Now that you are motivated and focused on WHAT you want to search for, immediately write down HOW you will find that job by setting your Job Search Plan in motion. You need to commit to a certain amount of time and a certain set of activities, and then track your progress.
This plan discipline will help you make your job search process Job Number One, avoid wasting time, be more effective, and accelerate your speed to the finish line.
First, map out your overall job search process and commit to a certain set of activities that you will repeat every day and every week until you land your new job. Be aggressive but realistic based on your other commitments – family, current job, etc. And don’t steal time from other important things such as exercise, sleep, or time with family and friends.
Use your Outlook calendar, other calendar application, or a paper calendar to schedule your activities at specific times of the day.
Here are 4 tips for using your schedule most effectively:
- Activity description: Don’t just say, “Job search.” Pick a particular activity from your activity list.
- Identify where you will do this work: library, home, office, friend’s house. Find a quiet place with Internet access so you can concentrate on the information and capture what you are learning.
- What: Put follow-up activities highest in priority on your calendar first thing in the morning. If you have business cards from an event, follow up on them the next morning. If you made some calls yesterday, follow up on them today. Why? These are warmer than spending time cold calling companies or people you don’t know or haven’t met.
- Time management: If you say you will be researching for one full hour, clock yourself to be sure you are meeting that commitment. And that doesn’t include travel time to the library, having that latté in the middle, or talking to the person at the table next to you. It’s an hour of work. Hard, focused work.
Here are 4 tricks for time management success:
- Have a routine. For some of you, it means getting up in the morning, getting dressed for your “job,” getting coffee, and sitting down to do Job Number One, your job search. For others, it means going to the library from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Set alarms, use your calendar, and be obsessive about each hour.
- Set up a place to work. This can be a virtual office, too. Grab a box with file folders, reference books, and any other items you need to work remotely if your home does not have the space you need.
- Set priorities. List out all that you need to do and put an “A” next to the most urgent, “B” for next most important, and “C” for things that can wait. No more than 3 categories.
- Turn off distractions. Cells, TVs, music, children, pets, noises, crowds.
Finally, avoid these classic mistakes:
- Mistake #1: Not building a variety of activities, relying on one or two things. Think about this as a portfolio of activities, no one thing works by itself. Even if one technique worked for you in the past, it’s a new game out there.
- Mistake #2: Not adding newer job search techniques, just staying within your comfort zone.
- Mistake #3: Getting distracted. Is this job search really that important to you? Then stay focused!
Remember, CRAP comes in two forms: Excuses and Mistakes. Cut the Crap, Get a Job! And I’m here to help. Send me your questions, comments, and challenges.