When we go about looking for a new job, we usually do so in an ad hoc, haphazard way, without any targeted plan.
Failing to search for a job efficiently means we make hard work for ourselves—it takes us longer to find suitable job vacancies, the openings we think are suitable may not be suitable at all and then we spend ages on each job application, forgetting to target it towards the position in question and instead turning our CVs and cover letters into exercises in self-expression.
Here are a few tips for managing the job search in a more efficient—and therefore effective—way.
1. Treat the job hunt as if it were a job.
The old adage is true—finding a full-time job is a full-time job. Choose the working hours to suit you and stick to them. They don’t necessarily have to be 9 to 5, but they should be somewhere in that ballpark, as these are the business hours for most employers and recruiters and probably for most of the useful people in your network as well.
2. Commit yourself to looking regularly for a job, instead of doing a lot of job searching in one go and then not doing anything for ages.
Even if you can’t job hunt 9 to 5 because you actually do still have a current job, it’s better to consistently devote a few hours in the early morning or evening, or each weekend, to job hunting than to spend a whole day hard at it, only to fail to chase up any leads for a month afterwards.
3. Don’t be distracted by those around you.
Even though job hunting isn’t paid work, your family and friends need to respect that you’re treating it like work. Don’t interrupt your job hunting time to take a non-urgent phone call or social visit from a friend. Avoid doing household tasks at inconvenient moments just because your partner or one of your children has asked you to. Set aside separate time for family and friends and stick to the boundaries.
4. Set aside specific days where you will finish work on time and go home to work on your job search.
If you have a current job, it’s easy to find yourself doing overtime every night and every weekend when you should be devoting some of that time to looking for your next role. To avoid this, designate at least one or two night per week where you’ll leave the office at a certain time to go home and carry out job searching tasks such as sending emails or checking out your RSS feeds.
5. Use your holiday allowance.
Don’t let the fact you have a day job put you off going to interviews. When you get invited to a job interview, make a note of the date and request the time off from your current employer. Some people might see this as a waste of holiday time, but ask yourself if getting the job you want is worth using up a little bit of vacation time for. If you’re committed to making the change and landing a particular role or type of work, the answer should be ‘yes’.
By Nisa Chitakasem, Founder of Position Ignition, a careers consultancy dedicated to helping you with your career choices and challenges. We’re passionate about helping you to find the right career path for you - whether it involves finding a more rewarding career, making a career change, figuring out the right career plan or being creative about career direction.
For free advice, guidance and information on careers visit the Position Ignition Career Blog or find us on Twitter @PosIgnition or Facebook