By Mary Elizabeth Bradford, The Career Artisan
A job search can quickly become a time consuming and frustrating experience without the right tools, planning, and resources. Making one mistake, such as “surfing the Internet” as your main medium for job hunting, can lead to countless hours of wasted time each week. Here are eight simple steps you can take to save yourself time, frustration, and wasted energy:
Step 1: Create your system
Use a simple system to map out (yes, actually write it out—so it’s “out of your head” and on paper!) your job search goals. Where you are going, what is motivating you, your thoughts on how you are going to get there, and what your ultimate goal is. Mapping out your plan and your strategy will keep you on track and focused—thus saving you potential wasted time and energy.
Step 2: Use a job aggregator
In other words, a beta search engine for jobs. This way you can use one site for one search . . . to find almost all posted jobs. This one step will save you from hopping from one job board to another—and endless hours of frustration. Understand that responses on any job board vary from 2% to 6%. With those odds, this is one critical area you really want to use to streamline your search and save time.
Step 3: Set up an email alert
Set up an e mail alert on the job aggregator of your choice. This saves you even more time, as your matching jobs will automatically be sent you!
You can also set up email alerts through Googlenews and even The Business Journal—so if you are looking for articles or information on the growth of a particular industry or company—just set up an automatic email alert. Congratulations! You just saved yourself at least 5 hours a week surfing the Internet!
Step 4: Invest wisely
It’s easy to figure out where to best invest your time. Simply identify the top three areas where you are most certain to penetrate your market. It could be “like companies” in a technology business park, or a trade association, through social networking sites, or through a portal such as the top 10 executive recruiting firms. Once you have identified where to invest your time for the biggest payback, you can minimize the time you spend on other job search activities while you maximize your time in your key areas.
Step Five: Create a schedule
Create a modest “job search schedule” for yourself. Specifically, dates and times each week you are going to devote to your career move. Why a “modest” schedule? Because you want to create a schedule you can actually keep and feel a real sense of achievement as you reach your weekly goals. You can always increase your commitment later! This technique works wonders during a career search. You will be amazed how feeling yourself accomplish your job search goals in real time will motivate you as you move forward!
Step Six: BATCH your activities
Batching your activities means blocking out a certain amount of time one day each week to do a particular activity. For example: Monday between 8 am and 9 am you research growing companies in your industry. Wednesday between 10 am and 11 am you make your follow up phone calls. You will be amazed how much you get done using this technique and how it automatically insures against overwhelm and simplifies your job search. This is one of THE most important tips you can implement.
Step Seven: Kill your email
Okay, don’t kill it but please, stop checking it every 30 minutes! I check my email twice a day because it allows me to focus on more important tasks and not get sidetracked, hung up, and generally scattered during my workday. Don’t worry about missing important messages. I believe you will find that checking your email messages twice a day is more than enough.
Step Eight: Stop answering your phone
That’s right. Unless it’s a planned call, don’t answer your phone. You are a busy executive—you are NOT waiting anxiously by the phone . . . get it? AND you don’t want to be caught off guard with a recruiter or hiring manager who wants to conduct an impromptu interview. You are not home. Let it go to voice mail. Screen your calls and check your messages twice a day. You will be so glad you did. If the last two tips have you “beside yourself”—read The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. It will change your life.
If you want to learn more about how easy it is to set up and manage a turnkey job search that gets you great results – check out my Job Search Success System.