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Land Your Dream Job in 10 Weeks Using These 5 Free Tools

Land Your Dream Job in 10 Weeks Using These 5 Free Tools

Do you remember how you got your first job? For many it was as simple as applying online, waiting anxiously for an interview, attending a successful though awkward meeting, and finally landing an offer. This is the ideal scenario for the nearly two million hopeful and hungry students that will graduate in 2016, and the data suggests it *should* be that easy.

These students will, after all, graduate into one the strongest job markets the United States has seen in recent years. Unemployment for college educated workers over 25 is hovering around 2.4% nationally and in a recent study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 37% of employers say they plan to pay 2016’s graduates more than they paid 2015’s graduates.

A survey conducted with the help of Linkedin found that companies hired three times as many job seekers that came from network referrals than those who simply applied. These findings shouldn’t shock anyone since job hunting has been about relationships for decades now. However, it should be a reminder of the importance of networking. Luckily, in the digital age networking is no longer confined to stuffy events and family introductions. Job seekers can, and must, use tools like Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, and even Meetup Groups to help them expand their networks.

Julia’s success story

Julia Clark, an account executive at a reputable marketing firm in New York City, knows how to play the digital networking game. She had worked hard to find post graduation employment.

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“Everyone, and I mean everyone, wants to hire someone they either know or gets referred to them.” says Julia. “Out of the 100 or so applications I submitted to companies, I imagine about 5 were actually read.”

“Four months ago I didn’t know a single person in New York’s marketing world. Now I have dozens of contacts, one of which helped me land my first gig.” says Julia. She was able to network into a job that seemed untouchable in just 10 weeks. She did so by making use of 5 tools that helped her find, engage, and keep track of networking opportunities that she then leveraged into interviews and multiple job offers. Simply applying and hoping for the best is no longer enough to land a job. You must go out and get the job that you want.

We’re going to show you how Julia was able to use five tools to create a professional network from scratch and go get the job she wanted in just 10 weeks.

The process

Julia had been using job boards for months, but she had simply been applying for jobs and then waiting to hear back. She quickly realized that this tactic wasn’t going to yield her the results that she wanted because her resume simply wasn’t being viewed by hiring managers. So instead of just going to job boards, Julia made a list of the top 100 companies she wanted to work for and decided to go after the job she wanted instead of just waiting for someone to discover her resume and decide to give her a call.

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Julia devised a strategy to apply to, and then cold email the companies that she most wanted to work for. Companies often don’t put up job postings until late in their search if ever. So by reaching out to companies regardless of if they have job postings currently will allow you to jump into an “invisible job board”.

You can also make a list of ideal companies that you’d like to work for. You should ask yourself important questions about what you want out of your job, where you see your career going, and what type of company you see yourself working for. From there find 25 – 100 companies that you most want to work for using Linkedin and other company aggregation sites. Your list should include dream companies that you’d love to work for and “safe” pics that you would still be happy with.

Research your list and find your prospective team members

Once you’ve nailed down your list, you need to settle in and do some research on these companies.

First, figure what companies on your list are hiring. Use websites like newyorkjobs.com to figure out if your target companies are hiring for the position you’d like in New York. As you’ll see in the following steps, you won’t simply be cold applying, but if a company is hiring you will want to pair your application with a email outreach. Often companies that have job listings are the ones most in need of immediate help. You can prioritize companies that you’d like to reach out to according to who has a job currently listed.

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Secondly, you’ll want to figure out who works in the department you would like to work in. Instead of contacting HR, you should contact your prospective team members because at the end of the day, it is the team that decides who gets the job. If the team recommends someone for interview, you can be sure that person is going to get an interview. Your ideal prospects will be people that you have some sort of connection with. Whether that be a mutual friend or a school affiliation, mentioning these types of commonalities can be immensely helpful.

Third, reach out! Depending on whether or not the company is currently hiring, you should reach out and either let them know that you applied, or ask if they are looking for additional help.

The idea behind reaching out after you’ve applied is to give them a reason to check out your resume and have a 15 minute chat. You don’t need to get a job offer right then, you just need a foot in the door.

If you have a connection with someone at the company, reach out to them and request a introduction. If you don’t have a connection with someone at the company, still reach out, but try to find a commonality like the school you went to, the groups you may be apart of, previous companies, or even just being from the same city. Any commonalities will help you distinguish yourself from the wealth of other emails your prospect is likely receiving.

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Fourth, don’t forget to follow up! Your follow up is crucial because more likely than not, your initial email will fall on deaf ears and not get any response. Hiring managers are extremely busy, and forgetful people. Chances are that the you didn’t get a response simply because your prospect has forgotten about your email. So sending them a helpful reminder after a week or so gives them a second chance to look over your email and your resume.

Fifth, track your outreach efforts and job hunting workflow. Staying organized with your job search with a tool like Trello will help you ensure that you’re contacting, and following up with the companies or your radar at the appropriate time.

What was her tool stack?

After just a few weeks using these cold emailing tactics to reach out to companies, Julia was able to secure more than 10 phone conversations with managers in her industry and was able to turn them into interviews, and finally land her dream job. She used a variety of tools to help her reach out to hiring managers.

  1. Linkedin
    If you don’t have a Linkedin account, get up from under that rock you’ve been sleeping and go make an account. Your profile doesn’t need to be over the top, but it should give readers a good idea as to who you are, the things you’ve accomplished, and what you’re looking for. Check out a few good online guides to creating a rock star Linkedin profile.
  2. Email Hunter
    This handy little tool will help you to find the email addresses of people at your target companies. Make the most of this information in your job hunting strategy.
  3. Rapportive
    This is a great tool that will help you find social information of your perspective coworkers and also helps you verify if a email address is accurate.
  4. ReplyUp
    ReplyUp is one of my favorite free tools currently available. This tool let’s you create automated follow up sequences so you can remember to reach back out when people don’t reply to your emails.
  5. Trello
    Trello will help you keep track of your networking and job interview status.

Featured photo credit: Jacob Lund via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

Reference

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