We are in a competitive market and if you want to be effective at job hunting you need to be focused, have a clear understanding of the skills you can provide, the sort of role you are seeking and where to search for it. In other words you need a plan of action. So you can’t start a job search unless you know your own capabilities and what career path you want to adopt.
So what is the first step? You need to sit down and create a list of your goals, values and beliefs, what you want from a career and the skills and experience you can bring to an organization. From this list pick out key factors that will guide you in your job searching and chosen career path.
Once you have established the career path you wish to take then create a list of prospective employers and employment agencies that you could target, taking into consideration location, potential for career opportunities, salary and workplace culture. Job hunting is not just about looking at vacancy listings it is about being proactive and searching for opportunities and establishing a network of people to assist you in your goal. Some job searchers utilise LinkedIn Groups and Twitter, posting their skills and abilities and generally marketing themselves as a further avenue for career planning.
At this stage this is where time management and scheduling tasks becomes important. For example, you need to keep track of your job search activities and progress – e.g. Telephone Contact Lists, Network Contact Forms and Job Search Tracking Sheet. In particular, the Job Search Tracking Sheet should include the company details and contact, the position sought, when the application was sent, the response received, the date of any interview and the outcome.
Plan your day allocating blocks of time for making calls, meetings, interview preparation, etc. There are a number of time management resources available and these include:
- Outlook Calendar and a range of Apps for portable devices;
- Diaries and Day Planners.
Whether you are comfortable utilizing electronic or manual versions of diary management, it is important that when undertaking time management ensure that all appointments are clearly defined and tasks outlined in a clear ‘To Do List’ for ease of reading.
DEVELOPING YOUR OWN WORK SCHEDULE TO ACHIEVE GOALS
Managing your time effectively and setting your schedule is a vital part of career transitions and job searching. Basic time management steps include drawing up “To Do Lists” or simple timetables using a calendar to plan your activities. Setting a priority against each item will help you achieve goals rather than being overwhelmed by what you have to do. This planning, setting goals and time management are investments in efficiency and success. Planning is the process by which you work out what you want to achieve, and then think through the who, what, when, where, why and how of achieving that goal or target. Planning is broken into two main strands – personal planning (best done by setting goals) and project planning or in this case job hunting (achieved by a formalised application of the planning process).
Some quick tips for you in this area:
- Manage time effectively and get your work done – don’t procrastinate.
- Utilise Activity Logs. They are useful tools for auditing the way you spend your time, thereby identifying and eliminating time wasting.
- Create a daily “To Do” list. This is a list of all the tasks you need to undertake and the tasks can be prioritised to ensure you meet all time frames.
- Plan and make the best use of your time and schedule your activities.
- List your personal goals and set priorities.
- Create Action Plans for small scale planning. This lists tasks to be done and is different from a “To Do” list as it concentrates on a single goal.
- Do the most important things or those that have a tight timeframe first.
- Be realistic with your goals and the amount of time each activity should take.
Meeting deadlines is about prioritising tasks. This is where time management and your “To Do List” or “Action Plans” come in handy. You can prioritise tasks so that you are able to meet allocated time frames for completion of tasks. The important thing is to be realistic about the amount of time a task will take to complete. By being well organised and managing time effectively you will be able to meet deadlines efficiently with minimum stress.