How to Make Your Day Productive When Job Searching

Structure your day to make it productive for job searching. There's often a lot of waiting in between activities. Staying busy helps guard against negative behavior such as depression or procrastination. It also can help boost your focus, creativity, and energy. Think of it in the same way as exercise and good eating habits.

Here are some of the basic tasks that can help organize your job searching routine:

  • Self Appraisal. This is the time to learn about yourself. What knowledge, skills, and abilities do you possess? What roles are you good at? Which job functions do you dislike? Honesty is important!
  • Resume Improvement. Your resume and cover letter are your way of highlighting your worth in the job market. Your resume will need constant tweaking in order for it to effectively highlight your worth to prospective employers.
  • Search Job Boards. Whether or not you like them, job boards can be useful in your job search.
  • Correspondence. Communicating with various people involved in your job search is a given. Be organized and prepared to do so, whether it’s by phone, email, or another method.
  • Labor Market/Employer Research. Are you doing your homework on the job role, company, industry, or other factors that could affect your job search?
  • Contact Research. Who in your community can support your job search in an effective way?
  • Interview Prep. Practice, practice, practice. Just like professional athletes, the key to success is repetition, coupled with a desire to improve. This is where you apply the labor market/employer research you’ve been doing.
  • Administration. You need to stay organized when it comes to all the tasks associated with moving your job search forward. Making this a part of your daily routine keeps it manageable.
  • Follow-up. Similar to the correspondence bullet point, following up with those involved in your job search is a necessity.

An effective routine for job searching can take many forms. Some tips include giving yourself blocks of time (say, 50 minutes or so) to tackle the above tasks. As you complete them, take short breaks from work. For example, read a book or get some fresh air.

Another tip is to allocate your time well. There will be stretches where you won’t hear from companies, so have a plan for staying focused and busy. Track your progress, so you can see what you’ve been able to achieve, as well as what steps remain to reach your particular goals or milestones. With tracking, you should also have a way to report important statistics related to your progress, either to yourself or to your job search partner.

Even with a well-defined job searching structure in place, you should be flexible. Things change. When that happens, so should the routine. You should be mindful of viewing job searching as an activity that occurs during certain hours. While physical locations may have office hours, communication channels (e.g., email, websites, networking events) are available for use 24/7/365. Remove artificial barriers from obtaining the career you want.

Job searching is hard work. It's not always fun. It’s physically and emotionally demanding. Learning how to structure your day will improve your chances of success while staying healthy. Taking care of yourself and your career is important--don't neglect either one.

Read on for more ways to make your job search a success: Better Together: The Importance of a Job Search Buddy

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