Searching for a job is hard work. It is a time that is filled with uncertainty. Many people also feel a sense of anxiety. I have helped thousands of people to find work as a recruitment specialist. I know how tiring it can be looking for work. So, I am here to help.
If you are suddenly out of work and home full time, here is my best advice when looking for work.
And the best news is that you can still have a life AND look for work. In fact, you should maintain a life outside the job hunt to keep you in the best shape and mindset to secure your next role.
This article offers you some daily routines that will help you stay focussed on your job hunt. These sample routines will provide you with some ideas for how you might structure your day. They offer much needed balance in your life, for when you are job hunting.
To maintain stamina and some peace of mind, you cannot look for work 24/7. It is simply not a sustainable job hunting strategy.
So read on, to learn some new ideas for creating a job hunting routine that works for you.
Why job hunting routines are critical to success
In a digital world, there are many ways to look for work and to positively build your professional profile at the same time. The routines that I am propose involve you focusing on your job hunt for around 3 hours each day.
That leaves enough time for you to also focus on other aspects of your life, including your physical health and your mental health. The routines allow you time to explore the other passions in your life too.
The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine – Mike Murdock
Here are the key elements of your job hunting efforts:
Scanning job boards
Whatever job you do, there is likely to be an online job board out there for you. Job boards are designed to advertise available roles and often specialise by industry or role type. The most popular job boards include:
Here are some more specific job boards that might interest you as well:
- AngelList – for those looking to work with start ups
- Behance – Designers and Web professionals
- College Recruiter – internships and entry level jobs
- Fairygodboss – women’s career opportunities
- Idealist – non profits and charitable work
- Lawjobs – legal professionals
- Mediabistro – journalists, advertising, PR, etc
- RecruitMilitary – for military veterans looking to re-enter the civilian workforce
- We Work Remotely – for digital nomads who want to work from anywhere
Action: Find reputable job boards that advertise roles for your role type or industry. And each day, spend 15-30 minutes looking at advertised roles that fit your skillset.
Many job boards allow you to set up alerts for new jobs as they are posted. My creating job alerts that come straight into your inbox, you save valuable time. That means more time reading job advertisements to see if you fit the bill and less manual job searching day after day.
LinkedIn is a very valuable digital networking tool. If you are not familiar with LinkedIn, it boasts some 260 million monthly active users and is very popular in professional circles.
Related article: 6 ways you can amplify your professional brand
Many people think that creating a LinkedIn account is a set and forget strategy. That is far from the truth. You should update your LinkedIn profile regularly. Continue to make connections with others regularly to build your digital footprint and online visibility.
When you are in full job hunting mode, it makes sense to spend time each week updating various aspects of your LinkedIn profile. This includes reaching out to others on the platform, both those you are already connected with and reaching out to make new connection requests as well.
Also consider setting up Job alerts via the Jobs section of LinkedIn to uncover job opportunities you might be interested in applying for.
Contacting people you know
One of the first things you might notice when job hunting is that you miss interacting with people. This is especially true if you work in a role that typically sees you with a lot of face to face contact with others.
So, grab yourself a coffee, tea (or a cocktail!) and channel that social motivation. You can easily stay in touch with others by connecting with them online (or in person) when you are actively job hunting. Connect via your social media channel of choice, LinkedIn, email or text.
I don’t suggest that you make contact with people just to ask your contacts if they have any roles available at their workplaces for you.
Instead given you have some time on your hands, try to add some value to your network and their careers. Ask after them and see if you can connect them with others in your own network. Take the time to add value to them in some way. In turn, they are likely to reciprocate.
Reaching out will of course remind people of you and your skills and experience. And telling people that you are looking for work certainly doesn’t hurt. Just don’t hit them up for a job directly. The main aim of the game here is to be front of mind with these people if a role does pop up.
Now is also a great time to connect with people on platforms such as LinkedIn if you haven’t had the time to do that whilst you’ve been working. That might include people you worked with in your last role. Or those you have come across whilst training. It might even include people you have met outside of work who would also be valuable contacts to add to your digital network.
Related article: Professional Networking – Time for a connection clean up?
There is no end to the articles and social media accounts available to help you prepare for job interviews. Turning your attention to various aspects of the interview process as part of your job hunting efforts, will make the prospect of interviewing, less daunting.
For example, you might like to:
- Buy new clothes for interviewing with various companies
- Create an “elevator pitch” for conveying your key strengths
- Think through some key projects you have played a role in or contributions you have made in the past that you can use as examples in the interview process
- Practice your voice projection and confidence boosting techniques
- Review your resume to refresh your memory of your past roles and key achievements
- Research companies you are interviewing with in coming days or weeks
- List out some questions you will ask at the end of each interview to demonstrate your interest in the role and company
Once upon a time, your resume told your whole professional story. That is no longer the case. You now have a digital footprint whether you like it or not.
Put simply, a digital footprint is the record or trail left by the things you do online. That includes social media activity, your web browsing history and your online subscriptions. It also includes photos and videos you’ve uploaded and any other contributions you make online including liking social media posts, commenting in online chat forums – the list goes on. Your digital footprint also includes personal websites, article writing, published keynote speaking and so much more.
Taking control of that digital footprint is the most positive thing you can to improve the information people find when they go looking for you online.
Use some time across each week when you are at home job hunting to improve your professional profile. This might include:
- Googling your name and seeing what comes up online about you on Page 1
- Updating and improving the content of each of your social media accounts
- Creating or improving your personal website (if it makes sense to have one in your career area)
- Creating new content to post on relevant social media accounts
Don’t neglect your physical job hunting assets either. Consider updating:
- The content in your resume
- Your cover letter template
Related reading: Building your online professional profile – Just start
Reading about your industry/sector
Take some time to read about what is happening in your industry or sector.
There are many places to find this information including, but certainly not limited to:
- Industry magazines (in physical or digital format)
- Industry association websites
- Content posted online by key industry players on LinkedIn and other social media platforms
- White papers, news articles and reports authored by reputable people in your sector
Any reading you do, will provide you with current, relevant and topical information that might come in handy during the interview process. By staying up to date with what is happening in your sector, you demonstrate your passion and commitment to your career.
In addition, this reading may assist you to consolidate your own thinking about key industry issues and allow you to contribute to industry based conversations (both in person with your network and on reputable online chat forums). This serves to improve your digital footprint and online visibility.
Arrrggghhh. I can hear you pulling your hair out from here. Making job applications can be time consuming and frustrating. But take things one application at a time. Otherwise the process can become quite overwhelming.
Before making any job application, ensure that your resume is error free and grammatically correct. If you are creating a cover letter, ensure it addresses the key requirements of each role articulately and professionally.
Related article: Developing compelling Key Achievements for your resume
You can have more confidence in each job application when you know that you have put the time into all the other activities outlined in this article. All activities contribute to creating a more positive professional profile.
Treat your job hunting like a part time job
Treat your job hunt as though you have a part time job. It is near impossible to look for work for 8 to 10 hours per day. Treating your search as a part time job is a way to create some balance in your life.
Here are three different daily routines for job seekers. Not everyone functions in the same way. Some people are more productive in the morning. Other people are more effective in the afternoon and some are night owls.
Experiment a little with different orders of activities in your day if the routines below don’t quite work for you. The key is to find a routine that makes you feel human, calm and in control of your life whilst you are job hunting.
Chunking time across your day
Research shows that it is nearly impossible to concentrate for hours at a time. With that being the case, I encourage you to “chunk” your job hunting blocks into your day.
As a general rule, you should allocate 3 hours per day to the key job hunting activities as outlined above (plus some work breaks in each session). So, if you plan to chunk your job hunting blocks into 2 sessions across the day, that is 2 sessions of 1.5 hours per session (plus small work breaks).
If you think you will struggle to maintain your momentum for 1.5 hours at a time, consider scheduling 3 x 1 hour sessions per day instead.
Work out your natural work rhythm. Try working for 30 minutes at a time and then taking a 15 minute break. Set a timer if you have to. Just make sure you stick with the process. If you need to break more regularly, do that.
The routine you set is all about working finding a work pattern that is perfect for YOU. A routine that results in being the most effective you can be. And that routine is going to vary slightly from person to person.
Key activities to undertake every day
To maximise your results, conduct the following 2 activities every day:
- Scan job boards – set up alerts so you can review jobs in your inbox – 30 minutes
- LinkedIn updates, comments, connections and contributions – 30 minutes
In addition to the above, choose 4 of the following activities to undertake every day:
- Emails and calls to people in your network – 30 minutes (every second day)
- Interview preparation – 30 minutes (couple of times per week)
- Profile improvements – 30 minutes (cover letter template, personal website, Linkedin profile, resume, social media or personal website contributions)
- Reading about your sector/industry – 30 minutes
- Job applications – time will vary
A couple of important reminders
There will be times in your day (outside of your 3 hour active job hunting efforts) when you are likely to hear back from your network of contacts. This might happen via phone, via email or via an online networking platform.
Take the time to enjoy those phone calls, simply connecting with people. Every interaction could lead to a role opportunity in a direct or indirect way in the future. Don’t expect a “result” from every call but rather, see each call as building your longer term professional profile.
On another note, emails can become a huge distraction in your day. Experiment with the idea of checking and responding to your emails a few times a day, rather than checking every 5 minutes to see if anyone has got back to you.
Looking for work can be stressful. But by treating your job search as a part time job, you are taking control of this period in your life. Who knows. You might even enjoy this temporary phase by embracing the process once you realise that all of your efforts are leading to better job opportunities for consideration.
Working with a structured daily routine means you get to experience some balance in your life, whilst you are looking for your next job. Along with job hunting activities each day, you still get some time to take a breath and focus on life. Which is great news, because before you know it, you’ll be hurtled back into the world of work and wish you had more time on your hands!