There is an incredible amount of ideas and advice for your job search available online (including on this site), in books, and in networking groups and seminars.
If you're looking for help in your quest for a new job, it can be overwhelming and leave you wondering what you can really use.
Regardless of the type of job you're looking for, here are 5 very practical things you can do TODAY that will have a positive impact on your search.
Get started now…
1 – Make a schedule! One of the best things you can do for your search is to set an agenda for each day so that you know what you're going to do next. Finishing one task without a plan of what you're doing next is the biggest time waster, and anxiety creator there is. When you've scheduled your day, and have your steps planned in advance, you have more confidence, you get more done, and you'll feel better about your activity level. At the end of the day, even if you haven't gotten a new interview or new contact, at least you can feel better about the fact that you're being more productive than you would be without the schedule. Plan your work and work your plan!
2 – Spend 1-hour and ONLY 1-hour searching jobs online! Most job seekers spend the majority of their job search time and effort in one of the least productive places… online job listings! Certainly there are possibilities there, but by the time a job is posted online, you're competing with dozens, or hundreds of other people doing the same thing you are… responding to that posting. It's inefficient, and incredibly tough to get noticed. Use consolidation sites like LinkUp, or Indeed to deliver the jobs you want to see. Check those out, apply if it's an appropriate listing, then get off the computer! Spend the rest of your day in more productive activities.
3 – Call someone… lots of someones! Too many job seekers try to do their job search in "stealth mode". They spend the majority of their time in front of a computer, and try to talk to as few people as possible. Especially in today's competitive market, that's a recipe for a LONG job search. The fact is, you never know where your best leads will come from! Often, they are from the least likely sources. It's just as likely that your "Aunt Margaret" who's never worked outside the home, may know someone that would be a good networking contact for you as your your previous co-worker does. Prepare a simple, short "Elevator Speech" and connect with everyone you know. Letting others help you will make them feel good, give you potential contacts and leads, and will give you great practice at articulating your objectives that will help in all your future networking contacts and interviews. When you're 'holed-up' at home your communication skills atrophy. When you're constantly connecting with new people, you're skills are being sharpened!
4 – Feed your PMA! A job search can be draining. While a positive mental attitude (PMA) is critical to project a "hirable" image, and keep you energized, it doesn't maintain itself! You have to pro-actively find ways to restore your attitude each day. Whether it's reading uplifting biographies, scripture, poetry, or listening to positive speakers or music, find what works for you and make time to do it daily. It will be one of the most important things you can do for your search each day.
5 – Target a company! Rather than spend a great deal of time searching for job openings online, find a company that has employees that do what you do. Find a new one each day. Use LinkedIn to find other people with your job skills and see where they work. Drive through a nearby corporate office park and see which companies would be relevant to you. Connect with previous co-workers and ask what other companies they had worked at in the past. Then, whether the company has a relevant job posted or not, connect with someone at the organization, briefly introduce yourself, and ask how you can best be in the right place at the right time should an appropriate opportunity arise. Call and ask a similar question of as many people as you can find at that organization. If an appropriate position should come up… who do you think will come to mind first? Your job search will be much more effective by targeting companies you're interested in rather than chasing job postings with everyone else.
Certainly there are a number of other things you could do for your search today, and every day… improve your resume, refine your Elevator Speech, prepare for interviews, enlarge your professional online presence, attend networking meetings, and on and on. However, if you do these 5 things TODAY, you will be off to a good start in finding your next opportunity and have basics to fall back on whenever you're not sure what to do next.
Go to it!