By Jama Thurman, career services manager at Hodges University
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” – Zig Ziglar
The Office of Career Services at Hodges University wants to help you secure your dream career. In order to help you in your efforts, check out these 10 Time Management Tips for a Successful Job Search.
Tip #1: Develop a Schedule/Daily Routine.
If you are job searching while still employed, build job search time into your evening and weekend schedule. If you are unemployed, create a schedule. Go to bed and wake up on your regular working schedule. Take a shower and get dressed before you job search. It might be helpful to leave your house and set up an “office” in the library, coffee shop, student lounge or CareerSource office. This will minimize distractions, increase productivity and improve focus.
Schedule blocks of time to research companies, attend networking events and submit resumes and online applications. Don’t forget to set aside time for follow up. Use this time to make contact with those you have met at networking events and with people in your personal network. Let everyone know that you are looking for a job and what type of position you seek. Include time to post about your job-related needs on social media outlets including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
Block out twice the amount of time you need for each task. Include specific, measurable and achievable goals. Your daily schedule might include:
Networking breakfast 8:00-10:00 a.m.
Research eight prospective companies 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Apply for two jobs 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Social media posting 3:00-4:00 p.m.
Send emails/call five contacts 4:00-5:00 p.m.
If you are working full time, break up these tasks and do one each evening and more on the weekend.
Tip #2: Prioritize Tasks
Review tasks and determine which are urgent vs. which are important. Complete important tasks first. Don’t let urgent items overtake the important items. Know yourself; schedule important tasks during your most productive time of day.
Networking with those you know is the number one way to find a job, so time spent networking is more valuable than job searching on the internet. Sometimes networking involves attending professional meetings or chamber of commerce events, or sending an email to an old colleague letting them know you are in the market for a new job. Jobs can be found through social media, but keep your postings focused and don’t get caught up in the posts of others. Join LinkedIn and Facebook groups that are career related, and follow companies you are interested in on Twitter.
Career Services posts local job information, including economic development and important job growth on our social media accounts. You can network with Career Services by joining our LinkedIn group (HU Career Services) and following us on Twitter (@HUCareerDev).
Tip #3: Plan Ahead
When you have interviews scheduled, it is important to plan. Make a dry run of your drive so you won’t get lost. Print your resume and references out a few days prior and practice answering interview questions. Choose your clothes to dress for success and make sure they are clean, ironed and ready to go.
Tip #4: Manage Interruptions
Try to manage interruptions by setting your phone to silent and responding to calls and email messages at designated times throughout the day. Schedule 15 minutes in the morning, afternoon and evening to return calls and answer email. Work outside your home to minimize distractions of children, spouse, laundry, dishes, pets, etc.
Tip #5: Take Breaks
Don’t forget to take breaks. Build in time for meditation, meals, relaxation and exercise. Get up and walk for 5-10 minutes each hour. This increases productivity because you are fresh and able to focus.
Tip #6: Make a To Do List
Write a list at the end of each day consisting of unfinished tasks. Include plans for the following day. Review your list each morning and add any items needed. Cross off items on your list as they are completed. Transfer unfinished items to the following day’s list.
Tip #7: Limit TV
TV can be relaxing and enjoyable, but wealthy, successful people watch less than one hour a day, according to a study by Thomas C. Corley (Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals). Don’t let TV take over your job search.
Tip #8: Read Books
Reading self-improvement books can help you keep your mind active and learn more about yourself. Ask successful people for recommendations or read books about jobs or industries that interest you.
Tip #9: Limit Multitasking
Focus on one item at a time. Multitasking can be distracting and unproductive.
Tip #10: Schedule Informational Interviews
Contact your ideal employers and ask for a 10-15 minute informational interviews to learn more about the company or industry. This is an opportunity to practice your interviewing skills and to present yourself as a professional. You can find contacts through LinkedIn or friends and family. You can ask about career path, career advancement, how they moved up within the company, education, skills and certifications necessary in the position, or you can ask about work environment, typical day, challenges, entry-level salary ranges or tips about writing a resume for your industry.
Choose 5-10 questions to ask. Do not ask for an interview or a job, but have your resume available. Ask for two to three additional contacts in the field that they recommend. Make sure you get a business card and send an email and handwritten thank you. You can also ask about job shadowing and/or volunteer opportunities.
These 10 tips will help you stay focused and productive during your job search. For more help with job search or career exploration, please visit the Office of Career Services in Building U, Room 170F on the Fort Myers campus, or make an appointment for Naples.