Many job seekers find it difficult to look for a job during their downtime because they simply don’t feel they have the time. However, if you take a few steps to implement an effective job search strategy, you can make the most of your limited time and maximize your chances of landing a great gig.
First, get organized and develop a plan. Decide how many hours each week you can realistically dedicate to your job search, and then block out time in your schedule accordingly. Create a list of the steps you need to take to land a new job, and then break those steps down into smaller, manageable tasks. For example, if one of your steps is “research companies,” you might break that down into smaller tasks like “identify 10 companies I’d like to work for” and “research each company’s website.”
Next, use your time wisely. Avoid wasting time on activities that aren’t directly related to landing a job, such as browsing job boards for hours on end or spending too much time reading industry articles. Instead, focus on high-value activities that will move you closer to your goal.
Some additional job search activities you can focus on during this time include:
(1) Goal setting – If you haven’t established clear goals for yourself and for your career, now is a good time to put together a plan. What kind of job are you looking for? What kind of company do you want to work for? Ideally, your goals should be realistic, measurable, and achievable. The first step of goal setting is to write an overall goal statement of what you would like to accomplish as part of your job search. Next, identify the challenges you are currently facing in achieving this goal, and then brainstorm solutions that will help you overcome these challenges. Finally, identify your immediate and long-term goals and write down the action steps needed to accomplish each of these goals. Now, put your plan into action!
(2) Update your resume/cover letter – If you aren’t getting as many interviews as you’d like, now may be a good time to review these documents. Make sure your resume and cover letter do an effective job of highlighting your strengths and accomplishments. Also, ensure the formatting and look and feel are professional and easy to read.
(3) Network, network, network – Use this opportunity to strengthen your network base by connecting with people in your network, as well as making new connections. Connect with your contacts online, including LinkedIn, and try to take advantage of networking in-person at conferences, work events, and even personal get-togethers on the weekend. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk to your friends and family members about your job search and see if they know of any openings that may be a good fit for you.
(4) Improve your brand – If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, use this time to create a profile. Or if you already have a LinkedIn account, update your profile, and make sure it includes your most recent work experience, accomplishments, as well as a professional photo. Also, consider updating your content on Twitter and Facebook so that you have a strong online brand presence.
The key to starting your job search when you’re already working is to take action today in just one area. It can be difficult to find the time and energy to focus on a new project when you’re already working so hard, but if you take action by taking one step in the right direction, you will start to feel empowered and it won’t be long before you are well on your way to landing the perfect job for you!