accordingly to maintain a balance between growth and your personal values.

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5. Leveraging Healthy Competition

Some of the best athletes who have spent their careers neck-and-neck with each other have changed the standards in their respective sports. The notion of healthy competition applies to the business world more than it may seem on the surface.

Innovation has always been a key driver in free markets, which were intended to boost economies and provide customers with more choices. Just like the biggest sporting rivals that build on each others’ game, you can use your biggest competitors to hone your strategies.

How to Develop This Skill

Turn a competitive market landscape into an advantageous one by leveraging on long-established systems your business proposes an alternative to. Learn from the mistakes of predecessors once you discover their product or service loopholes.

For example, the Dollar Shave Club’s viral video[6] became a big hit because it hit the right buttons of consumers being tired of purchasing expensive but low quality shavers from incumbent retail giants. Going in second meant they could fill a gap competitors might not even have been aware of.

Apart from lifting off from what could have been your second-mover advantage, solidify your place with your business’ own first-mover advantage — whether you’re tapping into a new geographical region, unexplored market sector, or introducing a business model that proves more viable than others. There’s always room for improvement in business from mature markets to newly emerging ones.

6. Honing Pitches to Investors

Stand out in a broad mix of budding entrepreneurs by mastering the art and science behind a solid investor pitch that can determine the acceleration of growth for your business. Get comfortable talking about your ideas and receiving feedback or questions from peers, partners, and advisors before setting out to make a good impression on potential customers and eventually investors.

The phrase “If you can’t convince them, confuse them,” will certainly never get your business funded, especially in front of seasoned venture capitalists who have seen thousands of startup pitches. You should be able to deliver a quick elevator pitch that summarizes your unique proposition and its market viability for casual meet-ups[7] because you sometimes only have a few minutes to make a good impression and move on to another meeting.

How to Develop This Skill

Develop your investor pitch deck by highlighting your business’ strongest points, which will vary for every funding round. Create your deck with the investors’ interests in mind, balancing technical jargon and buzzwords.

You can also introduce your diverse team of experts, some proven traction, or the current state of the market to demonstrate profitability and the attractiveness of the opportunity to investors.

Ensure each slide flows into the other to develop a persuasive narrative, utilizing consistent and intelligent design principles to support your content.

7. Developing a Strong Brand Identity

In a world of saturated content and numerous emerging businesses that offer similar service lines, developing a unique brand identity will help you cut through the noise and stand out from your competition. From aesthetics to the body of clients you’re associated with, these contribute to how you’re perceived by prospects looking to buy.

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Evaluating your brand identity is linked to identifying your target customers, your business goals, a proposed promised land your solution achieves, and identifying values that are aligned to these components. Brand identity serves as a guide to maintaining consistency and creating an image you want your business to be associated with.

How to Develop This Skill

Efforts to strengthen your brand identity are closely tied to giving marketing strategies a direction. By knowing what makes your target customers tick, their values, ideals, and behavior, you will be able to elevate your business from simply being a service or product to be utilized into a projected brand customers and partners would be happy to identify with.

8. Automating to Your Advantage

The need for efficiency is often the general problem new businesses aim to resolve across all markets and industries. Assure that your proposed solution is more efficient than what’s readily available in the market to instill the need for it.

Efficiency is often achieved nowadays through digitalization and new technologies. While your product or service may not necessarily be the most innovative out there, you can apply the same automation concept across your business’ daily operations.

How to Develop This Skill

Shorten turnaround times and conversion rates by investing in small tools for automation where you deem fit. While it may come out of your pocket in the early stages, evaluate the holistic advantages and benefits of automating certain processes. At our office, we’ve tried using collaborative apps like Workplace by Facebook, Slack, Asana and a few other popular apps to reduce human error and friction.

9. Managing Millennials

Your team plays an integral part in whether your business will accelerate at breakneck speeds or be dragged down by dead weight. Hence, it is imperative to be selective and strategic when choosing your team.

In leaner small business teams, the addition of every new teammate can impact how your organization culture evolves.

Today, learning to manage millennials has become an increasingly sought after skill as well due to the increasing proportion of them in the workforce[8]. Some brand them as strawberries that are easily bruised and others loath their need for “meaning” and wearing t-shirts to work.

How to Develop This Skill

Naturally, there are many misconceptions surrounding millennials, and various businesses would do well to leverage their unique skills.

A couple of ways to manage a millennial team include:

Encourage a Flat Team Structure With Open Communication

Maintain clear professional lines between supervisors and subordinates but keep communication channels open to ensure no negativity festers.

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Offer Constructive Feedback

Baby boomers are well known for their straightforward approach to delivering feedback. Millennials, on the other hand, don’t always take feedback in a form that could be construed as deep criticism.

Being constructive with feedback ensures that we don’t coddle millennial workers but also tell them the things they need to hear.

10. Maintaining a Network of Connectivity

Instead of proposing a business that’s ambitiously and entirely disruptive to the supply or process chain in a respective industry, foster connections with other companies that cater to the same target customers as long as they provide a different service.

By creating partnerships, both you and other businesses thrive simultaneously through creative avenues for customers to utilize your products and services for a holistically improved user experience.

Sole market disruption isn’t always the best strategy to take. Not everybody has the opportunity, bandwidth, or financial capacity to dominate and monopolize a marketplace. See your potential for integration into other businesses and services as a good opportunity for co-collaborative marketing efforts with shared campaigns, split costs, and a strengthened customer database for everyone to tap into.

How to Develop This Skill

Regardless of the stage your business is in, never stop looking for ways to expand your network. Keep in contact with mentors you can look to for valuable industry advice that can help you avoid pitfalls and costly mistakes. Strengthen brand awareness by attending cross-industry events and casual meet-ups to open your business to reinvention and innovation.

As the African proverb goes:

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Collaborating will get you where you want to go quicker and gear you up for further growth.

More Tips on How to Succeed in Business

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

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