It is often said that job searching is a full-time job in itself – but it doesn’t have to be. With the right tools and a plan you can easily complete a job search with as much or as little time as you have available to devote to it.
Being organized can also increase your ability to have a positive and motivational outlook on your job search and will alleviate the overwhelming feeling of anxiety that can arise when you do finally get a call for an interview!
Here are some strategies that will help you conduct an efficient and effective job search.
1 – FORM A ROUTINE OR SCHEDULE.
Decide on a schedule or routine for your job search that will work for you. If you are currently working full-time, you want to limit your job search efforts to after work hours.
Determine if setting one full day per week aside for your job search is worthwhile, or consider setting aside 1 or 2 hours per day. The amount of time you devote to your job search depends on your individual circumstances – just keep in mind that you get out of this job search what you put into it!
Without a routine or schedule in place it is easy to lose track of your job search efforts. Sometimes putting your job search off by a few days can easily turn into a few weeks.
2 – CREATE A SPREADSHEET.
Using Microsoft Excel or even a piece of paper you can set up a system to keep a record of your job search. I suggest you create a table with the following columns or rows (which ever you prefer) : Company Name, Position Title, Job Description, Company URL, Date Application is Due, Date Application was Submitted, and Status of Submission.
3 – TRACK APPLICATIONS AND PROGRESS.
The spreadsheet is great and all – but it will simply be a waste of your time if you don’t utilize it! So, track every step of your job search using the spreadsheet you created in step 2. Sometimes it is easy to find the job but remembering the location of the posting a few days later can become challenging – so include the URL and the application closing date in your spreadsheet so that you will be able to find it when you sit down to write your cover letter and tailor your resume.
After you have had an interview it is also a good idea to keep track of how it went, any comments you have afterwards and any areas you feel you could have improved on. This will help prepare you for any other interviews and will also help you remember to follow-up with a thank-you letter.
Another important suggestion is to make use of your phone alerts and calendars to ensure you don’t miss a deadline or an interview.
4 – SCHEDULE JOB ALERTS.
Instead of wasting countless hours sifting through online job boards, set up an account with one or two of your favourite sites and have alerts sent directly to your email. These alerts can be set up so that only relevant postings that meet the criteria you select in your account settings are sent to you.
This is a great tool because you can set one day or one hour per week to go through these emails and ensure that you are still spending adequate time networking in person and on platforms like LinkedIn, while also completing other job search tasks.
5 – BE PREPARED FOR THE CALL!
This will be the most important step and probably should be step number 1. Be prepared for the call to an interview. Make sure that you have a folder ready with copies of your resume and other portfolio documents such as references, etc…
I also suggest that you prepare your interview attire in advance. Ensure that your interview clothes are clean and ready prior to a call coming in so that you do not panic at the last minute if you don’t have time to run to the drycleaners. If you don’t have any clothes, talk to a friend or think about purchasing something that would be professional.
Start thinking about possible interview questions that could be asked in your interview. Begin brainstorming answers to typical interview questions and know your Value Proposition inside and out.
The goal here is to have everything ready in advance so that when the call does come in (and it will!) you can spend most of your time researching the company and their culture, and thinking of questions you would like to ask them.
By using these strategies, you can guide yourself through an organized and less stressful job search, and soon your phone will be ringing off the hook with calls to interview!
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