Does your job search feel like you’re on a roller coaster ride but without the fun of amusement park cotton candy and corn dogs? No one is going to hold your hand through the emotional ups and downs of the search process so the big question is, how do you keep yourself motivated and organized throughout your job search? Here are some motivational and organizational tips to keep yourself positive and make sure you are staying focused and on task.
Set yourself a weekly target of jobs applied for. Defining those targets is up to you but don’t set them too low or you’ll end up prolonging your search. Your targets should be in line with the number of jobs you think you’ll need to apply to before landing the one you want. It will probably take someone who is in a very niche position and industry (such as “Captive Breeding Specialist for Black-Footed Ferrets”) a lot fewer job applications than someone who has a broader skill set and target position title (such as “Administrative Assistant”).
Getting close to the end of the week and finding yourself shy of your goal? Offering the option to apply with a LinkedIn profile is a growing trend and we see most of our HiringThing customers and their applicants taking advantage of this. Put some time into making your LinkedIn profile ready for an employer to review so it saves you time not having to manually fill in their application forms. At the end of the week when you’ve hit your target, make sure you give yourself a hearty pat on the back!
Track the positions you are applying to. It’s unprofessional and embarrassing to be caught without even the slightest clue as to which opportunity a recruiter is talking to you about when they finally get around to calling. Stay organized and prepared for any recruiter call by following some very basic organizational guidelines.
- Save job postings you’ve applied to as pdfs in an “applied to” folder in case they get taken offline by the time you get a call for an interview.
- Save each cover letter you’ve sent out so you know what that potential employer liked.
- Save versions of your resume with a descriptive name so you can find them again easily when you need them. For example, you might have a non-profit version of your resume that highlights your relevant non-profit experience.
Treat your job search like a job. It’s way too easy to get distracted during a job search and use any excuse to put it off for a few minutes, hours or days. Don’t let that happen to you! Establish yourself a routine that you can stick to five days a week.
- Exercise should be an important part of your daily routine throughout your job search. And no, it’s not important because you need to fit into that interviewing suit you haven’t had to wear in three years. It’s important because it increases your endorphin level, which is the body’s way of giving you a natural, legal high that boosts your mood and stimulates your brain activity.
- Set work hours where you are totally focused on searching for and applying to jobs.
Get out of the house. Are you having trouble staying away from the tv remote or the cookie jar when you are home all day looking for jobs?
- Park yourself at your favorite coffee shop or find a cubby at your local library. Some people just work better when they are away from home.
- Take a class. Enroll yourself in a class at a community college to learn a new skill that can beef up your resume. Or sign yourself up for an online certification program. Even if you choose something that has no obvious resume enhancing characteristics, getting out and doing something fun (like a dance class or a beginner’s Italian class) keeps your social skills from atrophying and, who knows, you might make a new friend who has connections that will help you in your search.
Use your social media network and communicate. This is the age of social media. Why not take advantage of it and let your friends, former coworkers and family know that you are in the market for a job. Of course, if you haven’t given notice yet at your current job, you might want to minimize the number of people you tell that you are job hunting.
Put up a picture of something you want and let yourself have it after you get a job. What’s that one thing that you really want that would serve as excellent motivation for you? Maybe it’s a new outfit from your favorite store or maybe it’s a splurge on your favorite, somewhat pricey bottle of wine. Figure out what you want, find a picture of it and then put that picture somewhere you’ll see it every single day, like your bathroom mirror. Studies have shown that having a reward to work toward keeps you more motivated to accomplish your goal.
Regardless of what kind of job you’ve set your sights on, being organized and focused throughout your search will help you get that job faster. Happy hunting!
Jess Tejani is the Director of Finance & Operations at HiringThing, LLC, an online application provider dedicated to changing the way small and medium business hire talent. You can learn more about HiringThing at http://www.hiringthing.com.