Searching for a new job is not an easy process. There are a lot of things to consider, from finding roles to writing applications to preparing for interviews. The good news is, there are ways to make your job search more productive, from the way you approach your day-to-day tasks to holding yourself accountable (and knowing when to take a break).
Become more productive in your job search by considering these steps:
It’s likely that you’re scrolling through online job boards already but try narrowing down your specifications to improve the quality of your results.
Be realistic about the job location. If you’re not considering the logistics of getting to a job 50+ miles away, then it’s going to be a problem when you realise public transport can only take you so far and it’s a four hour commute every day. Don’t be idealistic; narrow your scope to places you know you can travel.
Try different title combinations. Just because your role is defined as one thing at your current company, it doesn’t mean it will be advertised in the exact same terms at another. Look into different job title combinations to yield different results. Website filtering is unlikely to be sophisticated enough to guess your intentions, so make sure you’re being as specific as possible.
Don’t set the salary. You could miss out on jobs you’re interested in and would be willing to consider, particularly if there’s an added benefit you hadn’t considered. For some, flexible working and a work/life balance is more important. However, if you’re adamant the money matters, set the salary lower than you’d expect and work up from there.
Job boards are useful but they’re not the only places to look. Make a list of companies and search directly on their websites. Some roles are advertised directly on their careers pages or social media. Similarly, sign up for newsletters. Most companies will have job alerts or will mention career opportunities within their emails.
If you don’t know any eligible companies in the area, use Google Maps to search by location and industry. Similarly, keep an eye out for career’s fairs and networking events; Eventbrite and Facebook are useful platforms for knowing what is happening around you.
Before falling down the rabbit hole of job search despair, set yourself realistic goals. There are several stages to achieving the end result: finding a job to apply for, creating an application, preparing for an interview, etc.
To stay on top of this, set daily or weekly goals.
If you have time in the morning, spend half an hour searching and highlighting roles of interest. Apply for one job per day, in order of their deadlines. Research the roles you’re interested in and prioritise those applications. If those applications require more time and research, allocate more days to working on them. Don’t send applications the same day; go back, edit them if needed and check for readability.
It will become easier to know how much time to allocate to certain tasks and avoid setting unrealistic expectations (which can lead to burn out from trying to do too much).
The Perils of Multi-tasking
Simply, don’t do it. Focus on one thing at one time. If you’re prone to checking social media every fifteen minutes, keep your phone out of reach, or restrict access to distracting websites (third party apps are available to limit screen time). Your brain works best when it has a clear purpose, so make a realistic to-do list each week and tick off completed tasks as you go along. You’ll accomplish more if you split the process into manageable daily tasks. Motivation and willpower will only get you so far; discipline gets the job done (and will get you one, too).
Another avenue to consider when looking for a job are recruitment agencies, which will screen candidates on behalf of employers. By talking to a specialist recruiter, you can relay exactly what you’re looking for, the kind of salary you’d expect, and what kind of environment you’d enjoy. The recruiter will then match you with a role and negotiate with the company on your behalf like salary, benefits and starts dates. Typically, you will meet the recruiter face-to-face to ensure you’ll fit into the company, and they will also prepare you for interviews, offering support throughout the recruitment journey. Since this is an experience unique to recruitment agencies, it’s useful to consider as finding you a job is a mutual goal.