Here's How To Manage Your Precious Time Whilst Job Hunting
Author: Laure-Anne Gobet, Social Media Executive
It was spring 2016 and I made a bold choice to leave a position that made me very unhappy.
I decided to take a short period of respite after becoming unemployed. Of course it was not a breeze, just a moment to do small things I was not able to do when I was a busy office worker; such as cooking adventurous recipes, reading a monster of a book or listing seemingly unrealistic dreams…
I think this time is important during a transition, especially if you think that your new situation is apocalyptic and you find yourself asking; “What will I do with my life?” “Will I find a job that suits me?” “How will I save money until I get a new job?”.
In fact, I believe this ‘step back’ is essential in order to give perspective to your objectives and to build your inner strength.
After a week or so I was finally ready with a positive outlook and was putting my refreshed CV back on the market. I know it can be hard to know where to start, so here’s how I got back on track:
Become an early bird
Financial support means you are able to justify your in depth research, and not cave in to the first job available to you. Therefore, I registered with my local Job Centre and I found it extremely helpful. Because I claimed Job Seekers Allowance, I had to attend to several group sessions which took place in the mornings. I also had to prove that I was doing my job search. Even if it really annoyed me at that time, it helps to wake up early in the morning and to be organised in your search every day.
However, if you have no obligations in your timetable, such as appointments at your Job Centre, try to respect a work schedule as much as possible by setting an alarm. You will optimise your chance of picking up promising calls when companies and recruiters reach out to you during office hours.
Become a job search master
Although getting into a good rhythm is only your framework, imagine spending 9 hours glued to your screen, scrolling for job vacancies... You may feel that you work really hard but I am pretty sure you can’t remember half the positions and companies that you’ve been applying for and you haven’t been giving all these applications 100%. Does it sound familiar?
You’re not alone. It’s an easy way to become frustrated, so here’s how to make the most of your time.
Break down your research in several activities, make a plan and set aside time to work no more than one hour in front of a screen. It’s proven that you will be more efficient in your tasks. After one hour, pick up the phone and call your recruiter or visit their branch in person. Visiting a friendly face will give you a boost of energy and potentially, confidence. Having that external support in your job search is incredibly helpful and it’s something Pertemps pride ourselves on.
Be pro-active, not reactive
The paramount factor in order to stay pro-active and motivated, is to set a goal in your research and to never lose the sight of it – yes, embody Gollum with his precious ring. Limit your research to specific job titles and vacancies of your salary expectations. Stop yourself from ruling out whole industries just because it’s not your ideal one. Instead be conscious of which environment you would not like to work and strike it off your list. Your focus will impress employers, they can see your determination and ability to filter your search in favour of your passions.
Challenge your prioritising skills
Next, you need to identify the most important tasks. If an employer shows great interest and invites you for an interview, it is time to become an organisational guru.
Start by cultivating a solid knowledge of the industry and company. It is important to have some general knowledge about movements and changes within the industry, always check the news for stories about; companies being bought, new laws and legislation that affect the business, and new management/takeovers. Simply having a basic idea of what changes will be affecting the company in the near future will demonstrate your interest, provide an icebreaker, and give you confidence in actually knowing what you are talking about.
You must also identify your’s and the hiring manager’s expectations of the role and identifying your strengths and weaknesses for that position. You might find the chance to orientate the conversation toward your advantage. If so, it’s your time to shine. Provide examples of experience that make you indispensable for this role.
Should there be a program or piece of software you will have to use as part of that job, ensure you research that too! If you are unfamiliar with it, try downloading a free trial and playing around with it. Watch tutorial videos and where possible create something you can bring to the interview. This will prove what you are able to do on limited time and with limited resources, as well as how you are willing to learn using x, y, and z tools (that you have also found on/offline) to further your skills.
Remember to watch out for trick questions! Think before you speak; there is no harm in asking for a moment before answering a question. It lowers your chance of saying something you will regret and shows that you take care in what you say and how it comes across.
Show your organisational power through your job search
When you hit the productivity wall and slump, you know it’s time for a break - but avoid staying at your desk and surfing the web or playing on your phone, social media or watching TV! These devices can sap your motivation, so if you want to check your notifications, do so but whilst taking a nice walk. Taking a break from your computer screen to another blue lit screen does you no favours. It can make you tired and generally less enthusiastic, and like you never took a break in the first place.
To get out of this e-job hunter’s routine, you must dedicate a day of your week to networking. You may not mind staying at home with your computer all week, but it’s also good to go out of your comfort zone regularly. Try to attend to free conferences, workshops or job fairs once a week. As a result, you will be given a great amount of valuable advice, contacts for your job search and even find new opportunities. Also getting yourself out there will help to boost your self-confidence for upcoming interviews where you will have to sell yourself to potential new employers.
By managing your expectations, tailoring your schedule, and organising various activities throughout your job search you will stay driven, eager and receptive to exciting opportunities. So take the time to make a good plan and become the rare gem out there!