Job searching can be either time consuming, tedious and exhausting, or fruitful and sometimes even thrilling. However, they are rarely ever a speedy process in job hunting. It is tough to pinpoint exactly how long it will take to find a job and get employed. It could take as long as weeks or even months, depending on the jobs and talent demand and supply in the market as well as the match of skills and expectations.
As time stretches on during your job search, you may start feeling frustrated and dejected, which may even lead to self-sabotage. Sometimes, it can feel like you are being sucked into a huge vortex of job listings and endless follow-up emails and cold calls, but it does not always have to feel that way.
Here are some great time management strategies that can help you stay positive and be more productive to boot.
4 time management tips for job seekers
1. be organised and set a schedule plan
Being organised with your job searching and determining your schedule can save a lot of time. Having a game plan allows you to keep track and check off tasks that you have completed. These tasks can be as simple as following up on prior job applications, sending out a certain number of applications, or even cold-calling companies that you have an interest in working for. Seeing what you have done for the day on a piece of paper can help create a sense of accomplishment and motivates you to complete what is left on the list.
2. the ‘take 10 theory’
The ‘take 10 theory’ is a promise to spend 10 minutes on a task that you have been putting aside. This can help you focus on the job search task at hand and prevent procrastination. After the 10 minutes are over, reassess your headspace and decide on what you want to do for the next 10 minutes.
More often than not, you might be so fixated on that task that you wouldn’t want to lose the momentum. Using this theory to trick your mind into believing that you will stop after 10 minutes will allow you to overcome many hurdles in your job application process. Breaking up your entire day of job searching into 10 minutes can also help make the process much easier to manage.
3. stay focus on relevant jobs
Apply to relevant jobs only. Quantity does not often equate to productiveness when it comes to job applications. You would be wasting your time if you are mass sending a template resume for roles that you were unqualified for, or with employers that you don’t actually want to work for.
Make it a habit to use the advanced search options to filter the relevant job listings and familiarise yourself with the advantages and benefits of different job portals and working with recruitment agencies. You should also take extra time to research about the company, the job’s requirements and organisational culture, and personalise your job application. A CV that is tailored to the job shows your potential employer that you have put in effort in your job search, which will increase your chances of securing a job interview.
4. set job search goals
During your job hunting, you may experience several factors that are outside of your control. It is important to exert control over what you can actually influence, such as setting realistic goals for yourself. It can be as simple as shortlisting 10 job openings a day, researching and tailoring your CV for three job applications a day or to secure at least 3 interviews in a month.
If you are up for a challenge or feel pressured to find a job quickly, you can always create stretch goals for yourself.
job search advice for employed job seekers
The truth is that companies are still hiring during this pandemic, albeit at a slower pace. Highly skilled talent who are digitally-adept or are experienced enough to navigate challenging climates are highly sought-after. It should not come as a surprise that some employees who are in a stable job are still being headhunted for their experience, knowledge and skills.
As an employee, you need to be mindful of your responsibilities and commitments to your job, as well as observe applying for a job etiquette. If you use company time to explore your personal career interests out of pure curiosity, you may end up hurting the professional relationship with your current employer. You’ll also be wasting the hiring manager’s resource and time if you never had the intention to switch employers.
However, if you are really keen to explore other opportunities, consider waking up 20 minutes earlier or use your commuting time to browse jobs, or reply to your personal e-mails or LinkedIn messages. Don’t forget that you can make full use of your lunch hour as well.
Manage your schedule wisely so that you can balance your work responsibilities and job searching. For instance, you should avoid taking a job interview on the same day or in the days leading up to an important presentation or deadline.
There should never be a conflict with your current employer’s needs and your personal job search requirements. Remember to always prioritise your current job and allocate sufficient time to complete your existing projects before turning to your personal affairs.
job search advice for unemployed job seekers
People who are unemployed would have a significant advantage in terms of time over those who are looking for jobs while still being employed. However, having a lot of time can usually lead to procrastination, which happens to the best of us.
One way that can help you to stay on track would be to treat your job search as if it is a job. Make it a point to set yourself a standard schedule that mirrors a regular working day. Even if you are not working, go to bed early as that will help you prepare your mind for the next day.
You should also switch up your tasks and work on different things to prevent boredom or feeling frustrated at the lack of replies. Job searching can be tedious and repetitive. Try allocating specific days for certain job-searching tasks such as creating an impressive CV and cover letter, cold-calling, building your brand on social profile on LinkedIn and scheduling networking opportunities. Instead of spending all 7 days a week browsing through the job portals, active job seekers should also take days off to reset and refresh.
Most importantly, practice patience when searching for a job, especially during a poor economy. With more job seekers in the market, employers are looking for a candidate who stands out from the crowd. Hence, your ultimate goal should not be about how many jobs you’ve applied for in a day, but rather, how have you proven yourself valuable in each and every one of your applications.
During an economic slowdown, it is vital to keep your eyes on the prize, focus on what is in your control.
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At Randstad, we use several HR technology tools to screen and qualify candidates. These tools help us quickly shortlist the best candidates for our clients and significantly shorten the hiring process.