How many of you think: “It’s like a full-time job looking for a job!” Is everyone’s hand up? I know mine is. Time management can play a huge role when it comes to looking for work. To make time for your job search, you have to shift things around a bit, make room on your plate.
Hitting up the sites to find job listings, scanning each job ad, and then, of course, applying all take a lot of time. So here are my suggestions for how to manage your time to make room for your job search.
Automate What You Can
I’m a big fan of automating what you can. Sign up for a free account wherever you have decided to look and make a narrow job search, and save the search and have the results emailed to you. Be sure and follow my tips for making your job search return relevant results, though. Otherwise you’ll be wasting your time poring over ads that aren’t worth your time.
There are other ways to automate, if that doesn’t work for you, but you have to do it right. If you create a list somewhere of the URLs you routinely need to check, you still have to remember to check it. So automate that – make a calendar reminder with a link to where your list is, so you get prompted to go check those sites with the set-aside time to do so.
Work On Your Application Materials When You’re At Your Best Energy Levels
You know when you do your best work. Are you most productive first thing in the morning? Late at night? Between 4 and dinner? That’s the chunk of time you need to be setting aside to working on tailoring a cover letter and resume, because that work is demanding. It takes focus, energy, and attention to detail.
You want to give yourself ample time and focus to tackle those details, as you’re more likely to make mistakes when you’re tired, distracted, and stressed by the next thing on your calendar. So when you don’t have a specific application in front of you, set aside that deep thinking time to work on a master cover letter and resume.
Prioritize Your Applications
First and foremost – only spend your time on relevant jobs. There is truly no point in trying to make yourself seem appropriate for a role that requires a degree or experience that isn’t remotely related to anything you’ve done.
But even then, there may be times when there are lots of jobs you could be interested in and suitable for, and not as much time as you’d like. So prioritize the one(s) that are top priority first, so that you don’t risk missing a deadline. Then, as extra time allows, go for the other jobs on your list.
In the Doldrums? Schedule Informational Interviews
If you don’t have any good leads coming across your inbox, start networking. Schedule informational interviews to connect with folks in other departments, job roles, locations and industries, to do informational interviews.
Step away from the computer and ask for coffee, lunch, or a phone call. Particularly when you’re feeling down, getting dressed up and committing to meeting someone in person can give you just the boost you need.
You never know when those connections could lead to better ideas on what kinds of job titles to look at, or even pass along openings at their institution.
By limiting how much time – and when – you can spend on job searching, you prevent it from taking over your life, and limit the amount of work you have to do by applying only to relevant, top-priority leads.