Time Management During a Job Search

© creative soul - Fotolia.com
© creative soul – Fotolia.com

Searching for a full-time job IS a full-time job – more if you’re really serious about shortening your transition time. In fact, I recommend people spend 12 hours a day, 5 days a week on their job search.

I hear many objections to this, for which I always have a response. Here are some of the most common:

  • “My family needs me.” – Actually, what your family really needs is for you to get a job so you can keep contributing to the household finances.
  • “I feel too angry/let down/depressed/____ about losing my job.” Yes, those are common and legitimate feelings when you’re out of work. It’s essential to have a supportive spouse or friend who can listen to you vent and boost your morale. A career coach can listen more objectively than friends or family, and can also guide you on the job search process and keep you moving forward. Since a positive attitude is imperative for making a good impression, you must get past these dark emotions.
  • “What if they say no?” Whether we admit it or not, most of us are afraid of rejection and will unconsciously or consciously do whatever we can to avoid that possibility.  The more No’s you receive, the closer you are to a YES!

If you can overcome these objections and buckle down to the work of getting work, here are the two most important activities to include in your 12-hour job search schedule:

Spend five hours per day, five days a week on job search using social media platforms

The bulk of this time should be on LinkedIn (with the remainder on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook). On LinkedIn, your main priorities are to:

  • Connect with people of influence at the target companies where you want to work – both those who are there now and those who’ve left (they can give you the real dirt!).
  • Market yourself as an industry thought leader by getting vocal in groups – add thoughtful comments to other people’s posts, share insightful and relevant articles from respected publications (e.g., Forbes, Inc., Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, The Globe and Mail, and industry trade magazines), and pose questions to initiate dialogue.
  • Browse the job listings.
  • Use similar strategies to communicate across your entire network

Meet three people per day five days a week in-person who can help you in your job search

This goal can be difficult to attain, but I’ve seen it make a tremendous difference in reducing the length of time people spend in transition. Aim to meet with influencers at the target companies where you want to work – your future boss or your boss’s boss. Go right to the top, rather than through human resources. HR is focused on filling advertised positions, and that represents only 9% of the market (that’s a topic for another article!).

How do you get these people to sit down with you? It’s easier than you think. First of all, consider that it may not be long since he or she was in your place – in transition between jobs.

Second of all, you’re positioning this as an informational interview or coffee meeting, rather than going there to ask for a job. Explain that you hold the company in high esteem and would like to find out more about what they do and the possibilities for a future job.

If you’re willing to spend 12 hours a day, five days a week on the job search activities I’ve outlined here, you’ll be well on your way to your next job – and miles ahead of those who take the easier road.

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